McCain & Clinton: The comeback duo

A lot of people who thought they knew something about the political process woke up with a hangover this morning — their minds muddled by the intoxication of arrogance and the failed belief that they — not the voters — decide elections.

They awoke with the knowledge that last night was not a dream but a nightmare come true — that two candidates won their respective parties’ primaries in New Hampshire the old fashioned way — by getting out the vote and ending the evening with a win that just about everyone said was impossible.

Republican John McCain made it look easy, easily defeating Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee in an election the networks declared won minutes after the polls closed.

It took five more hours before anyone would dare claim the previously-thought impossible: Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton as the upset winner over Barack Obama, edging the predicted winner 39-37 percent.

She did it in typical Clinton style — practically reinventing herself in the five days between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire vote, dumping her stilted stump speech, taking questions at appearances and even breaking down and almost coming to tears on the day before the election.

Some pundits and polls predicted a double-digit win for Obama but New Hampshire voters don’t listen to pundits — especially women voters who cast their choice overwhelmingly for the new, softer Hillary Clinton. The outcome left pollsters, pundits and pontificators gasping for air and stuttering as they tried to explain how they got it so wrong.

Clinton savored the victory but was gracious in her acceptance, acknowledging her opponents and telling supporters she had learned from her mistakes and from them. Gone from the stage were here polarizing husband — former President Bill Clinton — or others who marked the status-quo underpinnings of her campaign.

By contrast, Republican winner McCain’s acceptance speech was a mess: He stumbled several times as he read his notes, seldom looking up or making eye contact with the crowd.

But victory was still his, a remarkable comeback from a cash-strapped campaign that pundits declared dead five months ago.

Hillary Clinton’s two-point victory over Obama turned the Democratic contest into a two-candidate race. A distant third place finish leaves the campaign for John Edwards in doubt although in this year’s campaign any comeback appears possible.

The Republican side is more muddled. Former front runner Mitt Romney must win in Michigan to stay in the race and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s “ignore the early primaries” strategies might not work. Internet darling Ron Paul’s fifth place finish is not what supporters predicted and actor Fred Dalton Thompson’s 1 percent finish is what people expected.

Reports The Associated Press:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton powered to victory in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary Tuesday night in a startling upset, defeating Sen. Barack Obama and resurrecting her bid for the White House. Sen. John McCain defeated his Republican rivals to move back into contention for the GOP nomination.

“I felt like we all spoke from our hearts and I am so gratified that you responded,” Clinton said in victory remarks before cheering supporters. “Now together, let’s give America the kind of comeback that New Hampshire has just given me.”

Her victory, after Obama won last week’s Iowa caucuses, raised the possibility of a prolonged battle for the party nomination between the most viable black candidate in history and the former first lady, seeking to become the first woman to occupy the Oval Office.

“I am still fired up and ready to go,” a defeated Obama told his own backers, repeating the line that forms a part of virtually every campaign appearance he makes.

McCain’s triumph scrambled the Republican race as well.

“We showed this country what a real comeback looks like,” the Arizona senator told The Associated Press in an interview as he savored his triumph. “We’re going to move on to Michigan and South Carolina and win the nomination.”

The Washington Post’s take:

While pre-election polls in New Hampshire got Sen. John McCain’s margin of victory about right on the Republican side, late polls fundamentally mischaracterized the status of the Democratic race.

Polls released in the two days before the election had Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) with a five- to 13-percentage-point lead over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) in the Granite State, but Clinton defeated Obama, 39 percent to 36 percent.

Most polls accurately reflected the large bloc of likely Democratic voters yet to make up their minds or who said they were open to switching their support in the closing days. On the network exit poll, nearly 4 in 10 said they made their final decision within the last three days; 17 percent said they decided how to vote yesterday. Among those making up their minds on the day of the primary, 39 percent supported Clinton, 36 percent Obama. Clinton did even better among the third of the electorate who settled on their choice a month or more ago.

However, the late polls missed on how votes divided by gender. Pre-election polls from CNN-WMUR-University of New Hampshire and USA Today-Gallup showed Obama and Clinton about evenly splitting female voters and Obama winning men by a margin of 2 to 1. But Clinton won among women by 12 percentage points, exit polls showed, and she lost among men more narrowly than suggested, drawing 29 percent to Obama’s 40 percent.

21 Responses to "McCain & Clinton: The comeback duo"

  1. Janet  January 10, 2008 at 11:34 am

    First of all, it’s still very early and this is an election like no other. Expect many surprises to come. One win in NH doesn’t make for being the nominee. But if she is, it’s still 100% better than any of the Republicans. At least we’ll get Bill back and maybe the a budget surplus agaion. Maybe it will turn out to be a Clinton/Obama ticket or an Obama/Clinton ticket or an Obama/Edwards ticket or an Obama/Biden ticket…

    Seems like DejaVuallover rant was removed, so I have removed my objection to it.

