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The BBC's Stephen Sackur:
"A stunning victory, a landslide."
 real 28k

Wednesday, 2 February, 2000, 21:09 GMT
Republicans head south

George Bush George Bush signs autographs in South Carolina


Republican presidential hopefuls John McCain and George W Bush are back on the campaign trail - just hours after the first primary result in New Hampshire.

Underdog Mr McCain thrashed his rival in New Hampshire and will be hoping that the result gives his campaign added impetus as the fight moves to South Carolina.


It's going to get more intense now
John McCain
Mr McCain, a Vietnam veteran, also beat Mr Bush into the state flying south from New England shortly after making his victory speech.

But he will have his work cut out to eat into Mr Bush's 20-point lead in state opinion polls.

Correspondents say the South Carolina primary on 19 February will show how serious Mr McCain's challenge is because Mr Bush, governor of Texas, has strong support in the south.

War chest

Mr McCain, who has campaigned against the role of big money sponsors in the US political system, said in a television interview: "It's going to get more intense now. We've interfered with the coronation."

John McCain Pressing the flesh: John McCain
Hundreds turned up at Greenville airport in South Carolina to greet the Arizona senator as he stepped from his plane at 0300 local time on Wednesday.

He told them: "We won because we're going to take the government out of the hands of the special interests and give it back to you."

But while Mr McCain continues to press his anti-establishment image, Mr Bush remains the favourite to win the Republican nomination.

Mr Bush, the son of the former president, also has a $31m war chest to ensure his message is the one that is heard loudest.


He won the battle, I'm going to win the war
George Bush
He admitted surprise at the New Hampshire defeat but added: "I am mentally prepared for the long haul."

Mr Bush told supporters in South Carolina: "He won the battle, I'm going to win the war. I respect his victory ... but I expect to win in South Carolina."

The state has already become involved in the national campaign with controversy over its use of the Confederate flag.

Campaigners say the flag, flown during the American civil war by the south, is a symbol of repression.

Both Republican candidates have said it is up to South Carolina residents to decide whether the flag should fly.

Before the South Carolina vote Republicans have another primary, in Delaware on 8 February.

Mr McCain is not fighting in Delaware. He is going to concentrate on South Carolina - a state, which he says, is crucial in his campaign strategy.

Super Tuesday

For Democrats the next round of votes will be on 7 March - or Super Tuesday - when 16 states including New York and California go to the polls.

Vice-President Al Gore and his only rival Bill Bradley have already spent time in New York and both are heading for California this week.

Mr Bradley said: "The warm-ups are over. The national campaign has begun and we have five weeks to take our message to the country."

But Mr Gore, who now has victories in New Hampshire and Iowa, remains the favourite to win the Democrat nomination.

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See also:
02 Feb 00 |  Americas
Underdog bites Bush
02 Feb 00 |  Americas
McCain savours the moment
07 Jan 00 |  States
South Carolina
04 Jan 00 |  Profiles
John McCain: Ready-made war hero
04 Jan 00 |  Profiles
George W Bush: Out of his father's shadow
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