Democratic candidates find creative ways to declare some kind of victory as Iowa delays caucus results

Pete Buttigieg in Iowa
(Image credit: Tom Brenner/Getty Images)

We won't know the results of the Democratic Iowa caucuses until Tuesday morning at the earliest, Iowa's Democratic Party told the campaigns early Tuesday, but the presidential candidates still took the stage Monday night, casting "the unsatisfying delay in the most positive light possible for their campaigns," USA Today notes. "It's rare for candidates to speak without knowing the outcome of a contest, and the campaigns were all forced to rip up their victory and concession speeches" and wing it, often relying on versions of their stump speeches.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) embraced her underdog status: "We know there's delays, but we know one thing: We are punching above our weight."

Former Vice President Joe Biden wants answers, but he told his supporters "we're going to walk out of here with our share of delegates — we don't know exactly what it is yet, but we feel good about where we are." Look, he concluded, "so it's on to New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, and well beyond! We are in this for the long haul."

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who spoke at the same time as Biden, said the results are "too close to call, so I'm just going to tell you what I do know." "You won!" a guy yelled from the crowd, getting a laugh. "Tonight, as a party, we are one step closer to defeating the most corrupt president in American history," she said, and "in less than a year, our union will be stronger than ever when that one man is replaced by one very persistent woman."

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who led in the pre-caucus polls, started with some wry humor. "Let me just begin by stating that I imagine, have a strong feeling, that at some point, the results will be announced," he said. "And when those results are announced, I have a good feeling we're going to be doing very, very well here in Iowa."

Andrew Yang said his Yang Gang movement "is going to keep on going from here, it's going to keep on growing from here."

Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who spoke last, just went ahead and declared victory.

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"Tonight, an improbable hope became an undeniable reality," Buttigieg said. "We don't know all the results. But we know by the time it's all said and done, Iowa, you have shocked the nation. Because, by all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious."

Claiming the win when there's no information to contradict you is "a tried and true approach," tweeted columnist James Fallows. "Makes sense for everyone to declare victory now." Clearly, they have time.

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