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Clinton takes Iowa, beating back Sanders’ strong challenge


    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke at a rally at Five Flags Center in Dubuque, Iowa on Friday.

DES MOINES, Iowa » Hillary Clinton narrowly won the Democratic caucuses in Iowa, outpacing a surprisingly strong challenge from Bernie Sanders to claim the first victory in the 2016 race for president.

The former secretary of state, senator from New York and first lady edged past the Vermont senator in a race the Iowa Democratic Party called the closest in its caucus history.

The Iowa Democratic Party said today that it would not do any recount of the close results. Sanders spokesman Ted Devine said his campaign does not have “any plan or intention” to challenge the results, citing Sanders comments from Monday that the race appears to have ended in “a virtual tie.”

Even a narrow victory for Clinton over an avowed socialist could complicate her quest for the nomination. But Clinton has deep ties throughout the party’s establishment and a strong following among a more diverse electorate that will play a larger role in primary contests beyond New Hampshire, where Sanders is favored.

Clinton, who entered the race as the heavily favored front-runner, was hoping to banish the possibility of dual losses in Iowa and in New Hampshire. Two straight defeats could set off alarms within the party and throw into question her ability to defeat a Republican.

Sanders, for his part, was hoping to replicate President Barack Obama’s pathway to the presidency by using a victory in Iowa to catapult his passion and ideals of “democratic socialism” deep into the primaries. He raised $20 million during January and hoped to turn an Iowa win into a fundraising bonanza.

Clinton, in New Hampshire today campaigning ahead of the state’s Feb. 9 primary, said she was “so proud I am coming to New Hampshire after winning Iowa” adding, “I’ve won and I’ve lost there and it’s a lot better to win.”

Clinton’s victory in Iowa means she will collect 23 delegates and Sen. Bernie Sanders will win 21. With her advantage in superdelegates — the party officials who can support the candidate of their choice — Clinton now has a total of 385 delegates. Sanders has 29.

It takes 2,382 delegates to win the Democratic nomination for president.

Portia Boulger, a 63-year-old who traveled to Iowa from Chillicothe, Ohio to support Sanders, declared a razor-thin outcome as good as a victory for Sanders.

“The political revolution is here and it’s started in Iowa,” she declared. “Win, lose or draw we have won.”

Caucus-goers were choosing between Clinton’s pledge to use her wealth of experience in government to bring about steady progress on democratic ideals and Sanders’ call for radical change in a system rigged against ordinary Americans.

“Hillary goes out and works with what we have to work with. She works across the aisle and gets things accomplished,” said 54-year-old John Grause, a precinct captain for Clinton in Nevada, Iowa.

“It’s going to be Bernie. Hillary is history. He hasn’t been bought,” countered 55-year-old Su Podraza-Nagle, 55, who was caucusing for Sanders in the same town.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, unable to turn it into a three-way race, ended his quest for the nomination.

Catherine Lucey, Ken Thomas and Lisa Lerer contributed to this report.

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  • Clinton’s fraction of a percentage over Sanders could hardly be qualified as “beating back” Sanders for a win. Funny how the AP frames Clinton’s win in the headlines this way. No bias here, eh? Rather frightening that Sanders being the avowed socialist that he is, garnered such much support.

      • 1848 called, Karl Marx cannot believe that there are still socialists, despite the epic failures in the Soviet Union, Cuba, and the rest of the totalitarian bloc.

        • cory,please provide a real example of a successful socialistic democracy, and, before you throw Scandinavian countries at us, do the research.

      • democrats vote for anyone dead people (patsy mink) – people who disregard government regulations (Clinton email server), government officials who mislead the public and do not protect Americans on American property (Benghazi – Clinton). Take American Jobs – NAFTA (Clinton was on the board of directors of Walmart)

      • Yuk. Yuk. Similar to Obama’s mockery when Romney raised the issue of the threat from Russia. Yet another instance of oblivious glibness by our president proven to be empty and dangerous given the Rise of Russian threats against NATO countries.

        Regarding fear of socialism, you should read up. Soviet Union, China, Venezuela, Britain’s nationalization of industries post WWII. And don’t give me the Sweden or Denmark lines Bernie uses, both of those stagnant states tax their citizens into state controlled oblivion.

        • According to, Sweden has a population of 9.6 million compared to the U.S. population of 319 million. That means the U.S. population is 33.2 times larger than that of Sweden.

          The same site shows that Sweden’s GDP is $571 billion compared to the U.S. GDP of $17.4 trillion. That means the U.S. GDP is 30.5 times larger than that of Sweden.

