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Spin patrol: The best and worst on Iowa results

Just watched several hours of CNN coverage of the Iowa results. I know I’m supposed to hate it all, but mostly pretty decent, methinks. I was looking for spin, from the candidates and their spokesters, plus the best and worst of the analysis.

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama
REUTERS/Keith Bedford
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama speaks to supporters after winning the Iowa caucus in Des Moines.

Good Friday morning, fellow seekers:

Just watched several hours of CNN coverage of the Iowa results. I know I’m supposed to hate it all, but mostly pretty decent, methinks. I was looking for spin, from the candidates and their spokesters, plus the best and worst of the analysis. Here are a few takeaways:

Most Amazing Fact: According to the entrance polls, Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton among women.

Second Most Amazing Fact: Total turnout was up about 100 percent.

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Most consistent pundit analysis point: Although he finished fourth, it was a great night for John McCain, because it damages Mitt Romney heading into their New Hampshire matchup Tuesday.

Good manners: In their concession speeches, Romney congratulated Mike Huckabee on his victory; Clinton congratulated Obama, but John Edwards did not congratulate Obama.

Toughest, most desperate sounding spin: Edwards, claiming that the results were a repudiation of Clinton (but not, of course, of himself, even though they were in a virtual tie) and turn the Dem side into a two-man race between himself and Obama over which one is the better agent of change.

On the pundit side, there were a lot more comments describing Edwards as having one foot in the political grave than felt that way about Clinton. One of my beliefs about Bill Clinton’s political survival is that he simply didn’t know how to quit. Only president since before Eisenhower to lose both Iowa and New Hampshire. Unlike Nixon on the eve of impeachment, Clinton didn’t quit. Don’t really know if this transfers to his wife, but it resonated with me when David Gergen said: “The Clintons are nothing if not resilient.”

On the other hand, by John King, referring to the challenge facing Sen. Clinton because of the compressed schedule: “It is hard to stop a bounce like he [Obama] will get from tonight in five short days.”

Gergen on the Repub race: “This scrambles the race. No one knows where this is going.” (I’m a sucker for people who admit they don’t know things.)

Please don’t try to brainwash me department: When Rudy Giuliani was interviewed, he sat in front of a background screen that said, over and over and over: “Tested. Ready. Now.” Show me, don’t tell me.

Second most desperate-sounding spin: Romney, while acknowledging Huckabee’s victory, congratulated himself for beating three household names: McCain, Giuliani, Fred Thompson.

Dumbest question not asked by Larry King: Wolf Blitzer asked Giuliani if he would be “rooting” for McCain in New Hampshire. Giuliani’s reply: “I’m rooting for myself.”

Funniest line (by Jack Cafferty, commenting on the historical nature of Obama winning Iowa): “Iowa’s the whitest place outside of the North Pole.”

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Dumbest analsysis point (although I will confess that others made similar points, presumably because they treat Clinton as if she was an incumbent president) spoken by Carl Bernstein: “It’s worse than just that she finished in third place. Seventy percent of Democrats in Iowa voted against Hillary Clinton.” (By that logic, Thursday was also a pretty bad night for Obama, because 62 percent of Democrats didn’t vote for him, and for Huckabee because … )