Dean's post, and Mitt Romney's campaign, have been overtaken by events. McCain's the big winner tonight, if only because Romney failed to get off the mat. Huck also had an impressive showing. Tonight's results do not benefit Romney--no matter how his enthusiastic supporters in the blogosphere might try to spin it. There's really no way for Romney to challenge McCain down the stretch unless he pulls out a surprisingly strong win in California. And even if Romney does win big in California, he still faces an uphill fight because it's not a winner take all state. Huckabee's right, it's a two man race and Romney isn't in it. But Romney's right, too--Huck isn't electable, and he will not take the nomination. So it's a muddled result for the Republicans, but McCain's going to win. For the Dems, an even more muddled result. Hillary appears to have staunched the bleeding, and unless Obama cleans her clock in California, tonight will have been a good night for her. And the primary schedule has, I think, been a surprise success. It's highly entertaining and well suited to producing unexpected outcomes--all five candidates have already won two or more states tonight. If the schedule isn't a boon for party unity, it certainly makes for great theater. The greatest irony: for all the unpredictability of this new format, and for all the ups and downs of this race, a McCain-Clinton contest looks pretty likely after all. --Just as I'm writing this and more results are coming in, it's obvious McCain is looking even better as the night wears on. Despite earlier concerns, he's hammered Romney in Arizona, and now looks likely to take Missouri as well, making it a clean sweep of the winner take all states. It's over. More at Contentions from JPod and JRubin and also at the Corner.
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