Mitt Romney greets supporters outside a polling station at Webster School… (Emmanuel Dunand / AFP/Getty…)
Reporting from Manchester, N.H. —
For much of Tuesday morning, Manchester's Webster School was ground zero in the New Hampshire primary, with visits from a trio of presidential hopefuls, campaign volunteers, throngs of media and, yes, even some voters.
Front-running hopeful Mitt Romney made just a brief stop at a polling place here, where his "fire people" comment continued to dog him.
Asked about the previous day's statement by a reporter just after Romney emerged from his campaign bus, he said: "I was talking about, as you know, insurance companies. We'd all like to get rid of our insurance companies."
PHOTOS: New Hampshire voters head to the polls
Later, as he held a young child, a heckler shouted to ask if he would "fire the baby."
Romney's campaign is counting on a big victory in Tuesday's primary. Seemingly unfazed by the circus around him, the former Massachusetts governor joked that he could "probably double the margin we got in Iowa" -- where he won by just eight votes.
"This is a great day," he said. "I hope the people of New Hampshire turn out, the entire nation is watching."
Newt Gingrich had visited the same precinct earlier, and Romney was followed about an hour later by Jon Huntsman, whom polls have shown closing strong in the final days.
"We've given this state our heart and soul, and that's all you can do," Huntsman said.
Asked if the late momentum here could carry over to the next primary state of South Carolina, the former Utah governor said: "We'll see. We've got to perform well tonight."
Webster is the voting location for Manchester's Ward 1, historically one of the city's most Republican wards, but one that has trended Democratic in recent cycles.
In the 2008 Republican primary, statewide winner John McCain won Ward 1 by a vote of 799 to 731 over Romney.
Polls opened here at 6 a.m., two hours ahead of most other locations in the Granite State.
The secretary of state's office, which had projected a turnout of 250,000 in the GOP race, said it was too soon to gauge whether that prediction would stand.