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Iowa Caucuses: The Fix's First Take

The Iowa caucuses are over. In the end, Mike Huckabee (R) and Barack Obama (D) chalked up convincing wins.


Barack Obama greets diners at a food court in the Kaleidoscope Hub shopping center January 3 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Getty Images)

We'll be back tomorrow with a more complete take on the results -- if it's Friday, it's the Line! But before signing off for the night, here are a few initial thoughts.

* Obama's field operation -- led by Iowa state director Paul Tewes, adviser Steve Hildebrand and caucus director Mitch Stewart-- deserves a MASSIVE amount of credit for the work they did to recruit first-time caucus-goers. The Iowa Democratic Party was estimating turnout at 236,000 -- a huge increase from the 125,000 or so who turned out in 2004 (and an even larger leap over 2000's tiny 59,000 turnout). Tewes and Hildebrand were widely regarded as two of the best in the business, but even those who spoke glowingly of them didn't think they could grow the electorate over 200,000. Well, they did that and much, much more.

* Momentum trumped money on the Republican side. Having spent time on the ground over the last few days, there was absolutely no comparison between the ground operations of Huckabee and Mitt Romney. Romney ran the best campaign money could buy, but the cult of personality surrounding the affable and quick-witted Huckabee overcame the millions spent by the former Massachusetts governor.


Mike Huckabee speaks to a news crew following a speech at the Veterans Memorial Building January 3 in Grinnell, Iowa. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

* New Hampshire becomes a must win for Clinton and Romney. The Clinton campaign has long maintained -- and did so again tonight -- that Iowa was their toughest state, an anomaly amid a series of strong states for their candidate. If that's the case, then she needs to prove it by winning New Hampshire on Tuesday. Clinton's organization in the state is without peer, but she will have to contend with a surge of momentum behind Obama coming out of Iowa.

For Romney, his campaign strategy has long been built on winning the early states. With a convincing loss in Iowa behind him, he now must show that he can make good on that strategy with a win in New Hampshire. Romney's problem is that with his loss tonight, some of the shine will come off his candidacy even as independent polling in New Hampshire shows John McCain overtaking him.

* McCain's political resurrection is nearing its apogee. McCain looked dead four months ago as his senior staff abandoned him and he failed to meet his own fundraising expectations. But with Romney's loss in Iowa, McCain now has a golden opportunity to catapult himself into the top tier with a win in New Hampshire. If McCain scores a substantial (i.e. double digit) victory, he likely kills off Romney's hopes -- making a win in Michigan all the more likely for McCain. And then -- just as in 2000 -- it will come down to South Carolina for McCain, where he enjoys considerably more establishment support than he did eight years ago.

Iowa Caucus Results by County

* Republicans could well be in deep, deep trouble next November if turnout patterns in tonight's Iowa caucuses are born out across the country. More than 230,000 Democrats turned out, more than double the number of Iowa Republicans who did the same. The energy deficit has been clear for much of the past few years and led to Democrats' gains in the House and Senate in 2006. That chasm appears to be growing wider.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 3, 2008; 11:41 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: The Friday Line: Next Stop New Hampshire

Comments

Hillary kicked but and showed she's a winner. Obama is good with bringing people together but weak on Forgien Policy. Edwards to to up set. Richarson was good.

Now as for the clowns in the Republican party it was like a comedy show. Nothing important or helpful was talked about but Rudy was selling his book. It is so sad to see the Republicans drop so low.

Posted by: qqbDEyZW | January 5, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse

This election is all about emotion and how the candidates are perceived. It really has nothing to do with policies or issues because we really have heard so little about them.

Posted by: RedRose1 | January 5, 2008 2:20 AM | Report abuse

USMC-Mike: I don't think you have ever seen a Hillary supporter mention any one of those things that you listed. My point is quite simple as to why I place a lot of the Obama supporters in the "Hillary Haters" camp as you are by your own admission there as well. Maybe you folks have a little trouble with the English language, when you deny what you are doing. "Accuse your opponent of doing what you are doing, so in that way, you will know what you are doing."

Posted by: lylepink | January 4, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Can't I say "anyone but Hillary" because

-I don't like her policies
-I don't trust her
-She is sneaky, slimy, and hate-proned
-She is polarizing/controversial
-She (and Bill) are scandal-ridden
-She has no guiding core beleifs
-Her positions change with the wind
-So do her accents and jokes
-She has been campaigning since she was born

None of those have to do with the fact that she is a woman.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 4, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

lylepink-

When I hear "anyone but Huckabee", I don't think "Godless Liberal".

When I hear "anyone but Romney", I don't think "Mormon Hater".

When I hear "anyone but McCain/Thompson", I don't think "Age Discriminator".

When I hear "anyone but Obama", I don't think "Racist".

So why is it then, that when you hear "anyone but Hillary", it is automatically because they are sexist, jealous, and hateful?

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 4, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

I remember hottub parties in Moscow Idaho ...

Anyway, the most important thing that Chris was saying in the original post, and that most don't get, is that the forecast is for not just the 6-8 foot tall Blue Wave in 2008 compared to the 2 foot Blue Wave in 2006, but it's starting to build to a 10-12 foot Blue Wave.

There are no safe states for Red Bushies. None.

And that's good for America, quite frankly.

Posted by: WillSeattle | January 4, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

jcrozier1 & mlalliso: I will vote for the Dem nominee. As to why I question a bunch of you Obama supporters, I am a little suspicious when I hear from a lot of you that "No way in hell will I vote for Hillary". My suspicion grows that you are in the "Stop Hillary" at any cost camp. There has been a couple on this Blog that almost every time they post a comment it is in the "Hate Hillary" or "Hillary Haters" category. I haven't seen him/them for a few days now, but they are on other Blogs spewing their hatred. The old timers here know who I refer to. From what I can recall, both of you are fairly new here.

Posted by: lylepink | January 4, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Er...for the record folks that would be Moscow, IDAHO...not Moscow, Russia.

Posted by: jcrozier1 | January 4, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

mlalliso:

Boise man here, except for a year in Moscow and two in Eugene, Oregon for college.

Frankly, I've got nothing against lylepink being a bit grumpy. I actually feel very sympathetic to his view that Hillary takes a heck of a lot of trash that she doesn't fully deserve. She is a whipping boy of the right for certain and some of the things said about her are truly, as you said, vile and beyond the pale.

I agree completely. It is one of the reasons she's not currently my choice for the primary election. I feel sending someone other than Hillary will defang an already pathetic looking Republican field.

But that aside, like you, I would happily vote for her to try and be a part of electing the first female president of the United States if she wins the Democratic nomination.

Posted by: jcrozier1 | January 4, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

jcrozier1, over the last few weeks I've been trying to reason with lylepink, because I think he's been damaging HRC and the Ds chances in general. I'm about ready to give up.

By the way, I was born in Lewiston and raised in Jerome so I've been part of both Idaho's! Most of my family are still in the Treasure Valley but I haven't lived there for more than 30 years. Still do try to keep up with Popkey's columns in the Statesman though.

Posted by: malis | January 4, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Over the last couple of years, lylepink has done a consistent and sometimes effective job of defending HRC against some truly hateful and vile attacks ("just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they really aren't out to get you").

Unfortunately, his defense has become less and less rational over time, lately becoming based on, quote, "FACTS" of which only he is aware. Just as the least trustworthy preachers are those who claim to have the one and only true message direct from God, folks who mix a blend of anecdote, scattered verifiable evidence, rumors, and (again I quote) "feelings" and call it "FACT" are the least credible advocates for a position.

Lyle, one question. If Obama is the Democratic nominee, will you vote for him over any of the current Republican hopefuls? If not, which of those Rs' abilities and policy positions do you favor over Obama?

I ask that because, as I've said before, If HRC is the D nominee I will most probably vote for her, with enthusiasm, and be proud and honored that my vote was part of electing the first woman President.

Since Obama is currently my first choice, however, to which of your categories ("Envy/Jealous," "FEAR," "Hate Hillary") do I belong?

Posted by: malis | January 4, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

lylepink:

I disagree with your assessment of my character, but let's assume for the moment that you're correct, that you "got me there" and that I am "envious/jealous" of Hillary.

What's the proper way to win people over who don't like your candidate? Is it to immediately try and squeeze them into a convenient capricature and write them off? I'm a Democratic voter who WILL be voting on Super-Duper Tuesday.

I went on in detail to explain what it was that didn't make Hillary my first choice. Thus far your only response is that you'll explain why I'm wrong after Hillary wins. That's like Arnold promising to fully investigate allegations of groping women against their will after he's elected governer or O.J. Simpson promising to spend the rest of his life searching for the real killers after he gets acquitted.

The proper time to explain Hillary to me if you think I'm wrong isn't AFTER I've cast my vote against her in Feb. It's before I go to the polls. If Hillary wants to "have a conversation with the American people" well then here I am. I'm one of the American people. Moreover, I'm a motivated enough and politically active enough American that I'm going to actually take place in the aggravating Idaho caucus.

Hell, even further, I'm a Democrat! If I'm not her target demographic to have a conversation with in the thenI don't know what is.

So, what, exactly, about me makes me someone that you can just write off and not even bother trying to convince? Hillary's selection as the Democratic candidate for President isn't yet a given. Part of making it a given is by convincing me to support her.

In the end I may very well not come over and do so. I'm a pretty big Obama fan after all. But being someone's second choice can be pretty important too if the Iowa caucus is any indication.

But talking down to me by saying that things would be "hard for me to understand" or calling me "sport" isn't going to make me have a more favorable impression of your stated candidate preference.

Posted by: jcrozier1 | January 4, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

so let me get this straight lyle

anyone who doesn't support hillary is either

jealous of a successful woman
fearful of a successful woman
or
hateful of a successful woman

it can't possibly be that we just don't agree with her?

Where's
R
U
F
U
S

listing his 12 oppressive rules? Isn't one of them silence dissent or something along those lines?

You HRC supporters really are dillusional emperialists who truly disdain this unnecessary Democratic process.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 4, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

jcrozier1: You "KNOW" exactly what I am saying, only by your own bias will you not accept anything you don't want to hear. I am undecided about where to place you in my "Factor" category, but am leaning to the "Envy/Jealous" or "Hillary Haters". Gotcha there sport.

Posted by: lylepink | January 4, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

"this whole primary election season is an inconvenience that Hillary, as the front runner (formerly) shouldn't have had to tolerate. She'll explain her positions when she's god damned good and ready."

