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A novel thought: Let the other states vote

This was a stunning comeback victory for Hillary Clinton. Just before the New Hampshire primary, several polls showed she was down by double digits.

Wait a second. Wasn't Clinton supposed to win really big here just a few weeks ago? That is, before the Iowa caucuses? So has she demonstrated her resilience by not just beating the expectations of Sunday and Monday but winning the New Hampshire primary outright? Or has she fallen short of the expectations of a few weeks back? Here's a novel thought. Let's take a deep breath -- and let other states have their turn.

These results should winnow the field, not decide it.

Barack Obama has won a remarkable victory in Iowa, showing an impressive appeal. Hillary Clinton has bounced back in New Hampshire, defying widespread assumptions that she was headed for a loss. The talk of Clinton's supposed collapse has proved every bit as wide of the mark as previous chatter about her inevitability.

Here's further heresy: I don't think his third-place showing should spell the end of John Edwards' campaign. It's silly to let two small, demographically unrepresentative states drive a know-it-all media frenzy. After all, we have several contests left before we get to the de facto national primary Feb. 5.

Now, on the Republican side, the story is a little different because this is Mitt Romney's back yard. It's a bad sign for him that those who know him best returned to their old favorite, John McCain. There's a lesson here: Perhaps there's something to be said for sticking by your principles, rather than tailoring positions and rhetoric to the latest fashion.

Lehigh is a columnist for the Boston Globe. His e-mail address is lehigh@globe.com.

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