By Richard Downes, Washington Correspondent, in New Hampshire

So after Iowa, there’s New Hampshire. This tiny state has a better track record in predicting the winner of the nomination process than the midwest state and there is a lot at stake for all the candidates.

For Mitt Romney, this is virtually home territory. He was governor of neighbouring Massachusetts and has been campaigning here for the last year.

He still has a lead in the opinion polls, but that has been whittled away by searing attacks from his opponents and by yesterday’s gaff, when he appeared to relish the prospect of sacking people.

“I like firing people”, was his comment when talking about health insurance. “Look, he really is a heartless job-killer”, his opponents said of the former Bain consultant.

“Out of context” was the response from the Romney camp. They maintain (correctly, as it turns out) that Romney was talking about getting rid of insurance companies if they produce poor service, not sacking employees.

But image is everything today and everyone is wondering if this and the other attacks will eat into the fifteen point opinion poll lead for Romney.

Stay tuned