MANCHESTER, N.H. -- As returns filed in projecting Mike Huckabee the winner of the Iowa caucus, a beaming John McCain addressed the press in New Hampshire.
"I just left a phone message...to congratulate Governor Huckabee for his victory. He's run a very good, strong positive campaign and I think he can be very proud of it," he said. "I think that the lesson of this election is that one you can't buy an election in Iowa and two that negative campaigning doesn't work."
McCain blamed finances for his tie for third in the Iowa.
"Because of our financials we didn't run any ads and we were predicted to finish very badly. I am proud of the team that we had on the ground and the work that we did."
With a stage full of supporters cheering and screaming his name, McCain then shifted his focus to New Hampshire. "Tomorrow we will have our hundredth town hall meeting here in the state of New Hampshire ... We can feel momentum, the same kind of momentum we felt in 2000. I'm very confident about a strong positive finish here. That we're going to win here in New Hampshire and go on to Michigan and South Carolina."
"I would repeat I know how town halls work. I know enthusiasm when I see it. We put the old lightning back in the bottle."
"I would again extend my congratulations to Governor Huckabee who I think ran a very good campaign in Iowa. I look forward to seeing him on the trail and I know that he'll continue his positive campaigning and look forward to that kind of campaign with him as we go further into the primary season. Again we're having a great time here in New Hampshire and I am very confident of victory."