Posted: January 9, 2008 12:12 AM
Obama Takes Second Place in N.H., Defying Pollsters
In a stunning turn of events that defied poll predictions, Sen. Barack Obama, finished a close second to Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., in New Hampshire Tuesday night.
In a speech to supporters after most news media outlets called the race in favor of Clinton, Obama had a message of perseverance and did not concede defeat.
“A few weeks ago, no one imagined that we’d have accomplished what we did here tonight in New Hampshire,” Obama said. “We always knew our climb would be steep … with your voices and your votes you made it clear that is this moment and this election there is something happening in America.”
But the song Obama walked out to spoke volumes about what the campaign had hoped for — Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” Tuesday’s primary turned out to be none of the above.
Going into Tuesday’s vote, Obama had little to complain about. He had momentum from Iowa behind him, the support of large enthusiastic crowds all across New Hampshire, and polls that put him with a solid lead over Sen. Clinton.
As Obama took the stage to make his speech Tuesday night, his supporters chanted his name
“We are ready to take this country in a fundamentally different direction … change is what’s happening in America,” Obama said, and the crowd responded with thundering chant of “we want change!”
The enthusiasm seen throughout New Hampshire fed the sense that momentum was with Obama Tuesday. And while the results were not expected, some, including Atlantic Monthly’s Andrew Sullivan, had warned that the euphoria of his campaign could not last.
“His job is to stay calm, cool and determined. And all of it is good training for the fall. What we’re seeing is if Obama can survive brutal attacks,” Sullivan wrote.
The importance of a what a New Hampshire win would have meant was summed up by Congressional Quarterly saying that “in competitive races over the past three and a half decades, every candidate who won both … went on to win this party’s nomination.”
Looking forward to upcoming primaries, the massive Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas is set to endorse Obama Wednesday, reported the New York Times today. The union is a coveted supporter for the Nevada primaries and has 60,000 members.
That news is sure to be a hard hit for Clinton, but not nearly as crushing as it could have been had she lost New Hampshire. She has had a solid lead in the Western state.