"Remember I lost here," he added, referring to his New Hampshire loss to Paul Tsongas in 1992 . Hillary Clinton finished in third place in Iowa getting 30 percent of the vote. She was edged out of a second-place finish by former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards.
The former president stressed that early losses can be overcome. He then quickly listed off his other losses from memory: "South Dakota, Maine, Maryland, Colorado, before I ever won a state," he said.
He said his wife is in better position in New Hampshire then he was. "She's got a better profile here. They know more about her now than they did about me then. And I think she'll be fine. We just get out and go"
As much as she talked up how much fun it was to get to know Iowa, Hillary Clinton 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."
She congratulated rivals Obama and John Edwards and thanked the others in the field.
"Together we have presented the case for change and made it absolutely clear that America needs a new beginning," Clinton said, using one of the key lines from her closing argument in Iowa.
But Iowa voters chose Obama as the candidate who best represents change. And Clinton may need to find another argument.
Thursday night she argued that she is the candidate who is electable and who has the experience to be president.
"What is most important now is that as we go on with this contest that we keep focused on two issues, that we answer correctly the question that each of us has posed: how will we win in November 2008 and who will be the best president on day one? I am ready for that contest!"
As upbeat as Clinton tried to be, there was clearly disappointment among her staff and supporters.
One of the biggest disappointments was the number of women voters who did not stick with the only female candidate in the race, and voted for Obama instead.
Obama beat Clinton among women voters in Iowa — garnering 35 percent of the female vote to her 30 percent.