Friday, January 04, 2008


The Iowa Story

1) An historic achievement: On the macro level, Sen. Barack Obama, a black American won the state of Iowa in convincing fashion -- eight point over a guy who came in second four years ago and had practically moved into the state in the interim. Then, on the micro-level, he gave former first lady, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, her first electoral defeat -- and the first defeat for the vaunted Clinton political machine since Bill's first gubernatorial re-election in 1980. And lest anyone forget, the man can give a helluva speech:

2) Mike Huckabee defeated the Republican candidate who spent the most and had the largest political machine.

3) As Dick Polman noted Thursday, only one person has won Iowa outright and gone onto win the presidency the same year -- George W. Bush in 2000.

4) George H.W. Bush came in third in Iowa in 1988 -- and went on to become the eventual nominee and then won the White House.

5) John McCain's de facto tie for third place with Fred Thompson sets him up well to deliver a near-fatal blow to Mitt Romney on Tuesday.

6) At the Democratic Party event I attended, several people identified McCain as the person they were most nervous about facing in November.

7) Ron Paul crushed Rudy Giuliani -- more than doubling the former mayor's votes. The Texan has a few millions to spend over the weekend in New Hampshire and may produce a few more surprises before this primary season is over.

8) Hillary Rodham Clinton isn't dead yet. She is still the likely Democratic nominee. The question is whether can she recalibrate her campaign in the way other front-runners have done following early setbacks. She faces a major challenge, however: Is she prepared to put her husband, the former president and his administration, on the sidelines -- and make a case for herself on her own merits? Elections are ultimately about the future -- not the past, regardless of how well that moment might be fondly remembered by some partisans.

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