          So despite the U.S. having 33.2 times more people than Sweden, the U.S. is only 30.5 times more productive than Sweden. But nobody here actually cares about facts. You just want to live in some kind of sick and twisted fantasy world where if people aren’t “pulling themselves up by their bootstraps,” then they deserve to die in the streets.

          Good for you. Really, good for you.

        • And just for fun, Denmark’s population is 5.61 million, which makes the U.S. population 56.9 times larger than Denmark’s. As for GDP, Denmark is pulling $342 billion, which makes the U.S. GDP 50.9 times larger than Denkark’s. So, we have the U.S. only being 50.9 times more productive than Denmark despite having 56.9 times more people.

          My goodness. I can only imagine what a nightmarish and “stagnant” hellscape it must be like in Denmark. The horror!

        • Awww, that’s adorable. You tell me to do the research about Scandinavian socialist democracies, and I did, which pretty clearly proves you wrong about them being economically inferior to the United States, and so your only retort now is, “Well, go move there if it’s so great!”

          There’s more to a country than its economic prosperity. I don’t speak their languages, have no friends there, have no family there, have no work lined up, and have no real interest in experiencing sub-zero winters.

          See, this is the problem with people like you who treat capitalism like it’s some sort of religion. You act as though I’ve offended your God because I simply point out that socialism isn’t the Creature from the Black Lagoon. It’s an economic model that has shown success when paired together with capitalism and democracy in an intelligent and well-managed fashion. The world isn’t black and white. You can have socialism without communism and totalitarianism, and you can balance it with capitalism just fine.

          Would it really kill you to just say, “Hey, maybe the world might kind of be a better place if we just worked with each other instead of against each other”?

    • AP is so in the bag for the left wingers that I no longer read their releases. The headline, given past polling in Iowa, should have read, “Clinton Survives by a Whisker”.

  • This is NOT what I would cal a win……. A 00.02 percent lead.

    “After strong showing, Sanders declares he is in for ‘the long haul’
    Results from Iowa’s Democratic Party, announcing 100 percent of the precincts counted, gave Clinton a whisker-thin margin: 49.8 percent to Sanders’s 49.6 percent — setting up what is likely to become a prolonged nominating contest.”
    And this was from the Washington Post – a decidedly pro-Hillary paper.

    I would really like to know how many Iowans came out in favor of Ted Cruz, Trump and Rubio versus Clinton and Sanders.

  • Hillary did not take Iowa by beating back Sander’s strong challenge. She was given Iowa by the flips of a coin. Clinton and Sanders tied in six precincts which had odd numbers of delegates that could not be split evenly between the two. Under Iowa Democratic Party rules, such ties are decided by the flip of a coin. Miraculously, Clinton won all six coin tosses which gave her the victory. Ironically, the coin had engraved on it “In God We Trust,” something which most Democrats do not believe. You can bet Clinton is now a believer.

    • agree. I am ok with Hillary’s moderate and modest domestic agenda and yes, we are long overdue for a female president. That said, I deplore her foreign policy which is hawkish, will keep the UDSA at war forever and continue Bush-Obama’s endless failure called the war on terrorism. It is not working and never will. Kill one terrorist and you create 4 more. They love a predatory criminal enterprise hiding behind a facade of jihad. Naturally Hillary is a surrogate for Israeli and Saudi interests at the exense of American interests. Par for the course for both Democrats anbd Republicans.

  • Sander’s campaign manager said something interesting last night. When asked whether Sanders made a mistake in Iowa by not going after Hillary for her email problems and whether Sanders would make it an issue in New Hampshire, the campaign manager said Sanders stuck to the issues in Iowa, would do the same going forward, and would leave the email situation to the investigators or words to that effect. That suggests to me that Sanders is confident that the FBI investigation will find that Hillary violated the law by her mishandling of sensitive and classified material on an unsecured server and will recommend her prosecution. Thus, Sanders will take the high road and let the FBI and the Obama administration do the dirty work against Hillary. I do not believe the Obama administration will indict Hillary, but the FBI findings and recommendations will be enough to force Hillary out of the race with Sanders remaining as the sole Democratic candidate.

    • I would hope so, but Mitt R’s problem was that he didn’t go for the throat on Obama to expose ALL of his campaign promises–they were all lies and because of the R card the media didn’t expose them either.

  • The fact that Clinton has garnered and continues to gain as much support as she has proves that an incredibly large swath of America is incredibly stupid and will believe any lie they are fed.

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