the media blows another one

In scenes reminiscent of the 2000 election farce in Florida between George W Bush and Al Gore, news agencies and radio stations declared Mrs Clinton the victor and were then forced to retract.

But by then the former First Lady’s campaign in New York had issued a boastful press release emblazoned Hillary’s Big Night. In Kansas City, where her supporters gathered in a pizza restaurant to watch returns, they loudly proclaimed the symbolic importance of their “win”.

In the Waldo pizza restaurant in north Kansas City, her supporters cheered. Danny Rotert, 31, a Clinton volunteer and communications director for the black Kansas City Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, who backed her, said: “She has just edged it. We’re very happy and excited. Missouri is the bellwether state, a microcosm of America.

“We’re the geographic centre of America and the population centre of America. We have the same demographic mix as America as a whole. The reason that we are so successful at calling presidential candidates is because we look like America.”

But the better judge was Senator Claire McCaskill, an Obama supporter whose 2006 election victory was also won with a late surge in votes. “Where Barack Obama is doing so well in Missouri is where the Democrats live,” she said with a smile. “And in St Louis, those returns come in very late.”

By 12.52am, the Associated Press “un-called” the state. Mr Obama won by around 10,000 votes out of 820,000 cast, securing 49 per cent to Mrs Clinton’s 48 per cent.

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