HAH well said.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 4, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

...but I will explain in more detail after...

Posted by: lylepink | January 4, 2008 02:09 PM

sighhhhh... Yes, I'm sure you will...

Posted by: malis | January 4, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

lylepink:

The funny thing about conventional wisdom is that it has a way of evolving over time. Not so long ago, the conventional wisdom was that Hillary was unbeatable so we may as well shorten the primary season as much as possible so she could gird up for Republican attack ads in the general election.

Well, she looks pretty vulnerable right now. The problem I have with Hillary isn't that Republicans dislike her. Hell, I'm self-honest enough to recognize there is a dark little part of myself who wants to give Republicans the big middle finger for giving us eight years of Bush and making Hillary the next president would do that.

No, the big problems I have with Hillary are:

1. In her first real election, she fell flat despite holding every advantage in money, name recognition, establishment support, etc. (Rick Lazio was a joke. No Republican was going to beat Hillary in New York.) If she can't convince enough DEMOCRATS that she'll make a good president, then how in the world is she going to convince enough Republicans and Independents to vote for her in the general election so she can win the presidency.

2. Assume for a moment that she DOES somehow win the presidency. Republicans despise her. How much is she really going to be able to accomplish with Republicans in Congress 100% united against her, and knowing that their supporters in conservative districts back home won't punish them for being obstructionists?

3. I just don't really know what she stands for. She seems phony to me. You watch her and her message and her beliefs seem to evolve almost as abruptly as Mitt Romney's. Her speech after the Iowa caucus last night may as well have been written for her by Obama himself (aside from the whole. "I'm ready to go. I'll lead from day one part.") I recognize that part of this is the cost of politics. A candidate needs to find a message that works but it still reminds me at times of Mitt Romney.

4. What has she been right on or accomplished ON HER OWN without Bill Clinton? I can't think of a single thing that she's done in the Senate since she's been there that I can point to and say that I'm proud of. Part of that is that Republicans have controlled if for most of her time there, but shouldn't she have been able to work around that obstacle? What is it that I can look at and say, definitively, that she has accomplished in the 35 years of experience that she claims to have?

5. "This may be hard to understand now, but I will explain in more detail after Hillary in nominated as the Dems choice for Prez 08 in early February."

Your words bear a startling resemblance to the entire feel of what I get coming out of the Hillary camp. That this whole primary election season is an inconvenience that Hillary, as the front runner (formerly) shouldn't have had to tolerate. She'll explain her positions when she's god damned good and ready. Well, her winning the Democratic primary isn't a given. This isn't a coronation. It is an election.

My first reaction when I read that was "What's wrong with your explaining in more detail now? I'm smart. Hard to understand or not, if you explain it to me in small enough words then maybe I'll understand it."

As for Republicans hating her for being a woman, I don't doubt that there is some truth to that statement. I would say that is balanced out by a fair number of Republicans hating Obama because he's black.

Posted by: jcrozier1 | January 4, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

jcrozier1: There is an all out effort to stop Hillary, this is coming from some Dems that are in my "Envy/Jealous" category as a "Factor", these are primarily folks that cannot stand a strong intelligent woman crashing the "Glass Ceiling". The main opposition comes from Repubs that pretty well "KNOW" they cannot beat her in the GE, this is my "FEAR" category as a "Factor". Others, including the media are in my "Hate Hillary" category as a "Factor". This may be hard to understand now, but I will explain in more detail after Hillary in nominated as the Dems choice for Prez 08 in early February.

Posted by: lylepink | January 4, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

lylepink:

Now I could be wrong here, but why are Republicans, Independents and Conservatives deciding to cross party lines and vote for Democrats a bad thing if you're a progressive? Really, there are only two ways to increase the total number of Democratic voters. One way is to increase the total number of people voting by bring in new voters into the process, which Obama has apparently done when you look at the staggering number of people who came out to caucus in Iowa last night.

The other way is to convince people who have disagreed with you in the past to change their minds and support you. So why do you think that people who are self-describing themselves as Independents deciding to vote for Obama a bad thing?

I am well aware that one of the main arguments that Hillary Clinton will seek to make in the coming days is that she represents the true Democrats and that Independents supporting Obama and carrying him to victory mean that he isn't a true Democratic candidate.

But to me, the policy differences between Obama, Clinton and Edwards are pretty minor. That means we're picking between differences in style and message. So, to me, a message and style that attracts Independents and Republicans to come out and vote for a Democrat is a winning message in a general election.

Another, more cynical, way of looking at things is what you are suggesting: that some conservatives and independents are seeking to rig the system by crossing party lines specifically to vote out the, to them, intolerable Hillary Clinton. I don't know if this is true or not, but even if it is true to me it is all the more important to elect Obama to the Democratic ticket, because it proves that Hillary is a toxic, unelectable person in the general election.

Don't get me wrong. If Hillary somehow emerges with the Democratic nomination I'll still support her, because I think that, when I set aside my almost visceral disliking for her personality, she's smart and correct on a lot of issues. But just because I'd grudingly support her in a general election against a weak Republican field doesn't mean she's the best person to carry the Democratic flag.

Posted by: jcrozier1 | January 4, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

bsimon writes: "McCain didn't spend much time in Iowa & still collected a reasonable number of voters. Giuliani, by comparison, didn't get much support at all following the same strategy"

Actually, the Giuliani camp spent quite a bit of money on mailers and advert in Iowa, and had hoped their storyline would be "Rudy does better than expected". Now he's in trouble because the money didn't pay off and the well has run dry.

Lylepink's in all out spin mode today; go figure. All that help from Bubba amounted to.... nada! Lyle, better check your "facts". Those weren't Rs voting against Hillary last night.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | January 4, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

The 6% of Conservatives overlap with the 3% of Republicans. You can't add them together. Looks like another triumph of facts over "FACTS".

Also, note that the self-identified conservatives voted 42% for Edwards, 21% for Hillary, and 20% for Obama. So they contributed nothing to Obama's victory. You may also notice that self-identified liberals supported Obama over Hillary.

Posted by: Blarg | January 4, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Blarg: Thanks for the CNN entrance poll data. Self identified as Repubs 3% caucusing with Dems, and Conservative 6%. Consider the report on Fox by Laura Ingram, about how she had talked with Repubs that were caucusing with the Dems, and I would think the self identifiers were a tad on the low side, because of the all out effort to stop Hillary. My "FACTS" seem be a little more accurate in that I said it would be at least 10%.

Posted by: lylepink | January 4, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

lyle, while I do not buy your R conspiracy theory, I do think that x-over votes hurt HRC
and help BHO. So in a state [NOT NH] where party membership rules are enforced, I would expect HRC to do better.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 4, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Blarg: By your own reference to the CNN entrance poll-3$ Repub 6% Conservative--That adds up to 9%, not to far from my thought of at least 10%. Consider the Fox News report by Laura I., and I would think that a lot of Repubs would not self identify as Repubs caucusing with the Dems. My "FACTS" see more logical, I would argue.

Posted by: lylepink | January 4, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

mialliso -- guess who deals with a PR firm based out West?

'Rudolph W. Giuliani has hired Olsen & Shuvalov, a prominent Texas consulting firm tied to Karl Rove, to assist his presidential exploratory committee with fundraising, voter outreach, and development of his political message, according to campaign officials.'

just a thought.

Posted by: drindl | January 4, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

On the Utah-based push polls against Romney, care for some conspiracy theory? OK, tin-foil hats on everyone.

CW is that negative campaigning works, in that it does lower overall support for the target--but it also damages the person who sponsors it. So what if some ethically-challenged candidate, who viewed Romney and McCain as his primary threats, saw the opportunity to damage both by secretly sponsoring push polls (neg campaign tactic) against Romney and favoring McCain (thereby implying McCain sponsorship)? Obfuscate the effort by using firms in Utah and the West, far from the base of this speculative third candidate.

Hmmm...can we think of anyone in the race would might be so calculating and manipulative as to do just a thing?

OK, doff tin-foil and get back to the real world.

Posted by: malis | January 4, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Mark: Great Roger Williams shout-out (I'm a Rhode Islander by birth). The First Baptist Church in America is on Benefit St in Providence.

-------

Posted by: Spectator2 | January 4, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Anyone see tweedy and shep smith almost come to tears last night? Again?

Priceless. "Ye shall reap what you sow".

Fear, that is. No need to fear, gop. Unless you will not change. Unless you are going to continue down the george bush path. Join america again Break the chains that bind you. they are an illusion

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 4, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you -- Fred Thompson still might have a shot at this thing.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 4, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

'Another twist might be that there are some Utah cats who hate Mitt for jealousy or business reasons. But I am making this part up.

Weird.'

Indeed. I have read there are a lot of Mormons who didn't like the idea of Mitt running because it would throw too much light on the LDS. I'm not being anti-Mormon here, I really know very little about it, and part of the reason for that is tht they really ARE very secretive. The rituals I know of seem strange, but then, I was raised o think that eating the 'body of christ' and 'drinking the blood' was perfectly normal, while to some who are unaccustomed to the idea it might seem a tad strange.

McCain vs. Obama would set up some really interesting contrasts -- Change vs. Experience, Young vs. Old, the Past vs. the Future, New Ideas vs. Wisdom. I'd like to see that discussion.

Posted by: drindl | January 4, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

blarg, Dr. Paul finished 5th, not 4th. 4th might have gotten him in the 4-person NH debate so the RonBots are even less happy (by the way, anyone know if the debate participants have been finalized?).

USMC_Mike, greatest benefit from Iowa, other than the winners, cetainly goes to McCain, who's rival is Romney more than anyone else. Huckabee benefited from a perfect storm (coalesced around the intensely supportive but ceiling-limited Iowa Evangelicals) that's hard to reproduce. Fred Thompson is my sleeper candidate (hmmm...both literally and figuratively?) but still has to show he's serious.

By practically not even running in Iowa yet still getting what's close to a tie for third, McCain wins.

I don't think either NH or SC will change things much (except to confirm Romney's non-viability). Real action starts with Florida, ends with Feb 5th (unless it doesn't...in which point I might agree with Tony Blankley that Minneapolis could be the first meaningful nominating convention in decades)

Posted by: malis | January 4, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

dave - remember the angry white guy syndrome?
Edwards may have tapped into it. It may be enough to keep him in play far longer than many of us would wish. If my suggestion has merit, it means that the Buchanan vote is reflected in the D Party now, too.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 4, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Mike asks
"Do you think a win in NH will help McCain beat Romney in MI?"