  2. Sandra Price  January 9, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Please. Ron Paul is not a racist! He is not anti-Semite. Both of you are out of line here! You read some crap on the internet and spread it around as if it is the truth. This is CHB not Free Republic. It is now very popular to blame the Jews for everything. I’m sick of this crap! America is it’s own worst enemy when it breeds this kind of bigotry.

  3. ekaton  January 9, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    Heading for the cheap seats now that the invective has begun to fly. None of this helps folks. Name calling, telling each other how stupid one may or may not be. One needs to separate “the Jews” from actions taken by the Israeli government. There are many citizens of Israel that totally disagree with some of the actions of their government. Judaism is a religion. Zionism is a political movement that drove the establishment of Israel. I question the dual loyalties of some of the U.S. “neoconservatives” who hold Israeli citizenship as well as American. Where do their true loyalties lie? There is so much that is kept from us and our press often gives us half-truths at best. “Anti-semite” is an epithet often assigned to anyone who would dare criticize the Israeli government. For example, one may be deemed to be “anti-semitic” for simply pointing out the fact that Israel has been carrying on spying operations inside the United States for many decades, but it is the truth.

    Stepping off my little soapbox now.

    – Kent Shaw

  4. Doug Thompson  January 9, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    Enough! I see the spam filters have kicked in because anti-Semitic invectives have been used. To quote our comment policy:

    Posts that contain racism, homophobia, bigotry or Antisemitism will be removed and the posters banned.

    I don’t like that kind of garbage on this web site and it stops now.

  5. ekaton  January 9, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    Doug, please remove my comment just above yours if you feel that it is inappropriate.

    – Kent Shaw

  6. yarply  January 9, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    Charges of voter fraud has been asserted by some in NH.
    They say the exit polling and the votes reported do not tally in some districts and hints of diebold machine tampering has started.
    It seems the exit poll numbers were right on when and where hand counted ballots were used but where electronic voting was used the reverse was true. The exit polls had Obama ahead with a firm lead in a majority of precincts yet where, and only where, electronic voting machines were used they were supposedly wrong. It had been reported that votes for Paul were never counted in some precincts and that he actually had votes thrown out. As one family was reported saying their whole family voted for Ron Paul yet when the votes were added up it was reported Paul got Zero votes. Diebold voting machines also did Congressman Paul no favors last night – compared to hand counted ballots Giuliani gained just short of 0.5% from electronic voting whereas Paul lost over 2%, which was the difference between finishing 4th and 5th
    Also Boston.com reported
    Campaign volunteers for the Barack Obama and Ron Paul had been kicked out of precincts from Concord to Swanzey for not having the proper credentials, several unrelated sources have witnessed.

    In general elections it is standard practice to have poll workers sitting behind the registration table and scratching off names as people sign in. Periodically they take those lists and the campaign gets in contact with those who have voted yet.

    But, that is for general elections and everyone who does this a) has to live reasonably nearby (read: state residents) and b.) have letters from the state party to be an “observer”.

    Apparently many of these Obama and Paul observers did not have this letter. These same sources say that it is the Clinton campaign that has called foul

    New Hampshire Senate President Sylvia Larsen, a Concord Democrat who supports Hillary Clinton, said she saw the Obama observers.

    “I knew who they were and what they were doing,” Larsen said.

    Neither the Clinton nor Obama campaigns would comment.

  7. Klaus Hergeschimmer  January 9, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    Hillary will start strong arming the Democratic Leadership Council to fix it so she beats down any possibility of Obama trumping her any more just like the
    Democratic party conspired to kick Howard Dean out of the race when it interferd with its plans to have John Kerry to win the nomination. Democrappers are up to its same old tricks (Hey Seal, I just love that term you came up with -Democrappers!)

    The Democrappers Sh*t Stinks -and it is one heck of a WALLOPING STINKING STEAMER

  8. Klaus Hergeschimmer  January 9, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Hillary proves that this country is now in Sieg Heil Light Mode -It’s all over

  9. yarply  January 9, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Kent, If it is true it should NOT be removed.
    Like you said above,”Anti-semite” is an epithet often assigned to anyone who would dare criticize the Israeli government. I would also add AIPAC to that also. If people,, and I do not care of which race, gender or orientation they are,, want to further their agenda or write a story about it by using their race, gender, gender orientation, sexual preference or nationality as a tool to further their cause or agenda, then they should be big enough to take hits on that. It seems wrong to voice ones position and then just because someone disagrees with that position to label them. Of course I may question why the thread McCain & Clinton: The comeback duo has descended into a subject about Israel, but there may be good cause.

