VIDEO: New Hampshire polls open; first votes cast

The Takeaway

The New Hampshire primaries kicked off on Tuesday and in the early returns, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman were in a dead heat.

In Dixville Notch, where the first votes have been cast for decades, Romney and Huntsman picked up two votes a piece, just after midnight. Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich each grabed a vote, and President Barack Obama got three votes in the Democratic primary. There is a primary election for the Democratic candidacy, though Obama is expected to win without any problem.

Those votes were cast back at midnight, but as the real voting got underway, candidates were criss-crossing the state, hunting up a few more votes. Romney was on the defensive after making a comment that caught many off guard.

“It also means if you don’t like what they do, you can fire them,” Romney said, according to the Concord Monitor. “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.”

And while Romney later insisted he was only talking about health insurance — and not his history buying and shutting down companies at Bain Capital — Huntsman quickly pounced on the remarks as a way to pull favor from Romney.

“It’s become abundantly clear over the last couple of days what differentiates Governor Romney and me,” Huntsman told reporters before speaking to cheering supporters in Concord’s Eagle Square, according to the Monitor. “Governor Romney enjoys firing people. I enjoy creating jobs.”

Only Rick Santorum, according to The New York Times, has resisted the urge to pile on Romney’s Bain capital background — though he’s certainly attacked him for other reasons.

According to the latest polling figures, Romney enjoys a 19-point lead over Paul and a 21-point lead over Huntsman. Most polling sites in New Hampshire close at 7 p.m. ET, though some are open as late as 8 p.m. 

RAW VIDEO: First Votes Cast in NH Primary

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