New York City mayor and Hillary Clinton supporter Bill de Blasio couldn't bring himself to declare Clinton the Iowa caucus victor during an interview on MSNBC in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.
Speaking with Rachel Maddow, de Blasio, the far-left populist who initially held off on an endorsement of Clinton, sounded diminished with the results showing a virtual tie between Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.).
“Did Hillary Clinton win tonight or didn't she?” Maddow asked.
“Well, look, the votes are still being counted, but this was a great, great Hillary Clinton campaign in this state,” he said. “I saw it. I was on the ground, knocking on doors, talking to voters, talking to activists. It was a really fabulous organization.
“Very strong. A great indicator of what this campaign is going to be like going forward. Look, the votes will be counted. We're on to other states, but I feel great about what the Clinton campaign has and a much stronger ground game than we saw eight years ago, and I think it makes a big difference.”
Maddow said earlier in MSNBC's coverage that it was already a “big victory” for Sanders to finish, at worst, extremely close behind Clinton in Iowa. The Clinton campaign “declared victory” there, but there was still no firm result past midnight.
In 2008, Clinton finished in a disappointing third-place in Iowa behind winner Barack Obama and runner-up John Edwards. While she rebounded to take the New Hampshire primary, Clinton ultimately lost the Democratic nomination bid to Obama, a first-term senator.