While voters took to the polls in New Hampshire on Tuesday, GOP candidates were out and about, trying to secure undecided votes and do a bit of spin control at the same time.
On Sunday, frontrunner Mitt Romney told supporters in Rochester, N.H., that he knew what it was like to worry about getting fired. "There are times when I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip," he confided.
But on Monday, while talking about health insurance, he quipped to the Nashua Chamber of Commerce that he likes "being able to fire people."
"I want individuals to have their own insurance," he said. "That means the insurance company will have an incentive to keep you healthy. It also means if you don't like what they do, you can fire them. I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. You know, if someone doesn't give me a good service that I need, I want to say I'm going to go get someone else to provide that service to me."
“I was talking about as you know insurance companies,” the Associated Press reported Rommey as saying while he tried to navigate a crowd with his wife, Ann, and son Craig in tow. “We all like to get rid of our insurance companies.”
But people weren't willing to accept his explanation. When the former Massachusetts governor reached over to hold a supporter’s tiny daughter, someone yelled out, “Are you going to fire the baby?”
Rick Santorum, who lost to Romney in the Iowa Caucus by just eight votes, asked New Hampshire supporters to keep fighting on Tuesday. He's still trying to recover from a statement he made in Iowa last week, when he told supporters in Sioux City: "I don't want to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money."
The audio seems pretty clear, but Santorum now insists that he didn't say "black people" at all. What he said in the video clip above, he explains, is "blah people."
"If you look at it, what I started to say is a word and then sort of changed and it sort of - blah - came out. And people said I said ‘black.’ I didn't," he said in an interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly a few days after the gaffe. The former Pennsylvania senator insisted that "I use the term ‘African-American’ more than I use ‘black'" and, therefore, he couldn't have said what news crews captured on video. (O'Reilly's reaction: "All right, all right, I'm going take you on your word.")Counting on his Libertarian cred to help him do well in the Granite State, Ron Paul invited reporters to join him at a morning campaign stop in Manchester on Monday -- and caught flack when it turned out that the diner he was visiting had been purposely packed with about 100 high school students from neighboring Massachusetts.
"There wasn't an actual primary voter in the room," reported Robert Smith on NPR.
The primary results started rolling in early in the day. The tiny town of Dixville Notch casts its ballots at midnight (a tradition since 1960) and all nine registered voters were present -- 100 percent turnout. Newt Gingrich got one vote, as did Ron Paul. Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney got two votes each. And the remaining three votes went to President Barack Obama. By the time the polls closed at 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Romney was the clear winner. He ended up with 39 percent of the vote; Paul came in second with 23 percent, and Huntsman took third with 17 percent.
Also on Shine:
Love and politics: If you have political differences, can you still make it work?