Where Was Oprah? And Four Other Lessons From NH

Everyone is afraid to make ANY predictions now (including me), and that is probably a good thing. But there do seem to be some lessons from the past week's roller coaster ride.

1. Nobody likes inevitability; the "inevitable" nominee was punished in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

2. Everybody likes authencity; Hillary's passion and near-tears helped.

3. Democrats don't like ganging up or piling-on, especially against women; Edwards piling on Clinton brought out some sympathy, as did Obama's "you're like-able enough" attempt at humour. (Of course, the whole GOP field piled on against Romney, but he got no pity on that side of the aisle.)

4. Undecided people may behave VERY differently in a rowdy caucus environment (where the youthful energy of Obama's supporters was magnetic) than they behave in the quiet privacy of a voting booth.

5. Giving Oprah the week off was a big mistake, it turns out. Hillary was able to steal both the compassion vote and the women's vote in a short period - from Saturday through Tuesday - with no strong response from the Obama camp at all. Clinton brought out the big guns; Bill Clinton was blasting Obama with the memorable "fairy tale" line. Meanwhile, Obama's nuclear weapon, Oprah Winfrey, was probably thinking about what she would say at the inauguration ball. Big mistake, in hindsight.

The polls inevitably caused the Obama team to let down its guard; it seemed like big guns weren't needed in NH.

But nobody should ever underestimate the Clinton machine again.