Kerry calls New Hampshire victory 'huge turnaround'

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The Independent US

The Vietnam war hero John Kerry moved a step closer today to becoming the official Democratic challenger to President George Bush, after easily winning the crucial New Hampshire Primary.

Mr Kerry said his New Hampshire victory shows he has the determination to go the distance and defeat President Bush.

Kerry thanked voters "for lifting up this campaign and the cause of an America that belongs not to the privileged, not to the few but to all the people."

He singled out veterans who have travelled with him and stumped tirelessly on his behalf as he made his Vietnam record central to his appeal.

"In the hardest moments of the past month I depended on the same band of brothers I depended on some 30 years ago," he said. "We're a little older, a little grayer, but we still know how to fight for our country."

Mr Kerry, who trailed by 25 points just weeks ago, called his New Hampshire win "a huge turnaround and an upset.

"We were written off for months and plugged on and showed people we have determination.

"I have spent my whole life fighting against powerful interests — and I've only just begun to fight."

He is moving aggressively to compete in the 3 February seven-state contest, where 269 delegates are at stake. That dwarfs the first two tests, offering 12 per cent of the delegates needed to claim the nomination.

Kerry said he'll campaign in all seven of those states, including tiny North Dakota, and he's purchased television commercials in all seven as well, including very expensive Missouri.