God I hope so. A McCain v Obama campaign would do this country a lot of good.

Posted by: bsimon | January 4, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

While disappointed that Biden didn't emerge, I'm not surprised nor am I disappointed that Obama did.

Obama carried women by 35 to 30 percent over Hillary. And, derailed her coronation. Guess Hillary's dragging Bill out merely reminded us that we're all getting older and wiser to them.

Obama inspires... Iowans at least are thirsting for someone to inspire them, especially the young. He connects. All for the good. For my full take:

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com


http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth_Hunter | January 4, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Blarg - thanks for the data. I hope this puts to rest the idea of the huge CDS-afflicted R's turning out to vote Obama.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 4, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

"I am confused as to the motives of why Mitt donors would push poll against him. Hello?"

Doesn't seem to make sense to me either.


Nor to me. Just read the Deseret News story and follow it up. As a lawyer, I can make up a story to fit the reported news [misguided Romney supporters slime him to create sympathy] but it is all so weird. The fact that McCain immediately called for an investigation and the slime actually came from Mormons in SLC is strange enough.

Another twist might be that there are some Utah cats who hate Mitt for jealousy or business reasons. But I am making this part up.

Weird.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 4, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Oh Mark, as to the Newsweek story -- yes, that's the problem with 'the news' --the media creates as many stories [narratives] as they 'report.' And since news divisions now [unlike in the past] have to turn a profit, the more sensational or scandalous the better. Which is why we all knw more about Britney Spears than we ever wanted.

Howie Kurtz today:

'Suddenly the pundits were full of advice for Hillary: She needs to emphasize trust. She needs to put her husband aside. She can't compete against Obama's inspirational message. She has to be more emotional. ("She needs a personality transplant," Fred Barnes sniffed.)

Laura Ingraham said she met Republicans who had voted for Obama, and that this was trouble for the GOP.'

If anyone would know, it would be her. She must be very, very afraid. Imagine if he selected Biden, who is also popular with many Republicans-- could be a landslide.

IMagine if it was Mitt vs. Obama and Mitt went negative--Obama gets the Christian vote, the black vote, probably the Hispanic vote, the young people's vote, and the woman's vote.

Posted by: drindl | January 4, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

The Fact Checker (which is often a rather lame blog) has a short piece on the Clinton campaign's claim that she was the underdog in Iowa. That spin-job is apparently not factually based.

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/fact-checker/2008/01/hillary_the_underdog.html

Posted by: bsimon | January 4, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

lylepink, CNN did an entrance poll of caucus voters:
http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/primaries/results/epolls/index.html#IADEM

According to their data, 3% of Democratic caucus attendees identified themselves as Republicans. 44% voted for Obama, 32% for Edwards. The 6% of attendees who called themselves conservatives went 42% for Edwards, and 20% for Clinton and Obama. But don't let those facts get in the way of your "FACTS".

Posted by: Blarg | January 4, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

The key to the Dem nomination is when John Edwards drops out and who his supporters will turn to. One would think it would logically be Obama but... Edwards did not get the "change" vote - that went overwhelmingly to Obama. He amazingly did not get the union vote. He probably did not get the status quo vote. Who voted for him? Are there that many lawyers in Iowa? Anyway, my gut says that most will turn to Obama and, thus, the longer that Edwards stays in the race, the better Clinton will do. So the critical vote in NH is not how HRC or BHO do, it is how well Edwards does. A good finish by Edwards keeps him in the race and gives Hillary time to rebound.

On a side note, it looks like Oprah may have delivered the womans vote for Obama. Never underestimate the power of Oprah...

Posted by: dave | January 4, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I still think MDH is a likeable guy who was a good governor. Like bsimon, I think his emergence is a good thing for the R Party.

I would strongly oppose a legislative initiative for "Fair Tax" and I would strongly oppose a Constitutional Amendment banning all abortions.

Having said that, a religious man who believes that religion carries with it social obligations like stewardship of the earth and educating the young is not to be compared, in any fair way, with a person who wraps her/himself in the false pride that allows for only the casting of stones.

Traditional Baptists were great believers in both no establishment and free exercise - Roger Williams, anyone?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 4, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

"I am confused as to the motives of why Mitt donors would push poll against him. Hello?"

Doesn't seem to make sense to me either.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 4, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Wow!

Thanks to everyone who posted such great comments here. I'm particularly appreciative of the Iowa and NH residents who took the time to give us their insider analysis post-Iowa and pre-NH. Nothing is better than hearing a local talk about what it's like on the ground - in the grocery stores, on the street corners, in front of the capitol building, etc.

One last thing about Edwards. He's making a grave error by trying to ride on Obama's "change" coattails. He says the voters rejected the establishment. This is true, but lets not forget he only ran about .4% ahead of the establishment candidate and 8% behind Obama, the change candidate.

Furthermore, Edwards has been in Iowa since 2004 with paid staffers keeping his campaign alive. If four years of presence doesn't make you an establishment candidate, I don't know what does. Edwards doesn't have the support nationally to go farther, especially not now that Obama has taken the reins.

(By the way, when is the Mozilla spell-check going to add "Obama" into their dictionary so it doesn't keep saying I'm spelling it wrong?!)

I'm going to yield to the NH residents on predicting the outcome there because the voters there are enigmatic to me. It's like they're social socialists and fiscal fascists. Which isn't an insult - I appreciate open-mindedness along with fiscal discipline.

Though, I have agreed with NH voters in the most part that Obama will sweep the Independent vote - largely the youngsters - and McCain will snag the older establishment folks. While he is "the maverick" he is still a household name, and in this election cycle, household names are getting thrown out with the household trash.

Again, some excellent opinions and analysis from the folks here. This has been one of my favorite comment threads to ever read on WaPo.

Posted by: thecrisis | January 4, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

bsimon -- thanks for your thoughts. Do you think a win in NH will help McCain beat Romney in MI?

Let's assume Fred pulls something out in SC. Does MR Have a ticket to the WH?

What happens to Huck?

Man, this is exciting.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 4, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

'Btw, Obama first attracted my attention when he told a largely black audience that it was time for affirmative action based on poverty, not based on race; and then told the teachers that measurement and accountability were good ideas.'

He's right on that, but there has to be more flexibility than teaching to the test -- I have seen from my own perspective how that limits the ability to teach critical thinking. And affirmative action for the poor only -absolutely.

I am confused as to the motives of why Mitt donors would push poll against him. Hello?

Posted by: drindl | January 4, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Obama or Huckabee? Please, somebody assure me that won't be the choice. I don't want to vote for the lesser of two evils yet again.

Posted by: t.lanzetta | January 4, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

lylepink,

If you have been commenting here long you have to realize I haven't. I have been "commenting" on the NYTimes blogs. About a third of my comments were not approved and others probably got lost in the internet connection. This blog site is much easier to publish comments.

I'm sorry your candidate lost and I'm looking forward to your views on her- post-Iowa.

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 4, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

"I just don't see how McCain can finish behind Fred-freakin'-Thompson and still look like a "front-runner""

Its the expectations game. McCain didn't spend much time in Iowa & still collected a reasonable number of voters. Giuliani, by comparison, didn't get much support at all following the same strategy. Thompson's next shot at another decent finish, if he lasts, will be in South Carolina. McCain will likely do well in NH & MI, looking like a more viable candidate than Fred. So... while there may be only 3 tickets 'punched' for getting through Iowa, they aren't necessarily the 1,2&3 finishers.

Posted by: bsimon | January 4, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Hillary has got to drop the "Ready to Lead on Day One" --it's silly and is just not working for her/us.
Case in point. How many of us have interviewed potential employees for an important position and, knowing that while one qualified candidate is ready to start tomorrow (usually because they are unemployed), but the other (more likeable, equally qualified) candidate, is the one we're really excited is not available for a few weeks. He needs to give notice, take a few days off before he/she can start...but definitely wants the job.
What do we do? WE WAIT FOR THE BETTER, MORE LIKEABLE CANDIDATE!

Also we don't than elect a leader to "lead" us per se(we have our day jobs, afterall), but we elect someone who we admire, someone who INSPIRES confidence is the smartest guy in the room, someone who makes us feel emotionally that we can make whatever sacrifices he asks because it is for the good of the country. That was Bush's greatest failing--for all his war-spending, he never asked us to sacrifice! Go shopping he said, it's good for the economy.
We want someone who asks us to leverage our numbers to make the sacrifices, to CHANGE OUR BEHAVIOR, to set our country back on the right path. Obama is doing this...he's inspiring those who have never participated in politics to cacus for 2 hours on cold Iowa night...to fill up football stadiums to, yes, see Ophra in person, but hear HIS MESSAGE. He's got those of us who are fired up thinking it's not just historic figures (JFK, MLK) who can inspire us with their words to take action...he's our own version of a change agent... who gets us believing that a better world IS POSSIBLE, and tells us how (all we have to do at this point is vote, buy a bumper sticker, tell our friends...all very doable things!) And we feel the promise that there is more to come. Just tell us what to do Obama and we can make a difference (Recyle? Picket our insurance agency? Write our congressman?)

And it is not "the media" who is annointing Obama...it is Obama himself. Each top tier candidate got equal time on CNN for their post-caucus speeches...I listened to all of them and it is Obama who gave the most exciting, compelling speech to the biggest crowd. You can't miss that excitment or the fact that his crowds are the largest. The media cannot "create" that.

Hillary does have a lot of older women in her camp. Women who WANT to vote for a woman, women like me who loved Bill...but she doesn't come across as warm like Bill. Sadly for her, you can't miss why she will not be the nominee on the videotape of her post-caucus speech (even Huckabee seems a more viable, sincere, I- won't-go-negative-candidate, once i share the truth with you). The others are real, they TELL STORIES, they inspire us with words, she just isn't.
(And btw, at least Huckabee is against torture!)

Posted by: sgoewey | January 4, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Oh how far we have come in such a short time. Don't forget about the people that made this happen. The people who fought for change and america, in the face of such adversity.

All I ever wanted here was freedom. This site has come so far. From banning Obama supporters for their point of view. To here now. See. Change can happen. Growth can happen. All I ever wanted was balance. We have that now. i am no longer needed here. Good lcuk and God bless.

