CNN's political hosts Wolf Blitzer and John King did not mince words about Hillary Clinton's dismal showing in the Democratic New Hampshire primary, calling it a “shellacking” at the hands of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.).
With 82 percent of precincts reporting, Sanders had received 60 percent of the vote to Clinton's 38, mirroring polls anticipating a double-digit victory for the self-avowed Democratic socialist. The networks called the state for Sanders moments after the final polls closed.
“How did Bernie Sanders manage to really crush Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, a state she won eight years ago?” Blitzer asked.
“This is a shellacking or more. It's a total rout if you look at the state of New Hampshire,” King said, adding Sanders was “winning everywhere” in the state.
King said the state had sent Clinton a message after giving her a surprise victory in 2008, when she rallied to defeat Barack Obama and extend that primary battle.
The Clinton campaign trumpeted its squeaker victory over Sanders in Iowa over the past week, so King noted that a loss of this magnitude was amplified as a result.
“No mater how you try to spin it, if winning in Iowa by that much was a win, then losing New Hampshire by this much is a thump,” King said.
The defeat was so expected that Clinton's campaign drafted a three-page memo to its staff Tuesday night, which was then leaked to the media, outlining its national strategy and effectively conceding that victory in New Hampshire was not possible.