On a night of raucous caucusing in Iowa, Democrats rolled the dice and delivered a larger-than-expected, if not shocking, 8-point win for Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois. Obama won with nearly 38 percent of the vote, easily beating out former Sen. John Edwards and Sen. Hillary Clinton, who came in second and third respectively, with 30 and 29 percent of the vote.
U.S. News's Michael Barone explains some of the factors that may have underpinned Obama's dramatic victory yesterday and breaks down the significance of the underwhelming performances delivered by the Clinton and Edwards camps as they look toward New Hampshire and beyond.
After conceding defeat, Clinton immediately turned her attention to the "national campaign." One potential problem: the failure of female voters last night to deliver as expected.
On the Republican side, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee scored an easy victory over rival Mitt Romney, taking 34 percent of the state's vote compared with Romney's 25. CNN reports that Sen. John McCain and Fred Thompson are in a statistical tie for third place, each with 13 percent of the vote, with 95 percent of precincts reporting.
Romney, after vastly outspending Huckabee in Iowa last year, sought to blunt speculation from pundits that his campaign was in trouble and suffering from a marketing disaster. The AP reports: " 'This is still a nice, long process here,' he told about 150 campaign workers who defied frigid temperatures and the 3 a.m. hour to greet his plane as it returned from the Midwest. 'We've had, if you will, the first inning of a game that has, let's say, 50 innings in it.' "
In nonpolitical news:
* Roger Clemens continues to maintain that he has not taken performance-enhancing drugs, according to an early release of excerpts from a new interview that will air Sunday on CBS's 60 Minutes.
* The Writers Guild of America is sparring with NBC again, this time over Jay Leno's monologues since the return of the late-night comic to air two nights ago. The guild says that union rules forbid Leno from penning and delivering his own material during a strike.