Fanning the Flames: The Freedom Project Blog


Comeback Kids

By Shawn Healy

John McCain rescued his campaign from the dead this past summer, winning the New Hampshire primary for a second time by a decisive margin over Mitt Romney. His fellow Senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton, pulled off a stunning comeback herself as polls suggested that rival Obama would win by as much as a double-digit margin, besting him in a race too-close-to-call for most of the evening.

I just returned from the John Edwards campaign headquarters, where the third place finisher promised to take his message to the remaining 48 states (see the photo posted above). Barack Obama is making his concession speech as I write, and his coronation is apparently at least temporarily derailed. Spin it as he may, Clinton is ahead in most of the states set to vote in the next month, and her status as the frontrunner was restored. New Hampshire was to serve as her firewall all along, and tonight, it served its purpose. Like her husband in 1992, she is the comeback kid!

McCain placed all of his marbles in the Granite State, and he turned back the clock to 2000 and hurdled to the front of the race for the GOP nomination. The campaign now shifts to Michigan, Romney's home state, but also a state claimed by McCain in 2000. Then, it's on to South Carolina, where the party's southern base makes its voice heard. Look for Huckabee to do well there, and for McCain, Romney, and Thompson to fight for win, show and place. Any of these candidates, with Giuliani also added to the mix, could claim the nomination. Michigan beckons.

As for the Democrats, they head next to Nevada for caucuses there on Jan. 19. One week later, South Carolina will prove as a pivotal test for the Dems too, with black voters forced to decide between nominating the first female or African American candidate for president. Native son John Edwards will also be in the mix.

In the end, the late polls released in New Hampshire proved fallible. Although mostly accurate on the GOP side, they erred badly in the Democratic column, and they have pies on their face, not to mention the pundits who prematurely crowned the upstart Obama. The intrigue of this 2008 contest only grows. So on to the Silver State, then the Palmetto State. Before long, Tsunami Tuesday lurks.

The message delivered by New Hampshire voters was "Stop the press!" Allow the American people to select their own candidates. Premature predictions and prognostications must await the word of the people.

I'll be back tomorrow with a wrap on New Hampshire on both this blog and in another podcast. Until then, goodnight from the Granite State. I leave you with footage from Ward 1 of Manchester where voters flocked to Brookside Congregational Church until the polls closed at 7pm.


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Managing Director

McCormick Freedom Project

Shawn is responsible for overseeing and managing the operations associated with the McCormick Freedom Project. Additionally, he serves as the in house content expert and voice of museum through public speaking and original scholarship. Before joining the Freedom Project, he taught American Government, Economics, American History, and Chicago History at Community High School in West Chicago, IL and Sheboygan North High School in Wisconsin.

Shawn is a doctoral candidate within the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he received his MA in Political Science. He is a 2001 James Madison Fellow from the State of Wisconsin and holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, History, and Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

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About Fanning the Flames and the McCormick Freedom Project

Fanning the Flames is a blog of the McCormick Freedom Project, which was started in 2006 by museum managing director Shawn Healy. The blog highlights the news of the day, in hopes of engaging readers in dialogue about freedom issues. Any views or opinions expressed on this blog represent those of the writers alone and do not represent an official opinion of the McCormick Freedom Project.

Founded in 2005, the McCormick Freedom Project is part of the McCormick Foundation. The Freedom Project’s mission is to enable informed and engaged participation in our democracy by demonstrating the relevance of the First Amendment and the role it plays in the ongoing struggle to define and defend freedom. The museum offers programs and resources for teachers, students, and the general public.

First Amendment journalism initiative

The Freedom Project recently launched a new reporting initiative with professional journalists Tim McNulty and Jamie Loo. The goal is to expand and promote the benefits of lifelong civic engagement among citizens of all ages, through original reporting, commentary and news aggregation on First Amendment and freedom issues. Please visit the McCormick Freedom Project's news Web site, The Post-Exchange at

Dave Anderson
Vice President of Civic Programs
McCormick Foundation

Tim McNulty
Senior Journalist
McCormick Freedom Project

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