“I think people out there are going to begin to make some judgments about us,” said Tom Brokaw on MSNBC. That was the understatement of the evening.
The former NBC anchor was referring to the media’sbotchedpredictions that Hillary Clinton was going down in flames to Barack Obama in the New Hampshire primary. It was a bit unsettling to see the various pundits and bloviators almost choke on the humble pie they were forced to chow down last night.
Brokaw opined earlier in the evening that a Clinton loss to Obama by five points or so would enable her to take on the “comeback kid” title. He later offered somewhat of an apology for joining the media stampede that “gets ahead of what the voters are deciding.”
Brokaw's mea culpa was better than the performace of CNN. The crew there used racism to explain Clinton’s “shocker” victory. CNN's talking heads mused that people in New Hampshire told pollsters they were going to vote for Obama but behaved differently once the curtain at the voting booth was closed.
They wrote off Obama’s smashing victory in nearly all-white Iowa because its caucus process is a public one, and nobody wants to appear to be a racist before their neighbors. That assessment is an insult to voters in the Granite State.
Hillary’s tears and new-found humility did the trick. The "repackaged" Hillary appeared after the pollsters left New Hampshire.
Look for the media to take a much more cautious stance when predicting outcomes in upcoming primaries. Their credibility is on the line.
Besides the media, John Edwards, who pulled in only 17 percent of the vote, was another loser in New Hampshire. He gamely stated that 48 states have yet to vote. Prediction: Edwards is goner. That’s too bad because he might be the best out of the whole Democratic bunch.
New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who edged Ron Paul by a single percent point with 8.6 percent of the Republican vote, had the best line of the evening.
The biggest star of the evening was Madeleine Albright. Bill Clinton’s former Secretary of State had the good grace not to plant herself behind Hillary as she gave her victory speech.
Note to much-relieved but still embattled campaign strategist Mark Penn: The next time you stack youngsters behind Clinton in a PR bid to neutralize Obama’s overwhelming support among the young, get kids who look like they enjoy being there.