Thursday, January 03, 2008

Obama and Huckabee Win in Iowa

MSNBC is reporting that Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee are the winners in the Iowa caucuses.

Sen. Barack Obama, campaigning to be the first black president in American history, won the Iowa caucuses Thursday night, turning back rivals Hillary Clinton and John Edwards in the opening test of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee rode a wave of support from evangelical Christians to victory over Mitt Romney.

Obama, 46, and a first-term senator from Illinois, scored his victory on a message of change in Washngton. Nearly complete returns showed him gaining 37 percent support from Democratic caucus-goers. Edwards and Clinton were locked in a battle for second place with 30 percent each.

Clinton, a New York senator and former first lady bidding to become the first female president, called Obama and later congratulated him in a concession speech. Late Thursday, Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, said his result showed that voters are choosing change over the status quo, and he vowed a vigorous campaign into New Hampshire.

Among other Democrats, Sens. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, Joseph Biden of Delaware, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson got little to show for their effort. Dodd abandoned his campaign a few hours after the caucus ended, and it seemed possible the field would grow even smaller before New Hampshire votes on Tuesday.

Huckabee outspent in Iowa
Huckabee handily defeated Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, despite being outspent by tens of millions of dollars and deciding in the campaign's final days to scrap television commercials that would have assailed Romney.

Romney sought to frame his defeat as something less than that, saying he had trailed Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, by more than 20 points a few weeks ago. "I've been pleased that I've been able to make up ground, and I intend to keep making up ground, not just here but across the country," he said.

The words were brave, but already, his strategy of bankrolling a methodical campaign in hopes of winning the first two states was in tatters — and a rejuvenated Sen. John McCain of Arizona was tied in the polls in next-up New Hampshire.

In Iowa, McCain battled former Sen. Fred Thompson for third place, while Texas Rep. Ron Paul lagged behind. Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor, largely had abandoned the state in the campaign's final days.

McCain and Giuliani's campaign congratulated Huckabee but vowed to fight on.

Read the rest.

This is good news for Obama supporters. This win will help in fund-raising, and it shows that Hillary is beatable. The real test will be in New Hampshire. If Obama comes out ahead there, he will be well on his way to upsetting the Clinton juggernaut.

I'm sure the GOP is a bit uneasy with Huckabee winning. He is easily defeatable in the general election. But Iowa is a different state than the rest -- values voters hold much more power there than they will in New Hampshire, where McCain is looking strong.

It's going to be an interesting next few weeks.

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