The Christian soldier has marched through Iowa, declared a huge winner (9 points) over Romney. On to New Hampshire. Will he get a bounce from tonight? Undoubtedly.
The Democrats are split three ways, though Obama apparently will end with a comfortable 7-point margin, with Edwards just ahead of Clinton. The spin is everything of course. Are these relatively close totals a historic, tide-turning massive victory for Obama and the perceived mandate for change? Or is it just a wash, influenced by the peculiarly skewed nature of Iowa caucus politics, with a long road yet to travel? The commentators are prepared, clearly, to declare 37 percent a mandate for Obama. So on to New Hampshire, where another victory by an empowered Obama would indeed be a watershed.
The picture above is from a crowded watch party at the Clinton School. I judge from a lack of demonstration at the declaration of the Huckabee victory that his camp was watching elsewhere. Same for the news that Obama seemed to have established a clear lead for the night.
Perhaps Jay and John will elaborate.
Howard Dean notes that the Democratic turnout was enormous, maybe double that on the Republican side.
The puny Republican turnout (it took only 30,000 votes to make Mike Huckabee the most important Repub in America tonight) was 60 percent evangelical, 75 percent older than 45 and majority male, pollster says.
A spontaneous prayer circle broke out in the ballroom at the Des Moines Embassy Suites, where Huckabee supporters are congregating to watch the returns come in.
Rebekah Swicegood, a 22-year-old music teacher from Lowell, Ark., led the circle with seven friends, pontificating for approximately 20 minutes, beseeching the Lord to provide a victory for Huckabee, a Baptist minister before entering elected office.
Swicegood said, “We pray that you will lift Mike Huckabee up, Lord,” as part of a plan for the U.S. to “return to the God of our founding fathers.”
This would include ending abortion, and ending homosexuality. “When Rome got to the point of accepting sodomy, they fell,” Swicegood said.