A major backdrop to

January 25, 2004 9:33 a.m.

A major backdrop to this contest in New Hampshire continues to be the fact that the two candidates with the most wind at their back — Kerry and Edwards — are also the ones who have the fewest resources in place to contest the primaries which will come rapidly, week after week, after next Tuesday.

Dean, of course, has spent the last couple months using all those Internet dollars to build up organizations and infrastructure in states across the country. And Clark, though to a lesser extent, has done the same.

As we reported here a couple days ago, Clark has snatched up a few dozen campaign workers from Gephardt’s operation in Iowa and sent them off to post-New Hampshire states across the country. (In at least some of those cases Edwards was in competition for those operatives. But Clark had the money.)

The shorthand you hear from reporters is that Kerry has “nothing” on the ground in those states. And that can’t be quite true. But after Kerry’s town hall meeting in Manchester on Friday one of his top aides told us that he would probably not even compete in all seven of the states that vote on February 3rd. When asked which ones they’d contest, he told us they were “nowhere near figuring that out.”

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