Change was the big winner Thursday night as Democratic upstart Sen. Barack Obama and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee swept the Iowa presidential caucuses, but there was little time to celebrate as everyone headed to New Hampshire for next week's primary.
Voters told pollsters that changes in the status quo in Washington were foremost on their minds as they gathered for the traditional first test for presidential candidates.
Huckabee grabbed 34 percent of the vote, besting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 25 percent. Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson got 14 percent and Arizona Sen. John McCain, 13 percent.
For the Democrats, Obama, the Illinois senator, took 37 percent of the vote, a solid win over former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who with 30 percent of the vote just edged out New York Sen. Hillary Clinton for a second-place finish.
"We're coming out of Iowa like a house on fire. Momentum starts today. We're pumped," Huckabee told "Good Morning America" today.
On a wing and a prayer, and with little more than charm and a message, Huckabee, a former Baptist minister with humble roots, took a solid win.
For Huckabee, a man who polled in single digits just a few months ago, it was a stunning win. He beat out Romney, 34 percent to 25 percent.
"It's been an amazing journey and I think it started because the people are looking for real change," he told "GMA." "They want somebody who embodies what America really believes in which is hope and optimism."
"Wherever it ends," Huckabee told supporters Thursday night in Des Moines, Iowa, "it started here in Iowa. … Thank you and God bless you."
'David vs. Goliath'
Entrance polls show six in 10 voters were evangelicals, and they voted overwhelmingly for Huckabee. Some even formed a prayer circle for him Thursday night before the results were announced.
It was a "David vs. Goliath" victory as the multimillionaire Romney had outspent Huckabee by 15-1.
Romney congratulated Huckabee for his win, but said he was upbeat and would "keep battling all the way."
With but one caucus down, Huckabee's biggest competition could be from two candidates who hardly ever set foot in Iowa — McCain and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani who garnered just 4 percent of the vote.
Obama's win was equally stunning. He took the stage Thursday night to a roaring crowd of more than 3,000 supporters and with a hoarse, raspy voice yelled, "Thank you, Iowa."
The significance of the win for a man dogged with doubts about his experience was not lost on Obama.
"On this January night, at this defining moment in history, you have done what the cynics said we could not do," Obama told supporters before heading off to New Hampshire.
"They said this day would never come. They said our sights sere set too high," Obama told the crowd and quickly shifted gears looking to the next early state. "It really was a victory for the people of Iowa that I think it's a harbinger of what's going to happen around the country."
Edwards fresh from his strong showing in Iowa told New Hampshire supporters today that his campaign is galvanized after he edged past Clinton for a surprising second place finish. "We are Seabiscuit" he said a reference to the race horsing legend, and a new phrase suggested by his wife Elizabeth. Edwards referred to Obama and Clinton as "celebrity candidates" and reminded his supporters he is "the people's candidate."
It was a stunning defeat for Clinton, who is back on more familiar turf in New Hampshire this morning. As much as she talked up how much fun it was to get to know Iowa, she never really felt at home among the cornfields.
New Hampshire is more Clinton's style. She and Bill have old friends here. They know their way around its winding roads and quaint colonial towns.
The New York senator lands in New Hampshire with a weight on her shoulders. Will she be able to persuade voters here to do what Iowans did not? Will another loss in New Hampshire be fatal for her campaign? Or can they — as campaign officials continue to insist — win the nomination without the help of Iowa or New Hampshire if it comes down to that?
Trying to put a positive face on what was clearly not a good night, Clinton addressed supporters in a ballroom of the Fort Des Moines hotel Thursday night. As she entered, flanked by her husband and daughter, the crowd broke into a chant of "Hillary Hillary!"
"We're gonna take this enthusiasm and go right to New Hampshire!" Clinton yelled.
But just moments before Clinton's arrival, those supporters had been outside at the open bar, watching somberly as Barack Obama was projected the winner on big screen televisions. They nursed drinks and frowned.
Clinton tried to frame her loss in Iowa as a turning point for Democrats.
"This is a great night for Democrats," she said. "We have seen unprecedented turnout here in Iowa and that is good news because today we are sending a clear message that we are going to have change. And that change will be a Democratic president in the White House in 2009."
Democrats New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd tallied in single digits and both are expected to pull out of the race.
ABC's Jake Tapper, Kate Snow and Gary Langer contributed to this story.