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The Lady Takes New Hampshire: Clinton Wins

January 9, 2008

The collective brain jossling going on right now in the pundit class as they pound out tomorow morning’s column should generate enough electricity to power a medium sized neighborhood. I’ll advise them not to strain themselves coming up with a lede and trying to figure out how the polls got it wrong. Let me explain what happened (probably).

Though Sen. Clinton’s Oprah moment this weekend surely contributed to her win in New Hampshire last night, there were many other situations that helped out:

1) McCain is Big in New Hampshire. Independant voters broke to Obama in Iowa. They love McCain in NH and no talk of making history and an Iowa bounce would change their minds. Those in the relatively large percentage who had not decided whom to chose by yesterday may well have picked McCain also.

2)No Dodd, No Biden. With those two old biddies on the sidelines as a practical matter, their 1 or 2% share went to Clinton most likely. Anyone got any numbers?

3)Edwards is diminished. With people talking about a two person race already, perhaps some voters counted Edwards out. I would think those votes would go to Obama, but perhaps not.

4)Sen. Clinton is still the front runner. With all the immediate changes coming after Sen Obama’s win in Iowa, he still trails nationwide (like I said a few nights ago). He was behind in NH polls before Iowa. As bounces are by the laws of physics temporary states, we should not have expected Obama’s numbers to remain airborne very long.

5) a White conservative brought up the Bradley effect first. So Abramson can calm down, it’s not me.

There’s something condescending about the chat show kid’s contention that women switched to Sen Clinton only after she “showed a softer side.” (I guess they’ll be suggesting that Obama should campaign in Iowa in a throwback jersey, a pair of Air Force Ones and carrying a bucket of KFC) I doubt that moment put her over the top, though it probably helped. Clinton didn’t need Oprah as she proved she could be kinda sorta like Oprah — maybe like Oprah on a show about identical cousins connected at the spine, separated at birth. Clinton is already a celebrity and it was about time she used some star power.

Not sure how much weight Bill pushed for his wife. Helping or hurting right now it’s “push.”

Obama is still beating expectations when you observe the long term. Winning in Iowa and 2nd in NH is still more than predicted this summer. A win last night wouldn’t have been the knock out blow but he’d have Hillary set up for a fatality . Edwards promised to keep on keepin’ on, and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t stay at least until South Carolina, just for fun. He thinks he can pull off the comeback Bill Clinton did, great.

Barring that comeback, either of the top two should keep him in mind for a VP running mate. He helps both candidates. Sure, he may not want to run as a VP again however this may be his best shot at the White House for now (that advice sounds kinda familiar . . .)

Over on the GOP . . . no surprises, except that I was surprised to discover that Giuliani held a large number of events in NH despite saying he’s saving his wad to explode on the Florida panhandle.

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