Professor: Delegates back Clinton

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Whatever tears Hillary Clinton may have shed a few days ago were washed away by New Hampshire voters on Tuesday.

So much for the pollsters. So, what happened?


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Kenneth Heineman and Dr. Michael McTeague, professors at Ohio University, give their perspective on Tuesday’s action.

As New Hampshire voters, especially women, were heading to the polls, Heineman explained how a second loss for Clinton wouldn’t mean the end of her chances for the Democratic nomination.

Clinton already has about 60 percent of the super delegates —- the party faithful like Democratic governors and members of Congress, the establishment.

“If she can hold that, all she has to do is come say within 5 to 8 points of Obama,” Heineman said. “If she can keep coming in second and count on the super delegates, she can still stay on top and hope that Edwards will go on to her side. That will depend on the inducements.”

This morning Heineman sees Clinton’s win as slight momentum for the possible first woman president. But New Hampshire hasn’t dramatically altered the race. It is more of a psychological benefit within the party for Clinton.

“It is the cushion she needs,” Heineman said. “If she kept coming in second and still got the nomination (because of the super delegate count), it would cause hard feelings among Democrats.”

As far as any possible damage to Barack Obama, Heineman doesn’t think so.

“I don’t think he has lost any ground,” he said. “He can continue. He has an excellent organization. He needs to expand his base beyond the young people. Young voters, in general, do

not tend to participate. The older you are the more likely you are to vote.”

And as to John Edwards turning himself into an also ran for the second time, Heineman predicts Edwards will stay in the race just for the possibility of a role in a future administration.

“I think he is going to stay in. He can be a power broker,” Heineman said. “He can mediate between Hillary and Obama. When push comes to shove, I suspect Edwards will fall in behind Clinton. He might actually see Obama as a candidate of reform. It is hard to say what Obama’s attitude would be toward trial lawyers.”

Last night brought just as many surprises for the Republicans as the Democrats with the predicted victor

— Mitt Romney — coming in second again. Historically in the recent decades no Republican has lost both in Iowa and New Hampshire and gotten the nomination.

However, McTeague says the Romney loss in no way has knocked the former Massachusetts governor out of the race.

“He is spending tremendous amounts of money. He spent $25 million in advertising in the early states whereas McCain spent $4 million and Huckabee $3 million. He is outspending them and hasn’t won. The question is ‘how much money would you be willing to spend?’ ”

Yet McCain’s surprise win has given the senator a great boost.

“It allows him to go back in the pool to secure funds,” McTeague said. “He now has the same opportunity as Huckabee did when he bounced out of Iowa. He has the chance to go to other places and stay in the top three.

“I think the Republican race is one great big long track run with a number of players. I don’t think they will be any dropping out. The Republican race is long and still open. The Democrat is starting to narrow. The Republican is much more fluid.”