New Hampshire voters could make Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's nomination a near-certainty on Tuesday, when the state holds the first primary of the 2012 election.
Every presidential candidate in modern history who has won both Iowa and New Hampshire has gone on to win the party's nomination. (Romney narrowly won the Iowa caucuses last week). Since 1920, New Hampshire has been the first state to hold a presidential primary, and Granite State voters guard that status fiercely.
During this final sprint toward Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, candidate stops will be full of local diners and doughnut shops where the presidential hopefuls can chat up "real" voters — locals who stop in for a meal or a coffee.
But customers in one New Hampshire restaurant are over it. In response, a Portsmouth breakfast spot has banned candidates completely, reports Seacoast Online:
The Republican presidential candidates duke it out at the NBC News-Facebook debate on <em>Meet the Press</em> on Sunday.
Credit Alex Wong / Getty Images
At last, the rivals who were supposed to savage front-runner Mitt Romney in the final weekend before Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire got down to business.
In the opening minutes of their debate Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, several of those chasing Romney in the polls let fly the roundhouse punches they'd been pulling through weeks and months of TV debates.
Republican presidential candidates (from left) Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum participate in the ABC News, Yahoo! News and WMUR Republican Presidential Debate at Saint Anselm College on Saturday in Manchester, N.H.
Credit Win McNamee / Getty Images
Once more, the great media consensus was confounded. Saturday night's debate at St. Anselm's College in Manchester, N.H., produced another battle among half a dozen presidential contenders, much like a dozen before it. Front-runner Mitt Romney was neither knocked out nor even knocked down. He was scarcely even knocked around.
Once again, the evening ended with the bruises pretty equally distributed among the contestants. And with the New Hampshire primary bearing down on Tuesday, virtually no time remains for Romney's rivals to bring him down.
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (left to right) take their positions after a break in a debate in Manchester, N.H., Saturday.
Credit Elise Amendola / AP
Many of the journalists and professional political types who dutifully watched Saturday night's Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire probably had the same thought occur to them at several points: "For this we missed most of the NFL wildcard game between the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions?"