MANCHESTER, N.H. – Buoyed by an endorsement by New Hampshire's (search) largest newspaper, Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Lieberman (search) wasn't dwelling on Monday night's upset in Iowa (search).
"The most important thing from my point of view, since I didn't compete there, is Iowa's over," Lieberman said. "We're now on to New Hampshire, and New Hampshire is a whole new ballgame."
The Union Leader, New Hampshire's largest and only statewide newspaper, generally favors conservative Republicans in its editorials. But in an editorial to be published Tuesday, it hailed the Connecticut senator for sticking to his convictions.
"I feel like a winner tonight," Lieberman said of the paper's decision.
"Tomorrow morning, we're going to welcome back those other candidates from Iowa," he told several hundred supporters earlier at a Manchester rally. "We're ready! We're ready to fight for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party."
Though his strategy of focusing on New Hampshire hasn't translated into high poll numbers, Lieberman told voters to think beyond the Jan. 27 primary to the general election. He reminded them of reports that President Bush considers him his most formidable opponent.
According to The Australian, that country's largest daily newspaper, Bush told Prime Minister John Howard in a private meeting in October that he believed Lieberman would be his strongest challenger.
"I happen to agree with President Bush on that. Karl Rove has his standard game plan, but they're not going to be able to use it against me," Lieberman said. "They can't say I'm weak on defense, or a tax- and-spender or weak on values, because I'm not."
"I was fighting Saddam Hussein and Usama bin Laden before George Bush knew how to pronounce their names," he said.
Lieberman was introduced by U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut and former U.S. Rep. Dick Swett of New Hampshire.
"This is a campaign about the consistency of conviction, right?" Swett bellowed. "This is a campaign about courage, right? This is a campaign about no common cup of Joe, right?"
At a stop in Concord earlier, Lieberman stressed his experience in Congress.
"When the people of New Hampshire are making a judgment among eight candidates, in my case you don't have to make that judgment based on 30-second television ads. You've got a record of 30 years," he said.
One voter, Rick Newman of Nottingham, said Iowa won't influence his vote.
"Iowa's different," he said. "In New Hampshire, everyone gets to go out and vote. There, it's smaller groups of people. It's more about organization."
Newman said he is choosing between Lieberman and retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who also skipped Iowa.