What A Difference A Day Makes

Hillary Clinton is on Fox News Channel right now, talking with the Fox & Friends morning crew about her surprising victory yesterday in New Hampshire over Barack Obama. As a registered Republican who doesn't plan to vote for her, I have to say that she sounds good, and seems to be much warmer than we usually see her. When she's speaking in a normal tone of voice, rather than raising her voice to orate, she doesn't sound too annoying. She even sounds convincing when she talks about wanting to help other people. At the very least, she sounds like she believes it.

Senator Clinton has a lot to be happy about this morning. All of the polls said that Obama was probably going to win by a comfortable margin. Instead, Hillary won in a close contest, 39%-36% over Obama, with John Edwards finishing a distant third and Bill Richardson an also-ran. Yesterday, all of the news was that Hillary's campaign was in panic mode and that there would be a shake-up coming today, with veteran Democrat pit bulls James Carville and Paul Begala coming in with crash carts to slap the paddles on an arrhythmic campaign. Now, all of that talk is on hold. The reports of Hillary's demise seem to have been greatly exaggerated.

Why are the New Hampshire results so surprising, other than the fact that all of the polling had Obama in the lead? Well, the Granite State has an open primary, meaning that independents who are not registered as either Democrats or Republicans can still participate in the primaries. Indeed, members of either party are free to cross the aisle and vote in either primary. The independents were expected to break heavily for Obama, with an expected bandwagon effect after his Iowa victory. Everybody loves a winner, right? It appears, however, that the independents who voted for Obama weren't enough to offset whatever support Hillary had from the Democrat party base. And many of those independents might have thought that Obama's victory was a fait acccompli, since he was up so much in the polls, so they may have decided to vote for Republican John McCain instead.

Two things are certain after yesterday: People will take those polls with a grain of salt, and Hillary and Obama seem headed for a long, hard battle for the Democrat nomination. It should be entertaining.

After Hillary went off Fox News Channel, they had Madeleine Albright on. It appears that at least Hillary's campaign has overcome the Democrats' aversion to FNC. I know that many Democrats are suspicious of the network, since it doesn't have the liberal bias of other news networks like CNN and MSNBC. A few months back, the Democrats canceled a debate sponsored by FNC, mainly because of pressure from some extremist elements in the party. At this point, it looks like the Democrat candidates will take free news exposure where they can get it, even from networks with a more conservative viewpoint.