Trump plunges into New Hampshire race, aiming to rattle Dems

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A man in a rain cover walks past a vehicle decorated with flags in support of President Donald Trump near the venue where the president will hold a campaign rally in the evening, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Eager to put on a show of force in a general election battleground state, President Donald Trump tried to rattle Democrats on Monday with a rally in New Hampshire on the eve of the state's first-in-the-nation primaries.

Trump, on a high after his acquittal last week on impeachment charges, boasted about the nation's strong economy, tore into his possible general election foes and launched an assault on the Democrats who tried to remove him from office, calling the episode a “pathetic partisan crusade."

“Our good Republicans in the United States Senate voted to reject the outrageous partisan impeachment hoax and to issue a full, complete and absolute total acquittal," Trump told a crowd that roared and cheered throughout his speech. "And it wasn't even close.”

Trump's rally comes a day before New Hampshire Democrats head to the polls following the disastrous Iowa caucuses that failed to produce a clear-cut winner to take Trump on in November. Trump mocked the lingering uncertainty over the outcome of the party's kickoff caucuses, where the results are still under dispute.

"Does anyone know who won Iowa?" he asked the crowd. “I don't know.”

Before leaving Washington, Trump said he had planned the rally to rattle Democrats and demonstrate his strength in the state before the primary vote.

“Want to shake up the Dems a little bit — they have a really boring deal going on,” Trump tweeted. “Still waiting for the Iowa results, votes were fried. Big crowds in Manchester!”

Advisers hoped that Secret Service moves in downtown Manchester to secure the area for the president’s arrival would also make it harder for Democratic candidates and their supporters to transverse the state’s largest city in the hours before the primary’s first votes are cast, according to Trump campaign officials not authorized to discuss internal deliberations publicly.