CONCORD, N.H. -- Under a hot sun, Illinois Senator Barack Obama received the endorsement of New Hampshire US Representative Paul Hodes, the first endorsement of such a scale in the first-in-the-nation primary state.
Hodes, a freshman Democrat from Concord, said he was supporting Obama to empower the newly Democratic controlled Congress.
"To complete the change we started in 2006 it is going to take somebody new, and I mean somebody new, to be in the White House," Hodes said to the crowd of 200 at a morning rally in downtown Concord.
Obama said he was proud to have Hodes' endorsement, but conceded he would not have near the number of endorsements that other candidates, like Hillary Clinton will have.
"We haven't been in Washington all that long and we haven't traded that many favors," Obama said.
Obama appeared more fired up than he has been at other New Hampshire events lately and much of his fire was aimed at Clinton, his chief rival for the Democratic nomination.
Clinton and Obama have been trading sharp remarks ever since a debate Monday night in South Carolina. In that debate Obama said in answer to a question that he would meet with leaders from countries with hostile relations with the United States in his first year in office. Clinton responded by saying she was open to meeting with them, but certain conditions would have to be met to ensure those leaders couldn't use the meetings as propaganda. Clinton told the Qaud-City Times newspaper in Iowa that Obama's answer was "naive".
Today, Obama responded by saying he wasn't scared to meet with these leaders.
"I am not afraid of losing the PR war to dictators," Obama said.
The trip to New Hampshire was his second in a week.