When a presidential candidate has a perceived political vulnerability, count on his intraparty rivals to go after it hard even if they wind up eventually helping the efforts of the opposition party's White House candidate.
On Tuesday night, New Hampshire voters could catapult Mitt Romney securely onto the path of the Republican nomination, or they could undercut the air of inevitability surrounding his campaign.
The former Massachusetts governor is clearly expecting the catapult. One indication? On Monday morning, the candidate changed his rhetoric to reposition himself even more squarely as a general election candidate.
On Morning Edition Monday, Steve Inskeep spoke with six women in Derry, N.H. who all plan to vote in Tuesday's first presidential primary.
Inskeep dropped by the home of Elaine Sweeney, where the women gathered for coffee, donuts and wine on Sunday to talk politics. Her house in Derry overlooks Beaver Lake, covered this time of year with a thin film of ice.
Presidential candidates are making their appeals in events all over New Hampshire. But if you want to know what voters are thinking, it's better to drop by somebody's house, for a cup of coffee. Or, something stronger.
Hey, how are you?
SAMANTHA BOUDREAU: Hi, I'm Samantha Boudreau.
INSKEEP: Hi Samantha. I'm Steve.
BOUDREAU: Nice to meet you.
JEAN BELL: Jean Bell.
INSKEEP: Hi, Jean. Thanks for joining us. I really appreciate it.