Chris Dodd sent a gracious note tonight saying he is out of the race — but his advocacy for the good things in politics and policy will continue. I salute and thank him.
Senator Joseph Biden — a brilliant and experienced foreign policy hand — who controls the helm of the Senate Foreign Relatons Committee has also bowed out — and I’m looking forward to Biden, Dodd and others getting back to the kind of issue-oriented and oversight hearings that they are so adept at.
The Nikkei plunged 5% yesterday — and is perhaps the real news we should be paying attention to. . .but that aside. . .
Here is a quick snapshot of my take on tonight’s fascinating reulsts from Iowa.
First of all, a win is a win is a win. . .and Barack Obama pulled it off as the latest polls said he would, better in fact than they said he would.
This probably indicates a few things — some positive and some negative.
Obama probably got the lion’s share of caucus goers who abandoned Dodd, Biden, Richardson, and Kucinich. That explains the 6-7% jump in his estimated take from the polls. Obama won. . .but he got an assist from other Dems.
The bad news for Obama is that — setting aside Edwards — this may be the “as good as it gets” number. He drew the votes that went to the second tier; he drew dissident Republicans; and he drew a lot of Independents — and while he won, it wasn’t stunning.
What was surprising was the fact that Edwards has legs. He really did well in Iowa and kept the entire race competitive. I don’t know what waits ahead in New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina — but Edwards is still in the game, at least for a bit.
Hillary Clinton is in for a marathon — and while she came in third — she’s still very much alive. As Donna Brazile said tonight, her campaign can easily push the “reset button” and ‘possibly’ perform well elsewhere.
I’m not an expert on these kinds of games and how they impact the future choice of voters — but I do sense that the impact of Bhutto’s assassination and foreign policy in general had a momentary impact on the presidential race. But that impact dissipated rapidly.
Voters seemed to be chasing the avant-garde, vision, change, and their pocketbook issues — not the fear that we have grown accustomed to on the national security front under the Cheney wing of Bush’s White House.
Had Bhutto’s murder occurred yesterday, we might have seen different results. it is anthropoligically interesting that American citizens peripheralized the stress in Pakistan so quickly.
So Obama wins on the Dem side — but the real truth is, he didn’t win definitively, and Edwards and Clinton have chances ahead to change the outcome. So, no closure here.
On the Republican side, Huckabee really performed well — and Romney less well. But I sense that John McCain is lurking with some real strength ahead.
I talked to some of the most seasoned Democratic political strategists in the country tonight — and they fear McCain and relish Huckabee, Guiliani and even Romney as the Republican nominee.
Even though McCain was somwhere just into double digits tonight in Iowa, they think he has political legs. But on the other hand, Huckabee won. Ron Paul’s support did not defect and stayed solid at 10% — extremely impressive in the Iowa caucus structure — and Romney. . .well, not sure what to say. . .he just didn’t perform well in the state he believed was essential.
Romney’s Massachusetts DNA should play well in New Hampshire — but McCain is surging there. Romney will be in for a while though. . .and he really must be John McCain in NH or run for other jobs.
Not sure if I missed anyone. . .hope not.
New Hampshire next Tuesday night — and it’s a serious gambit.
I thought Hillary Clinton and Obama both “looked great” and Edwards was exhausted — like I am — so my sympathy/empathy goes to him tonight, my congratulations to Obama. . .my anticipation to Hillary’s next moves. . .my guesses about surprising moves ahead to John McCain. . .my farewell wave to Romney. . .and my “Oh my gosh, could Dems be so lucky?!” nod goes to Mike Huckabee. . .
— Steve Clemons