Sorry if I offeneded anyone. If you feel attacked think why. I was merely trying to help old people grow and for the blind to see. Mental change cannot come without mental conflict.

good luck people. We soon will be one country again. I will come back again. Hopefully, now that fox is marginalized the etide has turned. Back to american values and the fascist sabotuers marginalized. To those that held up progress, look at the archieves.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 4, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Mike - I found this yesterday and posted:

---------------------------

Mike, I found this story in the Salt Lake City paper:

http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,5143,695228342,00.html

If this is the incident you are referring to, it seems that McCain really had nothing to do with it, and it later turned out that the principals of the push polloing co. in Utah were Romney donors, which is really strange.

But if there is something else I want to know about it.

Thanx.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 3, 2008 06:08 PM

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 4, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

David Brooks's take on the results:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/04/opinion/04brooks.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Part of me thinks he overstates the implications of the results, particularly regarding Huckabee's impact on the GOP, but part of me has thought similar things all along: that both parties need to reinvent themselves in order to move this country in a new direction.

Posted by: bsimon | January 4, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

USMC-Mike: I have stated repeatedly that it would be a miracle for Hillary to win Iowa. With the "Stop Hillary" forces out in full force, I am quite suprised she did as well as she did. I still have been unable to find the % of Repubs that supported Obama in their hopes of stopping Hillary, although I think it will be at least 10%, combined with the other ABH/ABC this comes as no suprise that Obama won. I am a little suprised the margin was not higher/greater.

Posted by: lylepink | January 4, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

PS, if there are only 3 tickets out of IA, McCain ain't getting one. But I guess we'll see in about a week or so.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 4, 2008 11:12 AM


Mike, that's the old rules. It didn't stop Bubba when he finished 4th (to Harkin; everyone conceded it to him in '92).

Posted by: JD | January 4, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

That's just as possible.

I just don't see how McCain can finish behind Fred-freakin'-Thompson and still look like a "front-runner"

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 4, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"if there are only 3 tickets out of IA, McCain ain't getting one."

How so?

"There were some calls made that were anti-mormon, but praised John McCain. The NH atty general won't finish the probe until after the primary."

The McCain campaign claims it wasn't involved; the implication is that a 527 affiliated with another candidate is trying to hurt both Romney & McCain with the move.

Posted by: bsimon | January 4, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

PS, if there are only 3 tickets out of IA, McCain ain't getting one. But I guess we'll see in about a week or so.

lylepink -- how can your leading lady take 3rd and not seem beatable?

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 4, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Mark--

In response to your question about McCain's push-pulling in NH,

There were some calls made that were anti-mormon, but praised John McCain. The NH atty general won't finish the probe until after the primary.

I bet you can google it.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 4, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

rfpiktor: You must not be reading the comments. I am here almost every day, and most of the time, the only supporter of Hillary.

Posted by: lylepink | January 4, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

So here's what it comes down to: If you like George Bush (a.k.a. unexceptional intelligence; warmongering, empire building, torturing, and secret spying mentality; us vs. them philosophy; and allegiance to a personal, cultish, Southern brand of faith--God, protect us from the Southerners) then you'll love Mike Huckabee.

Posted by: NewBostonYankee | January 4, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

peterdc:

It is astonishing to me how often I hear this argument made, usually by Clinton supporters, that her experience as First Lady and about six years as a Senator make her magically enhanced and super, duper qualified to lead from day one.

Mere proximity to a certain job doesn't, by virtue of osmosis, convey a complete and true understanding of how to do that job. That's like arguing that the reporters embedded with the soldiers during the Iraq invasion would be ready to be a soldier from day one.

Incidentally, the people who had all the experience like Rumsfeld, Cheney and, yes, Hillary Clinton, were wrong on the decision to invade Iraq. That mistake only has cost us somewhere around $1 trillion dollars, and counting, over a hundred thousand Iraqi casualties and thousands of U.S. casualties, both dead and wounded...also "and counting".

When you get right down to it, experience is code-speak for good judgment. We assume that people who have been around longer, who have seen more, will automatically make smarter, wiser decisions. But that just isn't always the case.

I've watched the policy debates. I watched when the media jumped to say that Obama stumbled when he said he would have direct talks with leaders he disagreed with, and Hillary crowed, and, guess what, it ended up a couple of weeks later to not be a gaffe after all.

Obama is the total package. He isn't just an amazing speech giver ala Bill Clinton. He's a true intellectual. The man was President of the Harvard Law Review for crying out loud. If we as a country have difficult problems to solve, then I want the smartest egghead I can find working to solve them. The fact that Obama also just happens to be thrillingly eloquent, charismatic, moral and someone that even some conservatives like bhoomes can like is a happy bonus for me.

Posted by: jcrozier1 | January 4, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

So here's what it comes down to: If you like George Bush (a.k.a. unexceptional intelligence; warmongering, empire building, torturing, and secret spying mentality; us vs. them philosophy; and allegiance to a personal, cultish, Southern brand of faith--God protect us from the Southerners) then you'll love Mike Huckabee.

Posted by: NewBostonYankee | January 4, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Peterdc, you sound like the "brave spirit" rfpiktor wished for who is still routing for Hillary. The flaw in the argument that it takes a year to get acclimated to the office of presidency is assuming that you don't have a good transition team and you're bringing all new (green) individuals to your staff...there is nothing stopping Obama from appointing old hands like Hillary and Bill to advise him! (And with that argument, we'd want four more years of Bush/Cheney--GOD FORBID!!)

Because no one is more upset with what Bush/Cheney has done to the Presidency/the Country than Hill and Bill (well... maybe Obama, Edwards, Biden, Richardson, Dodd, Ron Paul, Al Gore, Michael Moore, Ophra, Jim Webb and some 67+ percent of the American People)...
I have full confidence that, once Obama has the nomination (with the help of new voters, Independents), we can look forward to all the Dems rallying behind him and helping him get up to speed on selecting the most "experienced" staffers, the WH computer/telephone system, etc etc ... I can't wait.

Again, read Charles Peters' article...Obama is not only smarter than the rest of us, but more importantly, he is true do-gooder and problem-solver. In IL he proposed and passed legislation to get interrogations (alleged beatings) and confessions videotaped against vigorous opposition in both parties, opposition from the poice, and public opposition by the governor-elect. But Obama, with truth, justice, (desire for sunlight) on his side used his personal,pursuasive skills to help all interested parties "rise above what divides us" and pass the legislation...

Obama is just what our country needs after the disaster of W --"I'm a uniter/not a divider"(not) "I'm for Kyoto Treaty" (until after I'm elected) "I've got political capital to spend and I intend to spend it" (after losing popular vote in 00, closest election in history 04), "I'll fire anyone involved (unless I depend on them to tell me what to do) "you're either with us or against us"--bullying/false rhetoric.
Political experience is one thing, but life experience is more important, good judgment is more important, you can hire political experience (Like Bush hired Cheney/Rove) but experience without good judgment is dangerous (Cheney, Rumsfeld). Go Obama, go!
(I've been sporting your bumper sticker since last summer...time to go out and buy a yard sign!)

Posted by: sgoewey | January 4, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Chris
It's interesting that you state Hillary's organization is "without peer in New Hampshire." I live in New Hampshire and quite frankly would argue the opposite. The Obama folks have targeted our household for 9 months. We get calls, emails, etc.

As registered Dems, we received a few mailings from Biden and Richardson, two phone calls from Edwards office about events, and only once heard from Hillary's campaign when Bill was coming to Portsmouth.

I think the CLinton's have targeted the "old standbys" in NH. However, the Obama people have seemed to targeted current voters. Remember, approximately 20-25% of the voters in NH didn't live here in 2000 and a similar percentage in 2004.

I live in a Seacoast town that has a lot of "new folks." Most of us plan to vote for Obama. In fact, I just saw alot of them at the welcome rally in Portsmouth that finished about 20 minutes ago.

Posted by: rpinNH | January 4, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

bsimon, I will be recording both - I am going to be in DC and NY for 3 days.

For those who missed Charlie Rose, one of his guests last night, John Meacham of Newsweek, made some telling concessions about what we all suspect.

First, he said that while the media are not generally partisan, they are fomenters [word?] of news - they want "new" news, and go for sensation and the latest trick.

Second, Newsweek, in that spirit, has been giving Obama a free pass, but will now turn on him. Mark Halperin thought maybe some media would continue the love fest as part of the bandwagon effect.

Shelby Steele, black and conservative, fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford,
was delighted by Obama's success - said an OObama Presidency could finally bring the end to affirmative action based on race.

Btw, Obama first attracted my attention when he told a largely black audience that it was time for affirmative action based on poverty, not based on race; and then told the teachers that measurement and accountability were good ideas.

Boko, in this contentious world a Prez who actually talks across the aisle and is willing to host Congressional leadership in the WH continually, a la LBJ, is a must. McCain and Biden fit that; I suspect Obama does too. I doubt whether we are far apart on this concept. I do think contentiousness is fine. What does not work is polarization for the sake of forging Rovian majorities of one.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 4, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Claudialong, @10:23 AM

I was about to comment on Peterdc's post but since you have adressed me directly, I will answer your comment first.

My take on people selecting a candidate is mostly they pick with their hearts. I like to think we are more "creatures" than "intelects".

I do not know Mrs. Clinton, I don't really want to. To me she seems haughty, having a Sister Superior attitude in her public persona and glad about it. I would not invite that type of arrogant overachiever for coffee if I had a choice. I know the clock would be ticking for her next appointment in her busy schedule fixing the world.

I don't know if you've seen her new site "thehillaryiknow.com". Yeah, right. If I want proof she's warm and fuzzy, I have to go to a site-specific window to apply.

Mr. Obama seems to me like a brother I would like to have over for a long house stay. I have no idea why, he just clicks with me.

People recognize warmth and coldness from afar. Hillary decided to counter that with a political Establishment steamroller that could not be stopped. Obama's warmth and genuine political greatness did stop all that. Nobody can fool the heart. Specially if you confront it with a steamroller.

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 4, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

sgoewey, meet lylepink, the most dedicated Hillary supporter I have ever encountered.

and you could also talk to peterdc, who says: "The big difference is that the Clinton policy positions are a little more nuanced. Nuanced is not bad if you can get what you want done."

