That evening's telecast was the first exposure many Americans had to Edwards, Dean, Clark, and the rest. Dean's rant was delivered to a roomful of people, when he should have been talking to the camera. And the *really* damning thing about that moment of ranting was that it came as they cut away from Edwards' speech. Edwards came out and seemed presidential, calmly thanking people and presenting his vision to a country that was, for the first time largely, listening to anything he had to say. Then CNN says "Oh wait, Dean, the frontrunner until tonight, is coming out." He stomped on Edwards' moment, cut off this person trying to get his message across, to give Americans a look at a crazed cheerleader screaming into the microphone.
Many of the undecided became poisoned against Dean in that moment, I fear. Americans looked at that room and one phrase came to mind: "cult of personality." We've got harder work ahead of us than we would have if he had not simply gone for the visceral rush that comes from being in a roomful of incredibly dedicated people cheering your name.
Also, someone said Edwards would be lucky to get third in NH. If Edwards gets third in NH, he will have won NH and Iowa both, beating expectations by a *mile*. Watch for him after that. Though the way things are looking right now, if he takes 3rd in NH, it will be at Clark's expense, and that'll make me happy, personally. Still, it's time to start worrying and finding things to do to to make sure Dean takes first place in NH.
I hope Dean finds his inner statesman when he wins NH, though.