Debating at a New Hampshire diner

January 9, 2012 5:16:50 AM PST
There has been very little in the way of rest for the field of Republicans now crisscrossing New Hampshire in the run up to Tuesday's primary.

Two debates in 24 hours.

And for voters here, it has been a lot to digest.

Saturday night, all 6 Republicans took to a debate stage in Manchester. For much of the time, front-runner Mitt Romney was avoiding the slings and arrows most assumed would come his way.

By Sunday morning, the debate was making for plenty of fodder at Julien's Corner Kitchen. Every dish, it seemed, was served with a side of politics and the debates were topic number one.

"At this point, I can honestly say I don't know who I am going to vote for Tuesday, but it's given me a lot of information," Manchester resident Lynn Nadeau said.

Naudeau and her friend Carolyn are leaning toward Rick Santorum. Though he lags well behind in polls here, these two think his message is getting overshadowed, crushed by the weight of Romney's presence. a favorite son from neighboring Massachusetts.

"They're all saying Romney is the one that's the best presidential candidate; you're telling us that, please let us make that decision and let the rest of America make that decision before you tell us," Carolyn Guerdet said.

That points to what could be Romney's only problem here.

In a state where political opinions are kept close to the vest, perceived advantages can erode overnight.

So on Sunday, Romney was back at it, not content to let the debates be the final word, or to let polls give a false sense of security.

"Rather than look at what every else is looking at, I kind of look at who's that person we can trust. I really haven't made a decision, but Romney seems fairly trustworthy," Amy Spencer said.

Santorum, meanwhile, is looking for another foothold. All but resigned to a loss in New Hampshire, today he headed off to South Carolina.

His goal now is to be the roadblock that might stop the man he once endorsed.


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