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'Underdog' in N.H., Says Gephardt

February 09, 1988|Associated Press

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Missouri Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, fresh from his victory in Iowa's Democratic caucuses, cast himself today as "clearly the underdog" in next week's New Hampshire primary.

Walking up to reporters at the airport near here, just after arriving from Iowa, Gephardt said he will stick with the same message that served him well in Iowa.

"I'm not going to say one thing one place and something else somewhere else," Gephardt said when asked whether his emphasis on a get-even trade policy and other populist issues will go over in New Hampshire.

"I'm going to do fine in New Hampshire," he said.

But then he indicated that he will accept something less than a victory in the state where Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis is heavily favored in next Tuesday's balloting.

'It's a Tight Race'

"I am clearly the underdog," he said a day after nosing out Sen. Paul Simon of Illinois and Dukakis in the Iowa contest. "It's a tight race. Mike Dukakis is ahead, and the rest of us are trying to get behind and get into second place."

Before he flew this morning from Des Moines to New Hampshire, Dukakis took a potshot at Gephardt for the protectionist trade stance that the Missouri congressman stressed in Iowa.

"It's not going to play in New Hampshire, and it's not going to play in the rest of the country because most of the American people know that we've got to be competitive in the world," Dukakis said in an interview with the Associated Press.

"We have to encourage more trade, not less trade, and we can't be putting walls up around the country," he said. "We did that in the 1930s, and it led to disaster."

Simon, with a second-place finish in the first test of Democratic strength in Iowa, said today that he has "a real shot" at winning the nomination, though also he conceded that he probably can't win next week's New Hampshire primary.

Pushes 'Self-Restraint'

At an airport news conference in Des Moines before leaving for New Hampshire, Simon said that he will not wage a "slashing, negative" campaign against Gephardt but that he will point out the differences between himself and the Missouri representative.

"There should be self-restraint so no one gets hurt in Atlanta," Simon said, referring to the Democratic National Convention. "But I voted against the current economic policies, and Dick Gephardt voted for them. I think the people are entitled to know that."

Jesse Jackson today savored his double-digit Iowa vote totals and said he is looking past New Hampshire for Super Tuesday, when 20 states hold contests, including many across the South.

Gary Hart got almost no support in Iowa and he looked to make one last stand in New Hampshire. Bruce Babbitt, disappointed in fifth place, was also in Democratic jeopardy along with another fifth-place finisher, Republican Pete du Pont.

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