The Expectations Game

Camp Hillary is sending the message that a third place Iowa win is really a first place win. Huh?

As the presidential candidates engage in furious pre-caucus spin, one of Sen. Hillary Clinton’s most prominent Iowa supporters said Wednesday that she’s already accomplished what she needs to in Iowa and can declare success even if she finishes in third place.

Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack told ABC News that Clinton has shown that she can appeal to a wide swath of Democrats, which is what she came to Iowa to do.

“She has done what she needed to do here,” Vilsack said shortly before a Clinton campaign event in Indianola. “When she started the process she was way behind — it’s now by all standards a competitive race.”

Asked if the order of finish matters, Vilsack deflected the question.

“She absolutely had to be competitive, and she’s accomplished that,” he said. “Obviously, everybody’s interested in winning, and I think we’re going to do well. It’s tight. There’s no question about that.”

If Hillary loses Iowa, what does it mean? While it might not mean much in the delegate count, it will mean a lot to her aura of inevitability. The national media will will effectively call January 3, 2008 as the official time of death of the Hillary Clinton for President campaign. It will be hard for the Clinton political machine to beat back the frenzy that will result.

2008 Election, Hillary Clinton, Iowa Caucus

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