  10. ekaton  January 10, 2008 at 12:30 am

    Yes, I’ve gone off-topic again.
    I need to do better.

    – Kent Shaw

  11. Janet  January 10, 2008 at 11:32 am

    Sandra:

    Not internet rumors. I first saw this on Countdown MSNBC on TV, not Internet. A guy whose hame I wasn’t paying attention to did investigation going back 20 years and wrote an article on it. Saw actual pages from Paul’s old newsletters on TV. He referred to black people as animals. Although he is now claiming he didn’t all write the articles in HIS newsletters, he is not claiming they don’t exist. And the newsletter was put out by him. So one would think that any content had his stamp of approval.

  12. Sandra Price  January 9, 2008 at 7:09 am

    Same old, same old corruption. Of course women voted for Clinton as she never has threatened a prohibition of abortions. McCain’s win confuses me as I thought the voters in 2006 wanted the war to end. I can only hope this election will weed out the plans to scare the hell out of women, gays and terminally ill people.

    I do not think the GOP has a chance in hell of winning anything as the candidates ran on prohibitions. I’m sorry Obama didn’t win yesterday but possibly racism still lives in America. This is a generational problem and rational ideals have not been a part of our elections for many years.

    There is not a single Republican candidate who can beat Clinton. The GOP has fallen into a new party of threats. Maybe Bloomberg can come with something. I would never vote for any of the religious fools who are currently running. The voters do not know right from wrong and the corruption will continue.

  13. LurkingFromTheLeft  January 9, 2008 at 7:31 am

    I had to chuckle…

    …or was that cringe everytime I heard which women voted for HRC -

    …I was in every one of those demographics (age, marital status, income, no children) and I would NOT – NOT EVER – NEVER vote for her -

    …I just don’t get it -

    …then again, maybe I’m not meant to -

    LFTL

  14. Steve Horn  January 9, 2008 at 7:48 am

    heh – if they’re such a dynamic duo perhaps they should do to each other what they’re trying to do to the country – f*ck themselves.

  15. Steve Horn  January 9, 2008 at 7:46 am

    Great – won’t it be wonderful if we get to select between the lesser of two hawks, both beholden to big business and the military-industrial complex come November? With either of these ancient jackasses we’ll be stuck in Iraq for many, many years.

    Looks like the concept of change escapes the residents of New Hampshire. Hopefully the rest of the nation will vote smarter -

    Peace

    Steve

  16. bryan mcclellan  January 9, 2008 at 8:28 am

    Hilly’s got a new brassiere, and Johnny has the latest spandex jock,real support,RIGGED-UP real good,for the push to November.They’ve used the Dog and Horses ass show.What next to keep us tuned in?

  17. JerryG  January 9, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Wait just a minute!

    We’ve only had 2 primaries (excluding whatever that thing in Wyoming was) and to call Hillary’s victory a “comeback” is simply ridiculous.

    Now, if Hillary has mixed results in Michigan, South Carolina and Florida and then emerges as the clear front runner after super Tuesday then THAT would be a more credible “comeback” than what occured after just 2 primaries.

  18. JudyB  January 9, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    IMO a biased media has resulted in a Clinton/McCain win in New Hampshire. I have been saying for months that the media had chosen the candidates they were going to cram down our throats and the people of N.H., rebelled and shocked the living hell out of them. Has anyone heard Chris Matthews for the past year? He has sounded like a campaign manager for Obama, wrote McCain off 6 months ago,treated Edwards as a joke, and had only trash to say about Hillary and laughed about it…well, last night after McCain & Clinton won, the guy was flabbergasted & came damned close to swallowing his tongue. Neither McCAin or Clinton are my choice, but the free thinkers that went to the polls and voted yesterday, spoke loud and clear to the media’s political pundits showing they were not going bullied by a biased media as to whom they would vote for. JOLLY GOOD WAY TO GO N.H.!!!!

  19. AustinRanter  January 9, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    We Still Don’t Get It, Wow!

    We’ve become a nation that is filled in large numbers with those who are either constitutionally incapable of logic, reason, and critical thinking…or just politically and governmentally out of touch and/or blindsidedly gluttons for punishment.

    Where is Homer Simpson when we need him?

    In my lifetime there has been 12 presidents. I am cringing at the thought of the possibilites are for the 13th.

  20. Elmo  January 9, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    She “reinvented” herself. Same old same old. Do what it takes to get votes but don’t take a position and hold it. Feh!

  21. Sandra Price  January 9, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Gosh Austin, I too have lived through 12 presidents. Not too many good ones that I can see. I share your fears for number 13…..

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