Just before polls closed in New Hampshire, Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe played the expectations game, giving this interpretation of tonight's results. "We'll probably get a couple of winners. Someone's obviously going to win and get a big boost. Somebody's going to beat expectations, and whoever comes in third can make the argument that their campaign is alive and kicking," he told the AP. John Kerry is certainly the obvious winner McAuliffe was talking about. And after repairing his fall in the polls post-Iowa, Howard Dean beat a lot of expectations. "Looks like we'll finish a solid second, no better," Dean told reporters tonight as the results dribbled in.
So far, though, John Edwards and Wesley Clark are in a fierce battle to claim the "third but alive and kicking" mantle. With a third of votes counted, they have virtually identical numbers. Edwards has 8,353 votes, or 12.6 percent. Wesley Clark has 8,158 votes, or 12.3 percent.