Former President Clinton has become a central player in his wife's presidential campaign. Yet as Hillary Rodham Clinton seeks to build upon her New Hampshire comeback momentum, that role is evolving and coming under new scrutiny.
His recent sharp comments about chief rival Barack Obama, including accusing the Illinois senator of engaging in a "fairy tale" on Iraq, could alienate some Democratic voters. However his popularity among Democrats remains high, a blessing that could cut both ways.
The voters of New Hampshire and the caucus goers of Iowa have spoken and their verdict: Hillary is no longer inevitable. Obama is no longer anointed. And McCain is no longer dead.
Hillary Rodham Clinton rebounded in New Hampshire from a near-death experience, confounding the pollsters, pundits and over-caffeinated cable hosts by edging out the predicted winner, Barack Obama, 39 percent to 37 percent. John Edwards finished with a disappointing 17 percent.
The Iowa caucuses, followed now rapidly by New Hampshire and many other primaries, might have resulted in a leading presidential contender sewing up the nomination early. So far, that is not the case.
The Iowa victors, Republican Mike Huckabee and Democrat Barack Obama, have received intense nonstop coverage in the few days since the caucuses, but neither has vaulted into a commanding lead. The much-headlined "Obama surge" in attention and public enthusiasm did not prevent a New Hampshire victory by Hillary Rodham Clinton.
While everybody else is writing about the results of the New Hampshire primary, I can only follow my contrary nature and write about the forgotten man of American politics.
Because of a self-imposed Christmas truce, I have not written about him for several weeks. So much time has passed, I now find that I can barely remember his name. This strikes me as very good, although admittedly it could be a sign that my mind has closed down out of respect for my recent 60th birthday.
It's a different winner every day in the Republican presidential race.
Mike Huckabee took Iowa, John McCain won New Hampshire and Mitt Romney was second to both — but claimed victory in scarcely contested Wyoming.
Unpredictable from the outset, the most wide-open GOP nomination fight in half a century is becoming even more scrambled, a consequence of no natural successor to President Bush and a party searching for someone who appeals to economic, social and national security conservatives alike.
It was almost as if the candidates were running for president of two different countries. Exit polls showed that rather than reaffirming Iowa's results from five days earlier, New Hampshire voters had their own thoughts about the contenders and the issues.
Barack Obama didn't even have time to get used to being the front-runner before he was the underdog again.
Hillary Rodham Clinton's unanticipated victory Tuesday night in New Hampshire evened up the Democratic presidential campaign and turned it into a two-person race.
The two elections within five days was enough to give a candidate whiplash. But now the pace of voting slows a bit and gives the candidates time to fine tune their strategies for what promises to be the most intense and expensive race in history.
"We are in it for the long run," Clinton said in her victory speech.
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.
Democratic Presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton -- written off for dead by pundits, pollsters and even some in her own campaign -- pulled off the upset of the young campaign season in the New Hampshire Tuesday night..
With 65 percent of the vote counted, Clinton led Barack Obama 39 to 36 percent, giving her troubled candidacy a boost and confounding the experts who predicted a double-digit win by Obama. NBC news called Clinton the winner at 10:33 p.m.
Arizona Sen. John McCain, written off for dead last year in the GOP Presidential sweepstakes, pulled off an solid win in the New Hampshire primary, easily defeating former front runner Mitt Romney and Iowa winner Mike Huckabee.
The networks called the race for McCain within minutes of the polls closing. With more than 65 percent of the vote counted, McCain had 37 percent, Romney 31 percent and Huckabee was a distant third at 12 percent.
Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul battled for fourth place and non-factor Fred Dalton Thompson scored just over one percent.