HAMPTON, N.H. – Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards (search) found himself in a pleasant predicament Tuesday, refocusing his post-Iowa campaign to spend more time on New Hampshire with the hope of scoring another strong come-from-behind finish.
Edwards, the surprise No. 2 in Iowa -- and the favorite among undecided voters and those looking for a caring figure according to exit polls -- will spend most of his time in New Hampshire in the week leading to the Jan. 27 primary.
Once figuring that South Carolina, with its Feb. 3 primary, was his next best shot bickering that colored other campaigns during the Iowa caucuses.
Iowans responded to Edwards in ways he would like to duplicate in New Hampshire. According to entrance polls, he did especially well among voters who said they want a candidate "who cares about people like me" and scored well among voters who most want a candidate who can beat Bush.
Edwards also did well among Iowa voters who thought the economy was the top issue, tying with caucus winner John Kerry among those voters. Six in 10 Edwards supporters were women, and he did about equally well among all age groups. He was stronger among moderates and conservatives than those who consider themselves very liberal.
Edwards did twice as well among those who decided in the last week for whom to vote as he did among those who decided earlier, an important plus in a tight race -- and in New Hampshire, where independents can vote in the Democratic primary.
The first-term senator faces an uphill climb in the polls for the nation's first primary. He has trailed four candidates -- Howard Dean, Wesley Clark, Kerry and Joe Lieberman. Last week, a poll found him at just 5 percent, far behind the leaders, Dean at 29 and Clark at 24.
"We need a leader who can bring people together," Edwards told supporters Tuesday. "There's such a hunger across the country for something different."
Faulted for being a political neophyte, Edwards was trying to turn that criticism on its head in his stump speech.
"We need a leader who hasn't spent their whole life in politics, a leader who knows what it's like out here in the real world," said the 50-year-old Edwards, who made his money as a trial attorney before seeking the Senate seat.