Hillary Clinton "won" the Democratic Iowa caucus by the slimmest of margins Monday night, declaring victory before she'd actually won and getting some help from lucky coin tosses to edge socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.).
It was a virtual draw, to put it in the words of former Clinton employee and current ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos.
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The Clinton team did its best to put a brave face on the poor result, but the disappointment and body language told the story. It was bad enough that one Media Matters guy whined that the media wasn't focusing enough on the poor showings of Republicans Chris Christie and Jeb Bush in Iowa.
Spokesman Karen Finney repeatedly said on CNN that "we feel really good" about various parameters of the Clinton operation in Iowa, where the former secretary of state suffered an embarrassing loss in 2008. Asked by Fox News host Bill Hemmer whether Clinton should have crushed Sanders with her huge institutional advantages, Clinton flack Brad Woodhouse said, "Not at all," insisting Iowa was tailor-made for Sanders to succeed.
Clinton led there by more than 50 points a year ago.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio could only offer that Clinton's campaign had done a good job when asked by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow if Clinton was the winner in Iowa, and press man Brian Fallon said in a flat monotone that Clinton's supporters had shown a lot of "energy and enthusiasm." Campaign strategist Joel Benenson muttered something on CNN about how the measure of success in the caucuses is "very intricate."
Andrea Mitchell asked Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.) on Tuesday why Clinton had done so miserably among younger voters, but Shaheen replied, "That's not my take on it at all, Andrea."
Chris Matthews, who angered the Clintons by going full thrill-up-my-leg for Barack Obama in 2008, did his part to get back in her good graces, offering his congratulations during an interview on Tuesday.
"Unofficially, not on behalf of MSNBC or NBC, congratulations on last night and your much-deserved relief," he said.