I would remind Peter that "Clinton policy positions" include: authorizing the invasion of Iraq without reading the relevant NIE; naming the Iranian military a terrorist organization (yet still expecting their nuclear program to respond to diplomatic pressure); almost single-handedly wasting the 1993 opportunity to establish a national health care system due to her refusal to take criticism/listen to outside opinion; and (most recently) taking credit for peace in Northern Ireland in the '90s, despite being neither a diplomat, nor an administrator, nor a think tank-er, nor Irish, for that matter. (Apparently, she had tea with the wives of Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness.)
None of this is to say that she is not an intelligent and capable woman.... just to say that despite pillow talk, and watching - occasionally - from the background, SHE DOES NOT HAVE ANY REAL EXPERIENCE IN BEING THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. She would have to learn on the job, just as any other candidate elected for the first time must.

but no, 'nuanced' is not bad. Keep in mind, though, that in order to develop a nuanced position, you must have clear in your mind the things on which you are and are not willing to compromise, and what reasons would be sufficient to justify compromising.

Posted by: bokonon13 | January 4, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Find myself in total agreement with Blarg about Huckabee. This guy said he would even be happy if got to be the President just with Evangelical vote. I will not vote for Huckabee under any circumstances, if it Hillary and Huck, I will sit this election out. Lylepink I agree somewhat the Clintons will not give up this fight easily but at some point if they take it away from Obama by going negative, the dem nomination would be worthless to Hillary. Nobody likes her too start with, and she risks losing the black vote if she try's to destroy Obama.

Posted by: vbhoomes | January 4, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Oh yes... scooter, I read some little piece about NH and civil unions -- hardly any fuss or coverage about it at all. I wonder how large a percentage of the population approved that, do you know?

Certainly does make NH a bit more of a challenge for Mitt and Huckabee, both running on a Constitutional ban on such.

Gay unions in NH, a black man and a white preacher winning in Iowa -- interesting year indeed in American politics!

Posted by: drindl | January 4, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Jim D - great discussion this AM. I'm pretty excited about how this has started rolling. Big debates tomorrow night - is anyone going to try to sit through 3 hours & watch both parties' candidates in entirety?

Posted by: bsimon | January 4, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I have to say, repiktor, that while I never especially leaned toward Clinton as a candidate -- even considering the rabid and baseless hatred of so many toward Bill -- I am surprised by the raw, unseemly ferociousness of the attacks against her, especially by the pundits [with the exception of CC, who has been even-handed] who have gone out of their way to degrade and belittle her.

She is neither as bad as most say nor is he as perfect.

Posted by: drindl | January 4, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

claudialong, yes, New Hampshire is much more conservative than its New England neighbors, but compared to southern states like Mississippi it's quite liberal. NH celebrated the new year with the advent of civil unions for gays and lesbians (cheers, NH!)... for a lot of people (unfortunately) that alone makes New Hampshire a liberal state.

Posted by: scooterndc | January 4, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I wonder how the Ronbots are feeling right now. He got 10%, which is pretty good for a candidate who flew so far under the radar. But his supporters swore that he'd win Iowa, so a 4th-place finish must be a disappointment.

Posted by: Blarg | January 4, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

sgoewey,

I wish there were some brave spirit that decided to root for Hillary in this blog.

Or against Obama.

As I posted before, there is a consensus of dislike towards her and an equal consensus of respect for Obama, which is remarkable.

Even on an analytical level, arguing for a Clinton resurgence sounds silly and not possible in the new real world.

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 4, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I would agree that Obama won handily last night and much of that can be attributed to his message. But we have been taken in before by those with a great message and not much experience to back it up.

I am a little afraid for the nation if the candidates are Obama and Huckabee. We are in dangerous times and neither one has the experience or anything in their past to indicate that they can do the job.

Passion is great- charisma is great- but they don't always lead to success.

I will go with experience and understanding all the time. I tend to support those candidates who I believe are the best to lead at a particular time and due to that I often don't support those I think can win but those who I think should.

At another time in history I would be supporting Obama. But in this time of crisis around the world I am still hoping that we have a leader like Hillary Clinton elected.

What people must realize is that every new President, partcularly those that haven't served as VP before- takes the first year to acclimate to the office and to figure out what the levers of power are and how to populate their administrations.

Obama will be no different- he will need that first year.

Clinton, no matter whether you give her credit for foreign policy experience or not - you must give her credit for being an intimate part of setting up an administration. Of being the closest person to a President to see how decisions are made- both those that were right and those that were wrong. No one can accuse her of not learning from mistakes. Just look at her Universal Health care proposal today vs. the one in 1993. The one today is something that is possible- the one in 1993 was a pipe dream. Hope and pipe dreams don't get things done. We have seen that and that is why I am so afraid of Obama.

The nation right now can't afford the learning curve for Obama. If you look at the policy papers issued by Clinton and Obama and even Edwards, they are really very similar. They are all progressive and they are all calling for change. The big difference is that the Clinton policy positions are a little more nuanced. Nuanced is not bad if you can get what you want done.

She has learnt the nuances of public policy and foreign affairs, by his statements Obama has shown that he has not yet quite mastered them. Can he? Yes! I believe he can- but it will take time and right now we don't have that time.

So I hope as we head into New Hampshire and beyond that the electorate will look carefully at the choices we have- and look at the situation in the world today- and then make the decision as to who can do the best for us now- not who is charismatic but who is ready.

Posted by: peterdc | January 4, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

JimD -- Do you think Mitt, a Mormon, suffered in largely evangelical Iowa due to his attack ads against an evangelical preacher? He went negative on him pretty hard. Huckabee may well play the War on Christians theme to his advantage and deflect criticism that way, although it may play less well in NH.

Obama, too, without needing to mention it, has such a great story and squeaky image it's hard to attack him without appearing mean-spirited, which is why I think anyone running against him has a built-in problem. The turnout for him is great news for America -- that so many people could support someone who a generation ago would have been called a product of 'miscegination.'

I do think there's a good chance Huck's gaffes might sink him and the nod go to McCain, who would be the best R choice anyway. Obama vs. McCain would be one intereting race. We might have a dialogue rather than mud wrestling.

Posted by: drindl | January 4, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Iowa voters show they have a lot to be dissatisfied with the drift of American policy. Their vote, both Democrats and GOP, was a vote against Bush.

Is it really a vote for wet-behind-the-ears Obnama? I doubt it.

Posted by: ravitchn | January 4, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Look to independent NH voters to vote by age just like we saw in Iowa. This is definitely a generational election. The young have finally decided to leave their apathy toward politics behind.

It'll be interesting to see if the over 65 group goes more for McCain or Hillary. My guess is McCain. Obama will capture the lion's share of the younger independents.

Posted by: optimyst | January 4, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

vbhoomes & jimd52: I think both of you are the ones I disagree most with on this particular thread. My take from my "Crystal Ball". Obama should win SC, I think it is his strongest state--NH, could go either way, but I think Obama will win there as well due to the intense "Stop Hillary" crowd, at any price. The Media will/is having to a field day promoting Obama even more, if that could be possible. Then comes February, and that is when Hillary will have the Dem nomination locked up and on her way to becoming POTUS. bokonon13: Almost forgot, I still maintain my belief, even more so, that Obama has ZERO chance of winning in 08.

Posted by: lylepink | January 4, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 4, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

"It's a good analysis, but: if Clinton wins New Hampshire she will get a crucial advantage over Obama..."
Pundits! Get with the reality that Iowa revealed. There is absolutely NO WAY Hillary will win NH because: She simply DOESN'T GET IT! Compare her speech last night to Obama's (which was on an entirely different plane, inspiring) and Edwards (talking about the wrongs that people can work together to put right)... Hers was all about HER (her goals, her experience, her plans, her "leadership", her zzzzz. Her inability to understand that it is not about HER at all that is her downfall.) We don't vote for the best organized person, we vote for the person who INSPIRES us that together we can put a stop to the maddness). Obama's and Edwards were all about what WE, THE PEOPLE can do! We can take back our country...we can pitch in, do our part, rise up, making things happen. It comes down to this: Obama inspires, he talks about US, she ("I'm in it to win it") talks primarily about how her experience will change things ... but we know that the president primary tool for success is his/her ability to get the people roused up, excited about his ideas. Bush was clueless about this, blew his chances after 9/11 to unite us...sadly, Hillary is too divisive, too focused on herself and just doesn't inspire anyone (except the Republicans who are united against her). She cannot compete with the magic spell of Obama's speaking style, his personal story (read Charles Peters "Judge Him by His Laws" in todays W.Post opinion sec.) and the contagious excitement he creates, the palable electricity in the room/auditoriums/stadiums and on the airwaves...about what it means to be an American. I look forward to voting for Obama/Edwards ticket in '08.

Posted by: sgoewey | January 4, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Some explanation as to why New Hampshire voters may be stuck between Obama and McCain, despite their stark differences. New Hampshire has this image as the "Live Free or Die" state. It is largely true, in that many NH voters distrust power. For this reason, NH has a tradition of voting against the "establishment" candidates. Lately, NH voters, perhaps more than in any other state, have gotten sick of the status quo and the leadership of both parties in Washington. Look no further than the 2006, when NH unseated both its GOP Representatives, and turned the state senate, house and executive council from Republican to Democrat. Obama, amongst the "first tier" Democratic candidates, exemplifies newness. McCain resonates here because in the past he has bucked his own party on many issues.

Posted by: steveboyington | January 4, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

AndyR3, OK, now that we've actually had a vote that counts, we can start speculating about running mates. If, as you speculate, it's McCain and Obama in the general, that mean Independents will play a major role.

Special circumstance in McCain's case is his age. I could vote for McCain but would have to be satisfied with his running mate too. It's rare that a VP choice makes a difference but, in this case, Huckabee would disqualify the ticket for most Independents (especially if Obama is the other choice). Seems likely he'd go with one of the moderate governors.

I could vote for Obama but, in his case, he needs someone to balance what is perceived as his relative lack of experience. Edwards doesn't do that. Might add Foreign Policy/National Security experience like Wesley Clark or Joe Biden. Other direction woudl be Executive experience...a well-rounded governor like Richardson (though somehow I don't think it would be BR himself).

That's all assuming, of course, it's Obama-McCain, which certainly isn't certain. Other intereisting point is McCain-Obama eliminates the possibility of a meaningful 3rd party run (either Huckabee or Ron Paul might form a meaningless 3rd party). If, say, Guiliani-Clinton, the independent 3rd party becomes possible again.

Posted by: malis | January 4, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

'if the world were more about logic and less about human nature.'

yes, if only...unfortunately too much of what we do is decided by the most primitive parts of our brains.

judge, i am old enough to remember jonestown. I'm from Southern California, so I know me my cults. It's all just a sliding scale to me --how far will you go to follow your leader? A lot of people can be convinced to do almost anything if they are led to beleive it is God's will.

