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Hillary's Planting Problem Redux

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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STAY IN SCHOOL Hillary (Photo: Getty Images)

Still smarting from her third-place finish in Iowa, Hillary Clinton heads into New Hampshire having learned a valuable lesson: don't try to strong-arm a college kid.

Slate's Trailhead blog notes that a misstep in one undergrad-heavy district just may have cost Clinton the delegates she needed to procure that second-place tie with John Edwards. Writes Christopher Beam: "In the Grinnell Ward 1 caucus I attended, Hillary had 44 supporters. She needed 73 to be reach the 15 percent viability threshold. Had she been viable, she would have received at least six of the precinct's 37 delegates. In other words, had 30 more Grinnell residents turned out for Hillary and 30 less for Edwards, she would have tied John Edwards for second in the state."

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Grinnell is, of course, home to Grinnell College, an academic institution Clinton never bothered to visit (she was the only major Democratic candidate not to do so). Her decision to skip the campus wasn't exactly arbitrary: Clinton was busted last November for using a Grinnell student as an audience "plant" during an energy speech in Newton, Iowa.


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