On the GOP side, Sen. Fred Thompson announced that he would continue in the race, planting his flag in South Carolina which will hold its primary on January 19. Rep. Ron Paul, with just under 10 percent of the caucus votes, demonstrated a small but dedicated following. Like McCain, Paul is looking for a stronger performance in New Hampshire next week.
Thompson's showing matched the pre-caucus polling which had predicted a finish in the low-to-mid teens. It was not until late in the evening that Thompson appeared at a rally in downtown Des Moines to announce he would be going on.
The results in Iowa are no guarantee that Obama and Huckabee will be the eventual nominees. Neither got as much as 40% of the votes here last night meaning more than six-in-ten supported someone other than the winners.
Among Republicans, Rudy Giuliani barely dipped a toe into the Iowa snow so his 3% showing is not counted against him. However, Giuliani is currently polling at just 10% in New Hampshire so his "Wait-Until-Florida" strategy will be put to the test on January 29.
Romney has committed tens of millions of his personal fortune to this race and is the only candidate on the GOP side who can fight on every front, in every location, simultaneously. However, a loss next week in New Hampshire (despite an expected win in Michigan) may well inflict a fatal electoral wound.
For Hillary Clinton the New Hampshire primary has gone from an expected second notch in her gun to a must-win. Since the beginning of the campaign she has been hamstrung by a feeling among Democrats that she is such a divisive figure that she will not be able to win in November.
John Edwards' second place finish last night may, in fact, prove to be the boost he needs to generate additional revenue from Democrats who don't like Hillary and don't believe Obama is ready to be President.
Once again, Iowa may not show us who will be President. But has clearly shown who will not be.
See you in New Hampshire!
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