Posted by: drindl | January 4, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

First of all, as a veteran poster, I have to say this is one of the more intelligent threads in a while. Probably because zouk and rufus aren't here.

I totally agree with thecrisis on Edwards' unelectability. Angry candidates do not fashion a majority coalition in this country.

I would not necessarily see McCain and Obama in a zero sum game for independents. Obama is attracting large numbers of first time voters. Both Obama and McCain could attract significant numbers of independents in New Hampshire.

I do not believe that Huckabee will do all that well in New Hampshire. Southern fried fundamentalism does not go over in New England. The tax issue is key for New Hampshire Republican primary voters and the Club for Growth has been pounding on Huckabee's tax record incessantly.

novamatt - Very insightful post on the post-boomer angle. Even though I am of the boomer generation (turn 56 this month) - I am sick of the boomer obsessions and culture wars. It may be because I have been on both sides - hippie protester in college and later career military officer. We could have a pre-boomer running against a post-boomer in the general and that would be a very interesting campaign.

Should Hillary Clinton lose New Hamshire and South Carolina, her national lead will collapse. Obama has the money to take his campaign national.

I agree with genepool that while Bill was a fairly decent president, most people do not want a reprise of the Clinton White House. The Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton thing is very off-putting to a lot of people.

I think David Brooks' column we were discussing the other day is one of the best analyses of why Mitt will be toast.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 4, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

boko, I'd suggest that you have it backward. Biden and Dodd didn't sink due to lack of funds; they had a lack of funds because they weren't compelling candidates, and the vote totals reflected that.

Since you brought him up, how about Dodd moving his family to Iowa, and putting his kid in an Iowa school? Glad to see Iowans saw through his patronizing attempt. What a dirtbag.

Posted by: JD | January 4, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

'Wealthy individuals and corporations are answerable to no one'

and when you are talking about multinational corporations, not even our own government. that's where it REALLY bothers me -- that foreign corporations directly owned by governments with interests at odds with ours can buy our elections and write our laws. this clearly undermines the common good, not to mention our national security.

Posted by: drindl | January 4, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I never ever thought I'd do this, but here goes:

Thank you, thank you, thank you George Bush for being the most historically inept president so at last America can wake up and shake off its decades long lethargy and finally step up in 2008 to pick a leader who will allow us to work together to solve the issues that have been festering in gridlock for so, so long.

Posted by: optimyst | January 4, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

The operative word for Obama is MOMENTUM. He's got it, he will not let go of it, it is his to lose.

Hillary is starting to look her old, wrinkled sixty years. Experienced Hollywood fabulouscious makeover artists not withstanding. This contrived establishment-bred establishment-approved, establishment-funded, clunky jalopy can't swim, won't swim.

"And Americans are not going to want to see this stopped. When an African-American man is leading a juggernaut to the White House, do you want to be the one to stand up and say No?" -David Brooks, NYTimes 1/4/08

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 4, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Quick note after taking a look at the count of delegates actually won. Huckabee's win is much more convincing than Obama's - Huckabee took 17 of 37 contested delegates, vice 12 for Romney, 3 each for Thompson and McCain and 2 for Ron Paul. In contrast, the Democratic results are more mixed. Obama took 16 of 45 contested delegates, Edwards took 14, and Clinton took 15 despite having a lower % of the vote.

Posted by: avagabond | January 4, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

drindl - I think I did admit in my post that what I described would never happen. Being a realist - even a cynic - doesn't mean that I can't imagine how problems could be solved if the world were more about logic and less about human nature.

Posted by: bokonon13 | January 4, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Apparently Huckabee is relying entirely on the evangelical vote. The Trail quotes him as saying this on his plane:

"We've got to convert a lot more people in New Hampshire in the next five days. We're going to have a big tent revival out on the grounds of the Concord State Capitol, get them all converted to evangelical faith, then we'll win."

I know that's supposed to be a joke, but I still find it very disturbing.

Posted by: Blarg | January 4, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

sitiowa, the generational boundaries are always a little hazy, but someone born in '61 shares little of the cultural touchstones of those born at the height of the Boom. Obama turned 7 in '68, 12 in '73, and wasn't old enough to vote for president until 1980.

Don't know if there are any Strauss and Howe fans here, but the '61 cohort is neither Boomer nor X'er, but is properly part of Generation Jones: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Jones .

Posted by: novamatt | January 4, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Great comments, Novamatt.

Drindl when evangelicals hear the word 'cult' they think of Heaven's Gate and the Jonestown Massacre (interestingly, the latter is the origin of the phrase "drinking the kool aid" that we use so much around here). Bussing folks in from parts over yonder doesn't come close.

Posted by: judgeccrater | January 4, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

That was a fun night don't you think.

As I said months ago I see the nomination fight playing out like this. The ABC crowd will coalesce around Obama in NH and he will use the victory there to propel him to an even bigger win in SC. By that point Edwards will drop out and it will be between Obama and Hillary. Then after Obama wins the vast majority of the states on Feb 5 (minus NY and maybe NJ) HRC will concede defeat. Then I see an Obama/Edwards ticket, however, if Edwards keeps up his aggressive rhetoric then Obama may go with Wes Clark which would also be a strong ticket.

The GOP will be an evewn better contest, as I see McCain taking this and winning NH. Romney is toast and everyone knows it. Wait until Sunday when the first polls come out and McCain will be ahead by a lot with Huckabee in second. I see McCain carrying Michigan and going head to head with the Huckster in SC. If McCain wins SC then he will sweep Feb 5th, if Huck wins then it will be a two way race on the 5th with Huckabee taking the southern states and McCain winning California, the west and the New England states not named New York. That will be the end of Guiliani and his ill-fated plan to avoid Iowa, NH, and SC. In the end I see McCain/Huckabee as the ticket.

Obama v McCain ends with Obama winning a mini landslide

Posted by: AndyR3 | January 4, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

certainly agree with scooter about the caucus carnival. does anyone know if there's another modern country with a county fair election 'system' like we have? this whole iowa thing feels like some bizarre Twilight Zone flashback to 200 years ago... that it should count for anything is beyond goofy.

but scooter, you think new hampshire is liberal? i've never heard it described that way -- quite the opposite.

Posted by: drindl | January 4, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Well, JD, but on the D side, Biden and Dodd (who, like them or not, were the 2 candidates with the most experience, and at least in Biden's case, most widely accepted ideas on Iraq) sank mostly because of a lack of funds. Whereas Mitty and Giuliani, who really are UNqualified, are still with us due to their wealth (and, in RG's case, 09.11.) Wealthy individuals and corporations are answerable to no one, and it is by no means guaranteed that they will have the same criteria for evaluating and selecting a candidate as do the majority of voters.

Posted by: bokonon13 | January 4, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Edwards is right: This was a complete repudiation of the status quo - in both parties. Not that it help Edwards, but the wins for non-traditional candidates shows that voters are willing to try something different and won't be bullied by somber stump speeches about the "danger" of voting for the new guy and the importance of "electability."

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl | January 4, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

bokonon: That was McCain's campaign that was going around and saying Fred was going to drop out not him. No republican should drop out, its to wide open. Mitt has to finished at least a very close 2nd if he's to have any chance later on. If Hillary had won last night, I would had put money on McCain in NH but seeing she got her fat fanny kicked, the independents will want to play on the democratic side, thus Romney wins.

Somebody please check on Lylepink to make sure he's not going to cut his throat.

Posted by: vbhoomes | January 4, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Everyone repeat after me:

IOWA DOESN'T MATTER!
NEW HAMPSHIRE DOESN'T MATTER!

I will never understand why our screwed-up presidential election system gives these two tiny, lily-white states--states that in no way represent the overall electorate in age, income, etc.--a front-and-center position in deciding who gets to run for the most powerful job on the planet.

I lay much of the blame on the media, who loves to turn the Iowa caucus into something that it's not, namely, IMPORTANT! Just this morning I was listening on the radio to some CBS News analyst prattling on about how Senator Clinton was going to try to be the "Comeback Kid" in New Hampshire. WHO CARES? Iowa only has a pitiful fifty-seven Democratic delegates to fuss over anyway!!

The only reason that ethanol continues to exist is because of the Iowa caucus system, because the first question out of an Iowan's mouth to a presidential candidate is: "What is your stance on ethanol?" The Iowa caucus system (particularly for Democratic caucuses) is confusing and intimidating to newcomers, which depresses participation. Only 6.4 percent of registered Iowa voters participated in the 2004 Democratic caucus. In a country of 300 million citizens, why should 125,000 people get to winnow the presidential candidate field? And why, for that matter, should a tiny northern liberal state like New Hampshire get to follow up four days later?

At least one candidate has seen through the media hoopla surrounding Iowa and New Hampshire. Rudy Guiliani says that he's heading south to Florida to focus on his southern strategy. Good thinking, Mr. Mayor--don't let losing most of Iowa's paltry forty Republican delegates get you down, and don't worry about New Hampshire miserable little twelve Republican delegates (half of which were taken away by the GOP for New Hampshire moving up its primary!)

So everyone repeat after me:

IOWA DOESN'T MATTER!
NEW HAMPSHIRE DOESN'T MATTER!

Romney, Clinton, McCain, Guliani and Edwards supporters take heart--these two pi$$-ant states are not representative of the whole country and--more importantly--only have a small handful of convention delegates. Your candidates should be concentrating on the twenty states that will have primaries on February 5th. What used to be called "Super Tuesday" ought to be renamed "Hyper Tuesday"--1,113 delegates will be up for grabs. If you man (or woman!) doesn't do well on February 5th, THEN you can start worrying. Until then, repeat after me:

IOWA DOESN'T MATTER!
NEW HAMPSHIRE DOESN'T MATTER!

Posted by: scooterndc | January 4, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Would like to live in your utopia, boko--somewhere over the rainbow. it's nice to dream.

Judge 'cult' is about right. I heard that Huckabee had folks bussed in from churches. Don't know if it's true. If so, are any legal issues involved, via separation, etc.?

WSJ is predicting mitt' early demise... a bit strange, considering how different Iowa is demographically from the rest of the country, not to mention that Huckabee has quite a few skeletons and also some zany and naive ideas about foreign policy...

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, wildly out-spent and out-organized by Mitt Romney here in Iowa, pulled out a win tonight in what could be the beginning of the end for Romney's presidential ambitions.

And 4% for Guiliani? Ouch.

Posted by: drindl | January 4, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Novamatt,

Technically speaking Obama is a boomer since he was born before 1964.

