Hillary’s tear to victory

By January 10, 2008Article, Atlantic Eye

PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Jan. 10 (UPI) — Her defining moment is not really the tear she almost shed. The defining moment was her loss in Iowa. The show of emotion in New Hampshire was just a result of that metamorphosis. For many, Hillary went from being cold and calculated to being human.

She was never down and out — she was just taking a hiatus. And she roared back loudly.

Some other things happened along the way. Women and labor unions came back to Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire. In narrowly defeating Barack Obama 39 percent to 36 percent — with John Edwards taking 17 percent and Bill Richardson 5 percent — she won labor and women by more than 10 points, having lost them in Iowa. In larger cities she won handily, and her vaunted ground operation successfully squeezed out votes in close areas. But it was not only Hillary’s night.

Declared politically dead just six months ago, Sen. John McCain rescued his presidential campaign. He won not only independents in New Hampshire — as he did when he defeated Gov. George W. Bush in the 2000 primary — he also won the Republicans. Along the way he got a ringing endorsement from Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000. Mitt Romney collected 32 percent with Mike Huckabee, the Iowa caucus winner, taking 11 percent of the vote. The rest was Rudy Giuliani at 9 percent, Ron Paul at 8 percent and Fred Thompson registering 1 percent.

And what do Europe’s news media think?

Germany’s conservative-leaning daily die Welt headlines the morning paper with “McCain’s victory a slap-in-the-face to Bush.” The article goes on to say that 50 percent of the Republicans in New Hampshire are dissatisfied with Bush. It describes McCain’s victory as “a personal triumph brought about through sheer energy.” Hillary Clinton receives a sidebar with the headline, “Those proclaimed dead live longer,” and comment on Hillary’s “surprising win over Senator Obama.” A further article compares Clinton and Obama to two pop stars fighting it out.

In the United Kingdom, the Daily Telegraph headlines the New Hampshire primary with “Tears, polls and the Comeback-kids.” The article goes on to say that McCain has now become the Republican front-runner. It also has Terry McAuliffe, Clinton’s campaign chair, saying, “The tear played a role in the win because it showed people how passionate she is about the issues.” An article about Obama is titled, “The polls are not infallible” and continues, “Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear. We don’t learn do we? The polls can be wrong, especially in New Hampshire, with its high proportion of uncommitted, late-decision making voters.” The BBC says it simply with “Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican John McCain make comebacks.”

In France, the left-leaning Le Monde headlines “Hillary Clinton comes back to Democratic race,” adding, “the polls were wrong.” The right-leaning Le Figaro comments that, “Clinton creates a surprise in New Hampshire,” adding, “the favorite Barack Obama loses by 3 points to the former First Lady.” Another article states that McCain is “back from the dead.” It notes that Bush is in Israel, “but with no power to bring home the bacon.” Only in France!

The Czech conservative daily Lidove Noviny, the leading underground paper during communism, states, “Hillary stays in the fight for the White House.” It continues by commenting “that in an exceptional turnaround, Hillary Clinton conquers Barack Obama.” Mlada Fronta, the former Communist Youth League paper and now the Czech Republic’s largest centrist daily, headlines with, “the presidential candidate had tears in her eyes.” The left-leaning Pravo, once the main Communist Party newspaper, headlines with, “Karel Gott gets married in Las Vegas” — which about sums up what I think of them (Gott is the Czech Tom Jones). On the foreign-news page they write, “The shadow of capitulation fell on the Clinton team,” adding, “the Senator defied Obama in New Hampshire.” The Republican race gets less comment.

Austria’s left-leaning daily der Standard writes that “Clinton won just ahead of Obama” and that “third-place finisher John Edwards intends to fight on and stay in the race.” The Standard notes that the New Hampshire primary has often been a bellwether for who gets nominated and that Democrats Carter, Gore and Kerry and Republicans Ford, Reagan and Bush went on to become the eventual party nominees. The conservative die Presse headlines, “Comeback: Clinton wins New Hampshire,” noting that she intends to revamp her campaign strategy and some of her team. The article on McCain is simply titled, “Mac Attack.”

Switzerland’s well-respected Neue Zuercher Zeitung headlines with “Surprising Comeback for Hillary Clinton.” The editorial page headlines with, “The Oldest ones win.” The paper notes, “the horse-race notwithstanding, most U.S. citizens have yet to make up their minds who they are supporting.”

New Hampshire resurrected two candidacies for U.S. president.

In Europe, and even the world, the U.S. presidential race is being followed with great expectation.

Americans might remember this whomever they vote for.

(UPI Columnist Marc S. Ellenbogen is chairman of the Global Panel Foundation and president of the Prague Society. A venture capitalist with seats in Berlin and Prague, he is a member of the National Advisory Board of the U.S. Democratic Party and a vice chair of the Democratic Expat Leadership Council.)