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Plunked down on the couch tonight watching the New Hampshire Presidential Primary results like it was Super Bowl-with remote and pizza at the ready. Hillary Clinton's surprise victory confounding all the polls reminded me of Mike Rounds out of nowhere victory in the 2002 South Dakota Republican Gubernatorial Primary. In fact, in some ways, it was more amazing as at least Hillary Clinton was on the NH radar and Smilin' Mke was the asterisk in the Mark Barnett v. Steve Kirby Battle of the Titans. But I digress. I was watching my favorite news channel-MSNBC-but decided I must be from another planet. All the MSNBC pundits-to a man and woman, hated Republican John McCain's victory speech. In fact, they were laughing about how bad it was. Granted, McCain reads note cards like the grumpy 71 year old that he is. But I was LISTENING to what he said and I liked what I heard. He talked about actual sacrifice in time of war. Of Americans not really being all that different from each other. Of working together. Of admiring all the men and women-Republicans and Democrats-in the primary and their service to a cause. I came away thinking that if John McCain were elected, this bleeding heart liberal would be ok with it. I felt like a good and decent man-an actual adult as compared to the adolescent smirking frat boy we have in the White House-would be in charge of the USA. But what do I know? My grade? Delivery: C-; Content: B+ About an hour or two later (time has no meaning when you're zoned out on pizza and politics), Barack Obama gave his concession speech. Here, the MSNBC pundits and I agreed. It was a magnificent speech about hope and the inexorable arc of history toward liberty and justice. He evoked touches of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King. The refrain of "Yes we can!" echoed of the old spiritual, "We Shall Overcome." This is a speech school kids will study if my new man-crush gets elected. My grade? Delivery: A; Content A Then another hour later or so, Democratic winner Hillary Clinton spoke. Obviously the past week has been a meat grinder. She lost Iowa, got piled on in the debate, nearly cried, and was left for dead. Her victory is one of the great upsets in modern American politics, where nothing is

seemingly a surprise anymore. I detected a slightly softer Hillary, but her rhetoric was still very "I" and "me" oriented, particularly compared to the "we're all in this together" speeches of McCain and Obama. I also thought she was just a touch above McCain in the reading-my-speech department. She did have one exceedingly good line, however, "I came to New Hampshire to listen to you and found my own voice." Not bad. My grade? Delivery: B-; Content C, with a special commendation for the above line.

Todd D. Epp, South Dakota Watch, []

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Grading the new hampshire primary speeches.  

Republican Debate Tonight.