Hillary Clinton's Celebration of Slim Iowa Win Leaves Some With Doubts

Can Clinton truly celebrate such a narrow win?

ByVeronica Stracqualursi and Liz Kreutz
February 02, 2016, 4:12 PM

— -- Even before the results of Monday night’s Iowa caucuses were made official, Hillary Clinton touched down in New Hampshire declaring victory.

"I am so thrilled that I am coming to New Hampshire after winning Iowa,” she said, fresh off a red-eye from Iowa, at a campaign rally in Nashua. “I've won and I lost there. And it's a lot better to win."

Her battle with Bernie Sanders was so close -- just two-tenths of 1 percent separated the two rivals -- that the Associated Press did not declare Clinton the winner until Tuesday afternoon.

However, the Clinton campaign released a statement early Tuesday morning saying “there is no uncertainty” she won Iowa. Her speech last night had all the appearances of a victory speech.

But was such a narrow win cause for celebration?

Long ago, Clinton seemed like the “anointed” candidate who had a relatively easy path to the Democratic nomination. But as Sanders picked up steam at boisterous campaign events and in the polls, Clinton and her campaign aides watched her own lead in the Iowa polls dwindle.

Despite how Team Clinton is casting Monday’s result, pundits are suggesting that her tight win in Iowa speaks to the success of Sanders.

This morning ABC News contributor and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile said on “Good Morning America” that “Hillary Clinton will probably get the most delegates, but Bernie Sanders has fuel to go forward.”

Republicans, meanwhile, were having a field day.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called Clinton’s performance in Iowa an “unmitigated disaster.”

“Hillary Clinton once again finds herself running neck and neck with an upstart challenger in a race that never should have been this close to begin with,” Priebus said in a statement. The committee also released a video titled, “Déjà Vu,” recalling Clinton’s troubles in the 2008 Democratic race.

For his part, Sanders said he sees his "virtual tie" in Iowa as a testament to how far his campaign has come against the Clinton machine.

“Nine months ago we had no political organization, we had no money, we had no name recognition and we were taking on the most powerful political organization in the country,” the Vermont senator told a cheering crowd in Des Moines on Monday night. “Tonight, while the results are still not known, it looks like we are in a virtual tie.”

His campaign characterized Sanders’ speech as close to a victory speech as possible: "Yes, from down by 47 percent to tonight? Yes,” spokesman Michael Briggs said last night, referring to the wide lead Clinton held in Iowa when Sanders first joined the race.

Clinton now begins campaigning in a state where she is behind. Sanders is holding on to a double-digital lead over Clinton in the Granite State, which holds its primary on Feb. 9.

With her slim win in Iowa, and a potential loss in New Hampshire on the horizon, Clinton’s path to the nomination may have gotten a bit rockier.

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