Everyone knows the news. McCain and Hillary Clinton beat expectations — big time.
Tonight I was at a dinner in the grand ballroom of Georgetown’s Four Seasons Hotel for the annual black tie gala of the Nixon Center, and I kept running out to the patio to see if I had any test messages from my colleague Sameer Lalwani about the New Hampshire primary.
I got the numbers when about 25% of the precincts had reported in — and my notes were passed around much of the ballroom — which was stuffed with folks with blackberries that couldn’t receive data in the room we were in.
Here is what matters. Expectations of an Obama tsunami were overstated — and while they were basically nearly tied, the expectation that he would clobber her in a double digit win — gives her a huge win.
She’s back in the game — and this is going to be a long contest between the two. Edwards is out — at least I think so — no matter what happens in South Carolina. If Obama wants a VP running mate decided early, Edwards may be the guy. Obama’s New Hampshire speech had a lot of heavily populist currents, so that deal may be possible.
But Hillary Clinton pulled it off — and I’m surprised. Her team allowed too many to know that she was “pissed” after the results in Iowa, and this inflated in the minds of many that the Clinton campaign took Iowa more seriously than perhaps they should have. She should have laughed it off. Maybe.
She won — so it’s tough to argue with success. But what the hell happened with the polls? In Iowa, the polls tracked well with performance — but not at all tonight in New Hampshire.
In any case, big flip — and not to leave him without attention — John McCain’s big win over Mitt Romney also creates considerable momentum for him. The story for him as well as Hillary in the short term is one of comeback.
I still want someone who sounds like Chuck Hagel. Don’t see the person yet — but I am glad that we aren’t going to have a silly, binary choice for president. This race matters, and whether Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama wins the Democratic race, I want them to fight like hell for it.
The next president is going to have the crap beat out of him or her by the world — by friends and by foes — and I want someone who is tuned in to the real world, not platitudes. For me, this race just got a lot more interesting.
— Steve Clemons