Last Night’s Primary

1199804409Wow. That’s what I kept saying last night while watching the returns from New Hampshire. (Actually, I kept saying holy shit, but I was trying to keep it PG for the kids. Hi kids!)

As expected, Boston Daily’s boy, Mitt Romney, went down in flames last night, losing to Arizona Sen. John McCain. What wasn’t expected was Hilary Clinton “finding her voice,” defeating Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, and pulling off the biggest primary upset in a very long time — maybe ever. Heading into yesterday, there wasn’t a pundit in the country, myself included, who thought that Obama would lose. In fact, almost everyone was predicting a huge win. Now, not even 24 hours later, the Democratic nomination is up for grabs.

After the jump: A bad night for Romney, Obama, and the media, and an incredible evening for Hil.

First, the Mittster. Word out of the Romney campaign last night was that he and his hair plan on staying in the race — not just through Michigan, but indefinitely. Tagg and the rest of the clan must be thrilled. Because in order for dear old dad to fight the candidates who have won states that actually matter (we still love you, Wyoming), he’s going to have to spend more of his fortune, and the kids’ inheritance.

So what went wrong for Romney? How did he manage to screw up his campaign so thoroughly and become the first Massachusetts politician who wasn’t challenging a sitting president to lose a New Hampshire primary?

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi has a fantastic column today that explains everything. The short version: voters don’t connect with robots. (Later, we’ll have more on the Romney campaign/death march when Boston Daily’s own Amy Derjue reports from his Back Bay fundraising push this afternoon.)

Now, about the Dems. Holy shit. Wait, did I say that already? Well, sorry, but I don’t know how else to express my total shock about what happened last night.

As our favorite immigrant-hater Lou Dobbs notes, New Hampshire was not the media’s finest hour. Everyone from Chris Matthews to Bill O’Reilly got this one wrong. Not even the Clinton campaign was predicting that Hilary could pull this one out. Sure, her camp was transparent in it’s attempt to play the political game and lower expectations by saying they’d be happy if she only lost by single digits, but there’s no way they could have expected her to go from losing to winning. The aftermath has a lot of media outlets offering theories on how Clinton made history.

Meanwhile, Obama supporters everywhere woke up this morning and saw nothing but storm clouds. Not long ago, Gov. Deval Patrick went on MSNBC to talk about how his buddy lost last night. Like the rest of us, he struggled to explain what happened.

“It’s a great reminder that the polls don’t always tell us what we want to know, and that we have to stay committed,” Patrick said. “[Obama] is an agent for bringing change at a time when we’re all hungry for that, and we have to continue with that message.”

At this point, Obama has no other choice. Just two days ago, people were talking about the Dem nomination being all but locked up for Obama. Now, both the GOP and Democratic races are wide open, and figure to present us with some serious drama.

As my friend is fond of saying, it’s about to get real.