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By David DeCamp January 24, 2008

When first means second

Pressed on his credentials with GOP voters, John McCain said he won them over in two early primaries. But he didn't.

Exit polls from the Jan. 19, 2008, primary show he narrowly lost to Mike Huckabee among self-identified Republicans in South Carolina, 32 percent to 31 percent.

And in New Hampshire, exit polls show Mitt Romney beat McCain 35 percent to 34 percent. However, it should be noted that a few news agencies, including MSNBC, showed McCain narrowly winning among Republicans in their results.

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The topic is important to McCain because he has often struggled to win over die-hard Republicans. Exit polls show moderate and independent voters powered both of his victories. But when the schedule moves to states like Florida, where primaries are closed to independents, his need for Republican support becomes critical.

The exit polls show that McCain didn't lose among Republicans in either state. When you factor in a margin of error, both are statistical ties. But what McCain said was that he "won the majority" of Republicans in those states, and we don't find any evidence that that's true. We rule McCain's statement False.

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