On Thursday, Barack Obama swept to a stunning victory in the Iowa Democratic caucuses. Initially, Senator Obama (Ill.) had jumped to a double-digit lead in the polls over Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire two days ago, suggesting that there had been a large boost in support for Obama since he won the Iowa caucuses. However, in a dramatic turnaround on Tuesday night, Clinton narrowly defeated Obama in the New Hampshire primary by a margin of 39% to 36%.
Nevertheless, Obama pronounced himself “still fired up and ready to go” after the second-place finish in New Hampshire. “You know, a few weeks ago no one imagined that we’d have accomplished what we did here tonight in New Hampshire,” he told his supporters. “For most of this campaign, we were far behind. We always knew our climb would be steep. But, in record numbers, you came out and you spoke up for change. And with your voices and your votes you made it clear that at this moment in this election there is something happening in America.” He congratulated Clinton on a hard-fought victory and asked the crowd to give her a round of applause. “All the candidates in this race have good ideas and all are patriots who serve this country honorably,” Obama said.
Four years ago, when the ballots were cast in New Hampshire’s presidential primary, hardly anyone in the United States knew the name Barack Obama. This time, bidding to become the first African-American president, he was in the thick of a fight with the most famous name in Democratic politics. Obama had hoped that his victory in Iowa would create a bandwagon that would take him through to the nomination. But Tuesday night’s results caught his campaign off guard. That was hard to tell from the cheers that went up when he and his wife, Michelle, walked into the room to loud chants of “Obama, Obama.”
They approached the platform holding hands. Both applauded and waved to the crowd, then hugged and kissed briefly. “We know the battle ahead may be long. But always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change,” Obama said.
Now, on to South Carolina, where Obama is leading Clinton in the polls, 42% to 30%.
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