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Close Race Fuels HRC Glee

By Anne E. Kornblut
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- After a grueling, depressing five-day stretch since losing Iowa, the Clinton campaign on Tuesday night exuded its first rays of optimism since leaving Iowa, as election returns showed an extremely close Democratic race.

Clinton chief strategist Mark Penn, who had been under fire after the Iowa loss, credited the candidate for drawing sharper distinctions between herself and Sen. Barack Obama after she got up and running in New Hampshire. "As voters began to see the choice they have and heard Hillary speak from the heart, they came back to her," Penn said.

Yet no one, including Penn, had publicly projected a tight race ahead of time. Clinton adviser Howard Wolfson said that Clinton herself was the one to report feeling the tide turn, after the debate at St. Anselm College. Clinton "said she felt the momentum shift out on the stump," Wolfson said, at various town hall meetings and rallies.

"The other thing is, she worked her heart out," Wolfson said. "She was up at the crack of dawn, out until late. She took every question."

With a tone of palpable relief, Wolfson said: "This gives us huge momentum going forward. No politician in history ever came in with as much momentum as Senator Obama had, and it was stopped."

Clinton advisers said the close race took them by surprise. And word of a staff shakeup quickly dissipated, even though some additional advisers (including Maggie Williams, a close confidant of the senator's, and Doug Sosnik, a close ally of former president Bill Clinton) had already been contacted about coming on board.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 8, 2008; 9:54 PM ET
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... grueling, depressing five-day stretch ...exuded its first rays of optimism ...With a tone of palpable relief, Wolfson said...

Lots of meowing there. Thanks, Anne. Thanks for nothing.

"Clinton advisers said the close race took them by surprise."

No one should rely on Anne Kornblut without a name and a direct quote.

"And word of a staff shakeup quickly dissipated, even though some additional advisers (including Maggie Williams, a close confidant of the senator's, and Doug Sosnik, a close ally of former president Bill Clinton) had already been contacted about coming on board."

What does that even mean? Lack of professionalism aside, Anne is a talented writer. When she writes mud, it's intentional. I guess this is supposed to be the walk back on the premature and credulous reporting of rumors she did last night. Again, thanks for nothing.

Posted by: zukermand | January 9, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Hillary, you go girl. I have been on your side for 16 years. I know what you are up against and I am fighting for you in my own little neighborhood. I am so happy that you didn't take Iowa lying down.
We are with you, emotionally and financially. I sent you some money this morning.
We know you are fighting the fight of women in the US and all over the world. You are on our side, so we are on your side.
Thanks. We are so grateful for your energy on behalf of women, children, health, and equality.
You go girl!

Posted by: bghgh | January 9, 2008 12:46 AM | Report abuse

Tsk, tsk, tsk!! How quickly we forget the past two elections.

At least in Iowa, you had to fess up to your vote publicly.... who knows what the real vote was in NH.

Posted by: LongTimeRez | January 9, 2008 12:42 AM | Report abuse

I am thrilled at Hillary's success in the campaign tonight with the overwhelming bias against her in the press. I have enjoyed Chris Matthew's mea culpa as he has been discraceful in his comments re Hillary. She is a fantastic, brilliant woman, a gutsy candidate and I will do all that I can to see that she is the first woman president of this country who will restore the USA to its former prominence.

Posted by: quarrierbcook | January 9, 2008 12:19 AM | Report abuse

The Dems split right in the middle. McCain and Edwards have the most to gain from that schismn. McCain for obvious reasons. Then Edwards gets to pick who, if any, will be the beneficiairy of his political sway. That should be the real winner.

Posted by: RegisUrgel | January 9, 2008 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Mr Obama speech was remarkably magnanimous tonight; he should be congratulated for that.

I wonder if high margins predicted by many news outlets had the effect of spreading disaffection and the notion that, well. maybe I don't need to vote as its clear Obama will win. Noone seems to be pointing out the large disconnect between the enormous crowds and what looks like a 2% victory for HRC.

Posted by: jonathan.bruce | January 8, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Sen Clinton's victory speech sounded alot like Sen Obama's speech. Can she really out Obama....Obama. So does she now accept hope as not a bad word? The race has just begun. The

Posted by: antonio.santos | January 8, 2008 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Thats our Girl, excellent win excellent speech. But a warning to America the punditry, pollsters and press viscously and erroneously attacked our candidate Senator Clinton and tried to enthrone their choice not ours this must stop, there must be consequences America.

Posted by: p_peppermint | January 8, 2008 11:28 PM | Report abuse

What percentage of the votes Clinton gained were from republicans crossing over to skew the election in her favor? Of the three major dem players she is the only one defeatable.
Clinton alone can uninspire voters, and depress a dem turnout. She may well be the penultimate neo-con.