Posted by: sltiowa | January 4, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Good analysis, CC. What impresses me most about Obama is that he's the complete package -- the idealism, the story, and then the money and the organization needed to win and win big. Hillary and Romney have money and organization, but none of the idealism or the narrative. Huckabee (and maybe Edwards too) have the idealism and the narrative, but not the money or organization. You've talked before about head candidates and heart candidates. Obama might be both head and heart.

Couple random thoughts. Looking at the county map, Huckabee really struggled in Catholic eastern Iowa and suburban Omaha. Romney didn't do well at all in fundie northern and central Iowa. We've heard a lot about Romney's problems with the fundies, but Huck might have a similar problem with R Catholics, and that could be big.

Obama's numbers among independents and the under-30s (both above 50%) are astounding. Hillary voters are good loyal Democrats who have always voted and will always vote for whoever the party's nominee is. Obama is bringing new people in to the party, both swing voters and non-voters. Just typing those words makes me swoon a little. I've been fighting off an Obama crush for a few years now, but I'm ready to surrender.

Another thing about Obama that is likely quite related to his numbers among independents and young people is that he's this country's first national post-Boomer political figure. A lot of us, probably even some Boomers, but especially those of us who were born after 1960, are sick of the ugly stalemated battle over cultural issues that has been going on for some 40 years now. We've had 16 years of Boomer presidents, and they've been unbelievably partisan and acrimonious, and they've perhaps not-so-coincidentally coincided with a real decay in this country, economically and culturally. I wonder how much of Obama's appeal is simply the generational wheel turning yet again, turning away from that which has become stale and toward that which is new and relatively fresh.

Posted by: novamatt | January 4, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

A couple thoughts:

- there's no question Huckabee did well on the strength of evangelicals and born-agains. Something like 60% of the GOP caucusers describe themselves as such. The number in NH is less than 1 in 5. We'll see how he holds up.

- All of you campaign finance geeks (ie, willing to restrict political speech) hopefully can breath easier now. How much did Romney spend in Iowa, over $10m? HRC's campaign has spent $100m in the last year. How much good did that do them? So chill out on the money issue - it doesn't necessarily translate to votes.

Posted by: JD | January 4, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

I see that Hillary's arguments for her candidacy have not changed even after her thumping in Iowa: electability and experience. This is as silly as W positioning himself as the real military hero in SC in 2000 against a man who was imprisoned for his heroism; this by a man whose wartime service was focused on drinking beer, snorting coke, and chasing tail. My state PA will never go for Hillary in the general election and she cannot win without it. I live in the center of the state where Democrats must hold down Republican numbers to win. She would have to get a lot of independent and Republican votes and she has no chance of that. My elderly mother is typical; registered Republican, voted for Kennedy and Carter and after that Republicans. She is sick to death of W and wants to vote for a Democrat but will not vote for Hillary under any circumstances. She likes Obama's message and could vote for him. I was registered Republican for years, now Ind. since the party was hijacked by the know-nothing whacko evangical jihad. I can hold my nose and vote for Hillary but I don't want to. Sounds like Carl Rove is writing Hillary's stuff: take your weakness, insist it is your strength, say it loud enough and often enough and hope people are stupid enough to buy it. When you think about it there are more than a few parallels between W and Hillary; the viciousness and vindictiveness, the secrecy, the paranoia, the need to be in a closed circle of sycophants. I thought Bill was in some ways a half-decent president but even so I don't want to look back to those years. I am glad that we have a couple of good alternatives and maybe after New Hampshire someone else will have the momentum to succeed in February.

Posted by: genepool | January 4, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Why do articles like this continue to pretend that John Edwards doesn't even exist?

Did any of the political writers ever wonder where Edwards might be in the polls had they ever bothered to consider him as part of this race?

Posted by: lightgrw | January 4, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

bhoomes:

didn't Fred T. say he would drop out if he was not at least 3rd in Iowa? although you're right, I have heard nothing to indicate that he actually will... and as a MA resident, I can tell you for sure that Mitt is not all that likeable, and has scrupulous moral standards when it's convenient for him. In any case, he probably won't win in NH and thus might be done in a few days.

Posted by: bokonon13 | January 4, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

My wife and I attended our first Iowa caucus (we have only lived in our adopted state for 5 years...we live in Ames). We are both Independents and we have not registered with any party. My wife typically votes D and I R, but both of us have voted for people in both parties. I caucused with the D (my wife liked the D candidates but thought the D caucused format a little intimidating) and my wife caucused with R.

My wife said the R caucused was poorly organized and they underestimated the number of people who would be attending. She said about 250 attended, but they only set out chairs for about 50 people. It was interesting to note that all candidates had someone speak for them expect for Huckabee (no one spoke). My wife voted for McCain, but said the person who spoke for McCain did a horrible job. Thompson and Rommey speakers were much more polished and Paul supports most passionate.

I thought the D caucused was also poorly organized and we had about 488 people. A candidate needed 74 people to remain viable. When they opened the caucus only the Obama and Clinton groups were viable. Edwards were about 6 short and Richardson's were about 10-15 short. I was with the Biden group and we had only about 40. When the D caucus opened the Dodd and Kucinich groups folded immediately with most of the Dodd supporters coming to the Biden group, but again we were still not viable due to numbers and our group went to the four winds with few if any going to Clinton. I went over to the Obama group and Obama crushed. In the end, Obama had about 220, Edwards 108, Clinton 82 and Richards 77.

Obama brought out the youth vote and Ames being a college town it was clearly seen. From my vantage point the people supporting Obama reminded me of those who voted for Clinton in 1992 and Regan in 1980. They had a lot of energy and optimism. The most effective caucus captains were in Obama and Edwards camps. The Biden captains were actually a little shy (the D caucus was not a place to be shy).

Posted by: sltiowa | January 4, 2008 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Congratulations to the dems who so far has picked somebody who is likable and has moral character. I would vote for Obama before I would ever vote for Huckabee. But I do believe Mitt is still in decent shape. Fred is still in it and will take votes from McCain in NH and the independents will want to vote for Obama who is by far the biggest political story in decades. Mitt will win in NH and Mi and the big slugfest will come in SC, just like in 2000.

Posted by: vbhoomes | January 4, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Mark, I more or less agree with what you say you would like to see, with a couple caveats: 1, I believe that environmental issues, specifically climate change, MUST be on the front burner from now on. (actually, I think you agree with me on this.) and

2, while divided government does prevent a Bush-style spree of one-sided, bad legislation a la 2002-2006, it also makes it impossible to get anything decisive done quickly... and I suspect that quick, decisive action will be more and more necessary in the years to come, as the earth's population continues to increase - and the supply of natural resources continues to decrease, and nukes proliferate, and Russia continues to slide backwards into totalitarianism, and the rich/poor gap gets ever bigger, and species die off or mutate as the earth warms, etc.

In order to best address these issues, we need a government that is able to turn on a dime and get things done, and that's not possible (at least it does not seem to be) with a system geared toward competition rather than cooperation. So how do we get there? You got me... maybe publicly funded (and ONLY publicly funded) elections, shorter campaigns in which ad hominem attacks are off limits (i.e. ads deal mostly or entirely with issues and the proposed solutions to them), and the abolition of political parties. Of course that will not happen soon if ever, but that's the best I can come up with.

Posted by: bokonon13 | January 4, 2008 7:43 AM | Report abuse

It's a good analysis, but: if Clinton wins New Hampshire she will get a crucial advantage over Obama. If Obama wins and Clinton is close second, this will - at least until February 5 - be a two person duel. Even if Clinton loses she will still score a safe win in Nevada. Then South Carolina will be the first real test that will set the tone of the campaign when we approach the Super Tuesday.

Posted by: martin.tollen | January 4, 2008 7:25 AM | Report abuse

The Charlie Rose interviewees last night were more measured in their responses than "we" have been. All of you might want to watch it at his web site, or just listen to them in the background while you "work".
------------------------------
teddysanfran, some of us independents are very process oriented. In my case, I want to see the end of the "unitary executive", and a devotion to open and constitutional government. In my case, I want to see neither party in control, but each one being forced to compromise, with leadership that recognizes the limitations of federal government. Beyond that, I want a Prez who is a believer in America's constructive role in the world, who thinks that both a strong military and a national commitment to service are positives but that torture and Gitmo are not, and who understands the need for an energy policy that stresses conservation and new tech over dependence on oil. I want a Congress that will work to secure the borders and ports, rationalize employment law, and set up temporary workers' permits, not permanent residency or citizenship, for undocs who come forward and who have employer sponsors, and no criminal records, and a Prez who will work with them.

I want a bipartisan foreign policy
but do not care how much they fight about domestic policy. It would be a bonus if the domestic policy fights spread more light than heat. There is more than one way to skin a cat.
------------------------------
If I were in NH, next week, I would vote for McC, but I would not be uncomfortable with BHO. Someone who thought about process in similar ways to me could easily vote for BHO but not be uncomfortable with McCain.
--------------------------
Just trying to explain how the same "pool" could like these two guys.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 4, 2008 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Kurt_Evans, 2 things:

1. are you seriously telling us that Romney is a viable candidate because he's willing to talk trash? I have seen some of his anti-McCain ads, and they consist of: "He's not enough in favor of cutting taxes for the wealthy," "He's not in favor of a militarized Mexican border," "He actually dares to cross the aisle when discussing or voting on legislation," and "He actually wants to level the campaign finance playing field so that wealthy candidates or candidates supported by well-financed interests are not able to financially swamp the opposition." (I'm guessing that last one is particularly offensive to Mitt.) These ads are also curiously light on Mitt's accomplishments as governor, I'm guessing because he didn't have a whole hell of a lot of them. (Everything that he signed was drafted and passed by the overwhelmingly Democratic Legislature... and how do I know? I live in Massachusetts, and have spent at least 2 years more in the state - out of the last 40 - than has Mitt.) He's a wealthy phony who is able to self-fund his political adventure whether or not anyone wants to listen, with the sad result that we're stuck with him at least until primary season is over, unless he gets bored first... although there may be hope, as he got bored as governor of Massachusetts pretty quickly.

2. The comparative form of the adjective "true" is "truER."

Posted by: bokonon13 | January 4, 2008 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Check out this awesome Iowa Caucus post mortem analysis at http://thirdrailradio.blogspot.com/2008/01/iowa-caucus-post-mortem.html

Posted by: thirdrailradio | January 4, 2008 5:54 AM | Report abuse

Reply to "Nissl":

Good commentary, but I wouldn't write off Governor Romney yet. His negative ads against Senator McCain will be more effective than the ones against Governor Huckabee, because they'll be more true.

