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Kucinich Seeks NH Dem Vote Recount

Stephen Frothingham - The Associated Press

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    Concord, NH - Democrat Dennis Kucinich, who won less than 2 percent of the vote in the New Hampshire primary, said Thursday he wants a recount to ensure that all ballots in his party's contest were counted. The Ohio congressman cited "serious and credible reports, allegations and rumors" about the integrity of Tuesday results.

    Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan said Kucinich is entitled to a statewide recount. But, under New Hampshire law, Kucinich will have to pay for it. Scanlan said he had "every confidence" the results are accurate.

    In a letter dated Thursday, Kucinich said he does not expect significant changes in his vote total, but wants assurance that "100 percent of the voters had 100 percent of their votes counted."

    Kucinich alluded to online reports alleging disparities around the state between hand-counted ballots, which tended to favor Sen. Barack Obama, and machine-counted ones that tended to favor Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. He also noted the difference between pre-election polls, which indicated Obama would win, and Clinton's triumph by a 39 percent to 37 percent margin.

    Candidates who lose by 3 percentage or less are entitled to a recount for a $2,000 fee. Candidates who lose by more must pay for the full cost. Kucinich's campaign said it was sending the $2,000 fee to start the recount.

    Scanlon said his office had received several phone calls since Tuesday, mostly from outside the state, questioning the results. New Hampshire's voting machines are not linked in any way, which Scanlon says reduce the likelihood of tampering with results on a statewide level. Also, the results can be checked against paper ballots.

    "I think people from out of state don't completely understand how our process works and they compare it to the system that might exist in Florida or Ohio, where they have had serious problems," he said. "Perhaps the best thing that could happen for us is to have a recount to show the people that ... the votes that were cast on election day were accurately reflected in the results. And I have every confidence that will be the case."


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    Kerry Endorsement Comes With Promise, Risks

    By Walter Alarkon

    The Hill

    Thursday 10 January 2008

    Former Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry's (Mass.) endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama could boost the Illinois Democrat with partisans, but it also risks reminding voters of Kerry's painful 2004 loss and his record of gaffes.

    Kerry can help by making some Democratic loyalists, particularly older women, take a second look at Obama, said Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia political scientist. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) won more support than Obama among older and married women in both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. "They stay loyal to nominees even if they lose," Sabato said. "They probably say good things about Mike Dukakis."

    Kerry announced his support for Obama Thursday in Charleston, S.C., a state where Democrats will vote in a Jan. 26 primary. Kerry noted his close loss to President Bush in the general election and his call then for unity.

    "I dared to hope publicly at that moment that the healing would begin then," he said. "It didn't, but it will begin when Barack Obama is president."

    Obama gets Kerry's vote as a superdelegate at the Democratic National Convention and access to Kerry's 3 million-person e-mail list, which could help Obama's organization and fundraising efforts. To date, more superdelegates, who tend to be members of the party establishment and get to vote at the national convention, have pledged support to Clinton than Obama.

    It's unclear how much the endorsement will help Obama in South Carolina. In 2004, Kerry lost both the South Carolina primary and its eight electoral votes in the general election. Robert Oldendick, a University of South Carolina political scientist, downplayed the endorsement's impact on that state, noting that Kerry finished second to John Edwards in 2004, trailing the former North Carolina senator by 15 points.

    "It would be much more important for the average [South Carolina] Democratic voter if they were to get an endorsement from the African-American leaders of a church or from local politicians," Oldendick said.

    Kerry's propensity for making gaffes, something both Republicans and comedians fondly remember, can also muddle his endorsement's effect, Sabato said. "You can imagine them saying, 'There goes Obama's chances,' " he said.

    As if on cue, the Republican National Committee sent out a press release Thursday morning pointing to similarities between Kerry's and Obama's liberal voting records in the Senate.

    Obama himself alluded to negative feelings many have toward Kerry and former Vice President Al Gore, the 2000 Democratic presidential nominee, in taking a shot at Clinton while campaigning last month. "I don't want to go into the next election starting off with half the country already not wanting to vote for Democrats. We've done that in 2004, 2000," Obama said.

    Kerry, in his fourth Senate term, joins Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) in endorsing Obama this week. The endorsements come on the heels of Obama's loss in the New Hampshire primary, where Clinton won because of strong support from women and registered party members.

    Kerry's decision is somewhat of a rebuke to Edwards, his former running mate, and Clinton, his Senate colleague. Kerry and Edwards aides disagreed over strategy during their close 2004 loss, so it's no surprise Kerry's endorsement went to someone else. And though Clinton's husband campaigned vigorously for Kerry in the 2004 general election right after he had undergone heart surgery, Hillary Clinton called for Kerry to apologize for his botched joke in 2006 about people who don't study hard and "get stuck in Iraq."