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New Hampshire often hurts incumbents

New Hampshire has a history of wounding incumbent presidents. Two took such heavy blows in the primary that they quit.

In 1952, Democrats resented Harry Truman's lukewarm interest and late entry into the primary he described as "eyewash," and instead handed Tennessee Sen. Estes Kefauver 55 percent of the vote.

Truman, bringing in just 44 percent, decided not to run for another term.

In 1968, Lyndon Johnson campaigned from the White House with New Hampshire establishment Democrats running a write-in effort. Insurgent Minnesota Sen. Eugene McCarthy waged an anti-war campaign against Johnson and came within 4,000 votes of the president.

Johnson's victory was so unconvincing that some people said he lost the primary, even though he polled more votes. The meager margin and the prospect of a similar embarrassment in Wisconsin drove the president to announce he would not seek re-election.

Republicans have been hurt, too. In 1976, President Ford barely escaped a challenge from Ronald Reagan. Ford won the primary, 50 percent to 49 percent, but went on to lose the White House to Jimmy Carter.

Carter, in turn, faced a scare from Sen. Edward Kennedy in New Hampshire in 1980. Kennedy managed to get 37 percent, compared with Carter's 47 percent.

A Libertarian message

DIXVILLE NOTCH, N.H. _ The tiny town that gets a moment in the spotlight every four years when it casts the nation's first presidential primary ballots gave its most unusual message this year.

The mountain community near the Canadian border on Tuesday gave 11 of its 31 votes to Libertarian presidential candidate Andre Marrou. That's more than President Bush got, or any of the five major Democrats.

Clinton in Florida today

TALLAHASSEE _ Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, coming off the New Hampshire primary vote, resumes campaigning today in Florida, where his large, well-financed organization remains confident of victory March 10.

Despite Clinton's recent drop in the polls, fund-raising in Florida continues to go well, aide Jeff Eller said. Eller said Clinton has raised nearly $400,000 in Florida and looks to increase that by another $200,000 at a fund-raiser today at one of the resort hotels outside Disney World.

Clinton's leading booster in Florida, Lt. Gov. Buddy MacKay, acknowledged that continuing controversy over Clinton's draft status during the Vietnam conflict could haunt him in Southern states on Super Tuesday, but MacKay still predicted a win in Florida.

Will Jackson run?

MERRIMACK, N.H. _ Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson is coming under strong pressure to change his mind and make his third try for the Democratic presidential nomination, a top Jackson aide said Tuesday.

"No one is coming under more pressure from constituents to get into the race than Jackson," Frank Watkins said in a telephone interview.

Watkins rarely speaks on his own without close consultation with Jackson.

Brown: No late-comers

BAL HARBOUR _ Democratic Chairman Ron Brown predicts that his party's nominee will emerge from the current candidates and that speculation should end about a latecomer.

Brown, who attended meetings of the AFL-CIO's executive council Tuesday, rejected speculation that New York Gov. Mario Cuomo or Missouri Rep. Richard Gephardt would enter the race.

"I expect the nominee will come from the current field," Brown said.

The dog got sick

MANCHESTER, N.H. _ Count Democratic presidential hopeful Bob Kerrey among those happy that dogs can't vote.

Kerrey was trying to sway a few voters as they headed into the polls today when retiree Henry Daneau came along and asked the Nebraska senator to mind his golden retriever while Daneau voted _ for Kerrey.

Kerrey obliged, and Daneau barely had left when the dog vomited at Kerrey's feet. The dog also frightened a woman Kerrey approached to shake hands.

Kerrey just wanted to run

Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey wasn't doing very well in New Hampshire. So he was telling a little story to describe his place in the pack of Democratic candidates.

Two hunters set up their tent, ate their beans and coffee, then got ready to sleep. That's when one of the hunters put on a pair of tennis shoes. The other asked why.

"There's a grizzly bear coming over the hill, and I want to run away," he said.

"You can't outrun a grizzly," the other hunter said.

"I don't have to outrun the grizzly," the man in tennis shoes replied. "I just have to outrun you."

_ Information from AP and Times political editor Ellen Debenport was used in this report.

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