Sen Obama Returns to New Hampshire after Setting Himself Apart at Dem Debate

Over next three days Obama will meet voters in Portsmouth, Dover, Exeter, Salem, Derry, Bedford, Concord, and Nashua

Post-debate focus group calls Obama the “clear winner”

MANCHESTER, NH—Barack Obama and his family return to New Hampshire today following a debate performance in which Obama distinguished himself as the candidate who can unify the country and offer the biggest break from the divisive, lobbyist-drivenWashington politics that has stood in the way of progress for decades.

“If you believe that part of the problem is the failed politics of Washington and the conventional thinking in Washington, if you’re tired of the backbiting and the score keeping and the special-interest-driven politics of Washington, if you want somebody who can bring the country together around a common purpose and rally us around a common destiny, then I’myour guy,” Obama said at this morning’s debate at Drake University,in Des Moines.

A focus group of Iowavoters conducted by Fox News found that Obama was the “clear winner” of the debate, driving home his message and winning over converts. NBC News notes that“he has the backbone to stand up to criticism,” and ABC News observes:“Clearly Democrats still care about who was against the war from the start…”

Obama will share his vision for change with NewHampshire voters over the course of a three-day visit that began Sunday with a patio party in Portsmouth and an ice cream social in Dover. Monday he will visit house parties in Exeter, Salem, Bedford, and Concord, and will hold a Meet the Candidate event in Derry. On Tuesday evening Obama will attend a Nashua Pride game and hold a pre-game picnic. Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha will join him for events on Sunday and Monday morning.

Throughout the visit, Obama will emphasize that he is uniquely qualified to bring fundamental change to Washington and unify the country.

“We’re going to need somebody who can break out of the political patterns that we’ve been in over the last 20 years,” Obama said at today’s debate. He added: “And I think that’s going to require building a new majority, getting new people involved in the process, and I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t believe that I was the person best equipped to do that.”