Clinton re-tools message following Iowa

January 4, 2008 4:01:07 PM PST
Illinois Senator Barack Obama is coming off a major victory in Iowa, but will voters in New Hampshire view him as favorably? And, what does it mean for John Edwards, who came in second? And how about Hillary Clinton, who came in third? Momentum is important, and right now Obama has it. While polls show Hillary Clinton still leading in New Hampshire, her third place finish in Iowa is leading to a slightly re-tooled message.

"This is especially about all of the young people in New Hampshire," said Sen. Hillary Clinton, (D) Presidential Candidate.

In New Hampshire Friday, Hillary Clinton declared herself the candidate for America's youth. She was not received that way in Iowa where Barak Obama won - in part - by soundly winning younger voters.

"He won the majority of women and voters under 30. If someone would've said that to me a year ago, I'd have said stop drinking," said Prof. Paul Green, Roosevelt University.

"I think increasingly Mrs. Clinton is beginning to look like a candidate who is not electable," said Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., (D) Illinois.

Clinton supporters disagree. Iowa may be first, but it is one state with ? arguably, a quirky system - and a third place finish doesn't mean you're unelectable.

"I don't think it wounds her. I think it makes her more focused. She's privy to the Bill Clinton playbook," said Delmarie Cobb, Clinton Delegate.

That's a reference to Bill Clinton's first go when he didn't work Iowa, finished second in New Hampshire, but still became a president. In 2008 though, there's a different dynamic among the candidates, and Barak Obama now carries important momentum into New Hampshire.

"If you give me the same chance that Iowa gave me last night, I truly believe I will be the president of the United States of America," said Sen. Barack Obama (D) Presidential Candidate.

Obama did very well among independents in Iowa, and hopes that will translate in similar fashion in New Hampshire where an independent voting block has always been a source of pride.

It puts great pressure on Clinton.

"If she loses in New Hampshire, it's likely all over, but she still has some big states where she has support," said Don Rose, political consultant.

Clinton has a strong campaign structure in New Hampshire and has spent a lot of money there, so the expectation is that she would do well next Tuesday. If she does not do well, questions about electability despite the support she has in some of the bigger states would be raised.