Posted by: Kurt_Evans | January 4, 2008 5:11 AM | Report abuse

Early Line:

1. Obama. He won IA by an incredible margin and gave an exceptional speech afterwards. NH is an even more independent-heavy state. If you correct the NH polls for how IA turned out, he was up 7-11% BEFORE the IA results. If Clinton's machine and Edwards' populism cannot stop him here, he will take a huge margin in SC. End of story.

2. Clinton. She has the cash to play through Feb. 5, but everyone agrees she desperately needs a new message. "Experienced and thus able to produce change" didn't work.

3. Edwards. Doesn't have the organization to really compete in NH and SC without an IA win, sadly.

1. Huckabee. I've been touting him for months. Big win, very good speech. He's quite charismatic. Able to play everywhere but NH and MI.

2. McCain. Romney goes down, and McCain will win NH. He will have a tough go of it in SC where Huckabee was already very strong. Can he surge enough off NH take MI and/or FL?

3. Romney. All the negative ads and $$ in the world didn't get him close in IA. He will lose NH and be toast.

4. Giuliani. The whole "don't win a vote for a month" strategy is not working.

5. Thompson. Secretly disappointed he can't drop out yet without looking like a quitter.

Posted by: Nissl | January 4, 2008 4:33 AM | Report abuse

maybe, then, we should change our stupid assed immigration laws and let people pick apples.

Posted by: ippolit | January 4, 2008 3:17 AM | Report abuse

I don't think we ought to let illegal aliens flout our immigration laws just so we can have cheap apples.

By the way neither does Governor Huckabee:

http://mikehuckabee.com/?FuseAction=Issues.View&Issue_id=26

http://mikehuckabee.com/?FuseAction=Issues.View&Issue_id=4

Posted by: Kurt_Evans | January 4, 2008 2:42 AM | Report abuse

Obama is like a beautiful woman who you fall in love with, and then realize at some point that it just won't work.

he is a great guy, and all, but he has not been under the spotlight, and I am afraid he will lose the the republicans once racism is exploited greater.

Edwards is the most electable, and he will be given another look as people's passions cool to Obama.

Posted by: river845 | January 4, 2008 2:37 AM | Report abuse

Anyone seriously wanting to punish illegal immigrants clearly has no idea how the U.S. economy works. Take those 12 million illegals out of the country right now and we'd face a crushing economic downfall that would make virtually everything you eat go up in price. Why? Because those 12 million people are picking your vegetables out of the ground and off of the trees for 6 cents a piece for 60 hours a week just so you can buy an apple for 50 cents.

Posted by: thecrisis | January 4, 2008 1:44 AM | Report abuse

LonewackoDotCom:

I know this may seem like a huge shock to you, but I personally disagree with your underlying premise that either Huckabee or Obama support illegal immigration as your link suggests.

Obama's the candidate I'm currently supporting, so I can helpfully provide you with the link to the part of his website that clearly lays out his views on that issue.

http://www.barackobama.com/issues/immigration/

Frankly, given that my wife is an immigrant to this country (legal) I don't quite have the same passionate level of hatred that a lot of folks have with regards to immigrants so a candidate whose position on immigration is a little more nuanced than "GRRROOWWWLLL!! IMMIGRANTS BAD!!!" isn't a bad thing in my opinion.

Posted by: nocoolnamejim | January 4, 2008 1:31 AM | Report abuse

Concerning N.H., Obama is riding a surge, an epochal, cresting wave of hope and change that no sane history-changing individual voter will want to miss.

Right now the line is drawn. Voters can pick history or pick the same old news.

That's the choice. History or yesterday's old news.

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 4, 2008 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Pulciano,

I'll talk about Edwards. Edwards spoke with Larry King after the caucus was over and he said almost nothing but negative things about Obama and Clinton. He complained about how they spent so much money more than him and that he did so well nonetheless. He thinks that because fewer people gave his campaign money, that makes him somehow a more honest candidate.

Obama earned donations from 500,000 individual donors. No other candidate can even come close to that number. He earned more than $100 million in 2007 with virtually no money or support from PACs. No other candidate can say that.

Edwards is a great person with great ideas and enough passion, frustration and raw anger to make a good DNC chairman or some other partisan position like that. But he's never going to be acceptable to a general election because he's simply too polarizing and too angry, which voters shy away from almost 100% of the time. Look at the two winners tonight - they were the nicest and most positive candidates from each party. Obama is hopeful, optimistic and upbeat and Huckabee is cute (pardon me for saying that), funny, smiley and silly. Fortunately one of these candidates has more than jokes and one-liners to support his candidacy.

Point being, Edwards is simply not a presidential candidate. He could never unite the country. But he could do amazing things for the blue collar workers in the United States and I'd love to see that reflected in a new role for him in politics outside of the White House.

Obama is the future of America. Look at him. Listen to him talk for ten minutes and you know it through and through. He may not speak of a grandiose voting record or a stellar history in executive management, but those are the things he will create after two terms as the president of the United States.

Posted by: thecrisis | January 4, 2008 1:23 AM | Report abuse

Electability -- Yes, let's have that discussion now.

Posted by: optimyst | January 4, 2008 1:18 AM | Report abuse

The only reason Huckabee and Obama still have political careers is because the MSM refuses to do their job:

http://lonewacko.com/blog/archives/007371.html

Please go to campaign appearances, ask the questions the MSM is too ignorant and afraid to ask, and post the responses to Youtube. That will be a huge public service, helping to discredit those not qualified for the job as well as showing just how bad the MSM is.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | January 4, 2008 1:14 AM | Report abuse

@ boldbooks: AMEN!

I am so sick of that lying revisionist spitball macho-loves-bushes-balls and his ilk. He has a major b0ner on for Clinton. What is his obsession? Fears strong intelligent women much? That's so 80s (and so republican).

When are americans going to stop letting jerks like him and all those arrogant corporate media blowhards, pundits and greedy slimeballs tell us what to think and how to vote?

Definitely time for new blood in cable as well as gov't.

Posted by: andfurthermore1 | January 4, 2008 1:11 AM | Report abuse

not a Republican myself, but my two cents:

Romney has spent loads and loads of money and time in Iowa, trying to do everything by the book.

Meanwhile, Huckabee spent orders of magnitude less than did Romney,
he did not have establishment backing, nor any business experience,
he awkwardly 'released' an attack ad while pretending he was not doing so,
he left the state, crossed picket lines, and played the bass on Leno the night before the caucus rather than rallying his troops,
and he still gave Romney an old-school whippin'.

I no longer believe Romney can be seen as a viable national candidate for anything other than Best Hair.

Posted by: bokonon13 | January 4, 2008 1:08 AM | Report abuse

To see a tongue-in-cheek review of the Iowa primary in pictures...link here:

http://www.thoughttheater.com/2008/01/presidential_politics_picture_prognostications.php

Posted by: dd1780 | January 4, 2008 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Why would the same independent New Hampshire voter consider casting a ballot for either Barack Obama or John McCain? It makes no sense whatsoever to think any voter would consider both of these candidates -- they are entirely different in style, on issues, on approach, and on personality.

And yet the conventional wisdom seems to be that there is a finite number of Independents in New Hampshire who will vote for EITHER McCain or Obama.

Why is that so in the face of all empirical evidence?

Posted by: TeddySanFran | January 4, 2008 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps if Republicans would help out Mike Huckabee with campaign contributions, he could give voters more to turn out for. The so-called "Club for Growth" has been very destructive to the Republican party generally and Huckabee's definitely made some blunders. However what Huckabee needs right now is a better-financed campaign. Also perhaps the "Club for Growth" should change their name to "Club to help elect Democrats", because that's effectively what they've been doing.

Posted by: chrisbak52 | January 4, 2008 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for not bothering to mention John Edwards, who came in second and beat Hillary Clinton.

Posted by: pulciano | January 4, 2008 1:00 AM | Report abuse

" 'I exploit you, still you love me...'

but who does that describe in this race?"

Hmmm, boko that doesn't describe anyone at the moment. Maybe Guiliani?

Wait till the R's settle on a candidate and he achieves rockstar status among the GOP faithful. GWB did that and the "I exploit you, still you love me..." fits him to a 'T.'

"You gave me fortune,
You gave me fame,
You gave me power in your God's name.
I'm every person, you need to be,
I'm the Cult of Personality."

Posted by: judgeccrater | January 4, 2008 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Please do me a favor. When Chris Matthews says tomorrow that 70% of Democrats voted against Hillary Clinton, tell him to stuff it because 70% of Dems voted against each of the candidates. I don't know why you keep going on Tweety Bird's show. He is such a slime ball.

Posted by: boldbooks | January 4, 2008 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Senator Barack Obama has changed history in Iowa!... http://enewsreference.wordpress.com/2008/01/04/senator-barack-obama/

Posted by: nquotes | January 4, 2008 12:31 AM | Report abuse

My sources tell me Ron Paul only received two total votes...

http://www.voterswrite.org/2008/01/internet-browse.html

Posted by: barnesseth | January 4, 2008 12:29 AM | Report abuse

judge:

"I exploit you, still you love me..."

but who does that describe in this race?

Posted by: bokonon13 | January 4, 2008 12:25 AM | Report abuse

My sources tell me Ron Paul only received two total votes...

http://www.voterswrite.org/2008/01/internet-browse.html

Posted by: barnesseth | January 4, 2008 12:25 AM | Report abuse

My sources tell me Ron Paul only received two total votes...

http://www.voterswrite.org/2008/01/internet-browse.html

Posted by: barnesseth | January 4, 2008 12:23 AM | Report abuse

I think Obama winning so big hurts McCain and helps old Flipper. McCain's 2000 New Hampshire win came from independent's voting in the GOP election. Now they are probably going to flock to the Dem side (shades of Nov.) and vote Obama. Bye bye McCain, another wound to Hillary and hello Multiple choice Mitt.

Posted by: havok26 | January 4, 2008 12:01 AM | Report abuse

"Romney ran the best campaign money could buy, but the cult of personality surrounding the affable and quick-witted Huckabee overcame the millions spent by the former Massachusetts governor."

Wonders never cease, eh, CC?

"Cult of personality?" I'm fairly sure you should never use the word 'cult' when describing anyone favored by christian evangelicals.

Of course, I dig it because it gives me flashbacks to Living Colour's song of the same name.

Posted by: judgeccrater | January 3, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse

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