Observations from the First in the Nation Primary

Sitting in Betty’s kitchen in North Hampton, New Hampshire the day after the Iowa caucuses, it is clear from the conversations by local granite-staters that Marco Rubio may have come in third in terms of delegates, but he won last night’s contest in political communications.

By bursting onto the stage as soon as CNN declared the results, he was able to define the outcome of the Iowa caucuses as a victory before Ted Cruz, who was reported to be in a plane heading back to Des Moines.  Rubio basically declared victory while most of the politicos on the east coast (including the voters in next Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary) were still watching. He also branded himself as the most viable alternative to Cruz and Trump.

The talk at Betty’s over fried eggs, bacon and beans this morning was all about the young Senator from Florida who managed to do so well.  Had Cruz been the first one on the stage he might have been able to generate the buzz that he had come from behind to beat his arch rival Donald Trump. Unfortunately for him, by the time he reached the podium, most voters on the east coast had gone to bed with the impression that Rubio had won an upset. It is not unlike the ‘92 Democratic Primary where then Governor Clinton came in second and came out and declared himself the “Come Back Kid”. Most people still think he won that primary.

It remains to be seen if last night’s strong showing will translate into a victory for the Senator from Florida, but he certainly made the most of it by being the first candidate in front of the cameras to provide his analysis of what happened.

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