After the euphoria of Iowa, Hillary Clinton rained on what some hoped would be the Obama bandwagon by winning in New Hampshire. Taking a page from her husband’s rollercoaster 1992 political campaign, Hillary played the comeback kid this time, carried by the undecided female voters who were apparently touched by Mrs. Clinton’s open show of emotion during the days leading up to the primary. In near tears as she talked of her campaign travails and her vision for the presidency, an all too human Hillary was on view on the eve of the voting. She got 39% of the vote, as compared to Obama’s 36%.
As expected, Senator John McCain of Arizona carried the Republican side.
An obviosly relieved and gratified Mrs. Clinton, seeking to be the first woman U.S. President, was quoted in the New York Times as saying:
“I come tonight with a very, very full heart, and I want especially to thank New Hampshire. Over the last week, I listened to you, and in the process I found my own voice. I felt like we all spoke from our hearts, and I am so gratified you responded. Now together, let’s give America the kind of comeback that New Hampshire has just given me.”
A confident Mr. Obama still had fighting words, however, saying:
“We know the battle ahead will be long but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.”
Obama, projected as the anti-Bush and an agent of change, still has a lot of popular support and adequate funding, and is expected to go toe-to-toe with Hillary is what is predicted to be a historical fracas for the Democratic presidential nomination between two firsts, a black man and a woman.
Mitt Romney of neighboring Massachusetts, erstwhile Republican frontrunner, suffered another setback after losing Iowa and is now pinning his hopes on Michigan, where he grew up and where his father was once governor. If he loses there on January 15, the Republican race becomes a wide open free-for-all between McCain, Mike Huckabee and wildcards Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson.
My money is still on a Democrat U.S. president come next year.
Maureen Dowd has a funny,biting and insightful look into the Hillary near-tearfest in N.H.