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January 09, 2008

The Greatest Upset Ever?
Posted by Michael Cohen

Ok, I was wrong, I'm the first to admit it. I thought Obama was going to crush tonight. And yet, even though I was proven horribly wrong, I think this was a great night for America. We're about to have a real national primary in this country; and it's about time! On both sides, the voters, not the pundits will decide. This is a long, long way from being over.

Now here comes a little self-serving justification for the wrongness of myself and every political prognosticator in America. I spent five days in New Hampshire. I talked to voters. I talked to reporters. I talked to campaign staff and volunteers. I talked to the ladies at the Dunkin' Donuts. And no one saw this coming. I don't even think Hillary's people saw this coming.

Moreover, it's not like the last five days were good to her. Obama was hitting on all cylinders (can anyone name a single mistake he's made since Iowa?); her campaign seemed desperate and was flailing; NH has a ton of independent voters, which based on the results in Iowa should have provided a big boost to Obama; tales of internal strife were everywhere and of course practically every national poll had Obama winning going away. If the signs of a miraculous comeback were there, they were damn well hidden.

I think it may take a day or two for this to sink one, but THIS IS THE SINGLE GREATEST UPSET IN AMERICAN POLITICAL HISTORY. Honestly, there is no precedent for this. This is more stunning then Truman in 1948. That race happened before overnight polling and  Dewey ran a terrible campaign down the stretch. In hindsight there were plenty of signs that Truman would win. In hindsight of the NH primary, I'm hard pressed to come up with the signs we all missed. Sure the debate might have mattered more then we think; Hillary's show of emotion might have helped soften her image, but other than those events there was no outward sign to explain how the polling could have been so wrong. In this race, every single indication pointed to one result on Tuesday night - and the opposite happened! If there is some historical antecedent to what happened tonight I can't think of it. It almost takes your breath away.


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I have been volunteering with the Obama campaign for months and am a NH resident. I was on the phones doing GOTV calls the day of the primary and spoke to a number of voters including supporters and believe there were 2 other factors that swung this for Clinton that are not being discussed. 1) the Clinton campaign sent out a mailer that hit NH residents Saturday and Monday before the primary that accused him of not being strong on a womens right to choose.

Here is a link and a snip below

By Jonathan Weisman and Alec MacGillis

Washington Post Staff Writers

Thursday, January 10, 2008; page A01

“…Another factor may have been Clinton campaign mailers sent out over the weekend hinting that Obama was less than committed to abortion rights. According to the flier, Obama was “unwilling to take a stand on choice,” a slam at “present” votes he registered as an Illinois state senator, first in 1997 on two measures that would have banned the procedure sometimes called partial-birth abortion, then in 2001 on two measures that would have required parental notification before a minor could receive an abortion.

The Illinois Planned Parenthood Council rose to Obama’s defense, saying Illinois lawmakers were encouraged to vote “present” on the bills in hopes that moderate Republicans would do the same, thereby defeating the measures.

“It was not only untrue, but I think it may have been a factor” in Obama’s defeat, said Rep. Paul W. Hodes (D-N.H.), an Obama supporter…”


The second factor was in my opinion, the media hype of his double digit po