Posted by: llawrence9 | January 8, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Well I will say this about these results, It seems as if I am in a dream! Could the Democratic voters finally realized that Obama has not been fully "vetted " by anyone yet? And, maybe the Press will start to do some true reporting. Is this a dream? Have the Dems really shaken themslves from this frosty winter illussion, only to realize that just because it's Hilary doesn't mean that it's bad?
Well, let's just see if this " truth" really lasts.
And maybe the Press will give another look at a woman who has done a great deal for the women and children of this country even before she got into office. Maybe, just maybe they will cut her a little slack when she talks about experience...
But, I doubt it.
Hilary is still fighting on three fronts.

Posted by: bake201 | January 8, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

This is a sad day for Democrats because she simply can't win in November. Those independents and the young people will not come out for her in November. Get ready for a very long Iraq War.

Posted by: goldie2 | January 8, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

A great win by Hillary Clinton. I don't know who I like better, but it's good that there's competition in the Democratic nomination process.

Posted by: CntrvilleCitoyen | January 8, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton is a Great Senator and a Great human being. She's going to be a Great President!!!

Posted by: svreader | January 8, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

New Hampshire voters were completely onboard, especially the "party faithfull" with Clinton with double digit victory almost assured. Suddenly folks wake up and realize that we don't have to settle for 2 families running (or not running) our country. Out comes thousands of people to support a candidate that won't gridlock us again in party gamesmen(woman)ship. So I think no matter who takes the edge here the message is on the wall. We need to consider Obama as the most viable candidate to actually make a difference in our future.

Posted by: foulkes52 | January 8, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to Sen. Clinton - a battle well
fought and won!!!
This is a perfect example of the (Un)-reliability of the poll numbers. Americans: Think and Vote.

Posted by: Liup | January 8, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

I knew I could come to the front page of the WaPo and determine which article was by Pouting Anne E. by looking for the snidest most sarcastic headline. Sure enough "Close Race Fuels HRC Glee". Candidates will change postions but Anne remains fixed on one issue - how to destroy Hillary and Bill - and the Post unlike her earlier employer (NYT) will let her calumnies go uncorrected. She's the single worst journatlist stinking up the campaign trail in 2008.

Posted by: JimSheridan | January 8, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Congrats Hillary.
We are very proud of your service to NY and the country.

Posted by: hhkeller | January 8, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

If Hillary manages to win this primary I say congratulations and enjoy. I would caution the Clinton camp not to spin whatever happens, because there are fundamental problems with Clinton's campaign that they need to address and I still believe she is going to get her clock cleaned in the general election and that is going to be far more humiliating.

Bill when you try and spin the results remember your wife had a 20 point lead until two-three days ago. During that time with the exception of one poll that had Obama ahead by 13 all the others had him ahead by 9 and there is no way to spin that Hillary is simply collapsing no matter what happens tonight.

Posted by: sbundley | January 8, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

This proves that it's the voters that decide who gets to go to the White House not Tim Russert and Chris Mathews!

Posted by: Friend1 | January 8, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I am trying to assimilate all of the information coming out of these primaries, and I am finding several meaningful bits of information lacking. In this election they will definitely mean something.

1 How much of Barak's support comes from first time voters, and especially previously disaffected voters. Some times it looks like he has tapped an obvious, and very elusive pool of voters. If he finds and draws out voters who have felt no place to go, he will be a major revolution in American politics. If he is just a strong draw to the young and the new his dynamic is still important, but as a less revolutionary vector. (Nice mathematical term: a number having both size and direction)

Exit polling needs to determine these things, because if he is merely that important vector, it is still a marvelous new day, but if he is a new political force, he is an historic cusp, and needs to be accounted for by Democrats, republicans, and putative ARP revivalists.

THIS election is most certainly NOT trivial.

2: How is the Hillary/Barak division breaking. From an objective point of view, as regards policy, and programs, either can easily read the other's lines most convincingly. Neither can easily me separated from the Democratic pack by a finger's width in what they stand for. Hillary represents the best chance of actual results following soon on her election, but Barak represents the more obvious break from things as they are. If you really want change, Hillary is more likely to be able to bring it about, but if you want a strong message about your desire for change, Barak best sends that message.

Are the Post's pollsters subtle enough to draw out those attitudes from their populations and samples?

Posted by: ceflynline | January 8, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Way to go MSM especially the post and MSNBC. Egg takes longer to get off your face once its dried.

By the way time to check the gendered language at the door. Would you use the word "glee" to describe a male candidate.

Cut the crap really. Enough!! Women have had enough. USe language you'd use for a mle canidate to describe her or you lose credibility yourself.

Posted by: slbk | January 8, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Quite frankly, the MSM's harping about the Obama double digit lead has already made this a victory for Clinton, no matter who wins by a slight margin. When they hit the states where independents and teenagers can't vote the Starbuck Buckeroo hits the dirt, hard.
My man John Edwards made a serious ( maybe nonreversible ) tactical error in that debate when he did the BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN with Buckeroo!

Posted by: harried | January 8, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

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