THE SPIN GAME
The suspense was over in seconds.
As soon as the South Carolina polls closed at 7 p.m., the networks declared John Edwards a comfortable winner in his home state.
But the real suspense was whether the prognosticators would portray the senator’s backyard boost as shaking up the race or just spitting in the face of the Kerry hurricane.
The answer was that they cast their votes, figuratively speaking, for Edwards as a growing political force.
Indeed. And that’s likely the correct spin, although Kerry is clearly the frontrunner. But, if anyone can knock Kerry off–other than Kerry himself–it’s up to Edwards at this point. But he’s already made a minor error:
Edwards … displayed some unfortunate timing. He wanted to come out early and declare victory, since he was the only winner in the only contest the networks had called. But he walked out at 7:58, just as the networks would be projecting results in the states whose polls would close at 8.
CNN, for example, missed the first part of Edwards’s remarks while forecasting Kerry wins in Missouri and Delaware, and a three-way tie in Oklahoma between Edwards, Clark and Kerry.
Kurtz’ colleague Terry Neal has a toast-o-meter style rundown of the Democratic contenders (with much less quality linkage, I’d note).