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News Outlets Vamp as Iowa Results Are No-Show

Broadcast nets planning special reports on the Iowa Caucus results got to stick with regular programming and cable outlets providing wall-to-wall coverage were having to scramble for snippets of info and vamp as Caucus organizers appeared to be having major problems with tabulating the results of the first Democratic preference poll of the presidential race. 

According to multiple nets, the Iowa Democratic Party said it was still doing quality control hours into a process where the rules of the caucus had changed and new data sets were supposed to be released for the first time. 

CNN was reporting that there appeared to be issues with a new app being used to record precinct results, as well as a backup hotline to call in the results. 

The party said it was validating inconsistencies in reporting of three sets of data and that the app had not been hacked or failed.

But while a precinct captain in Story County was on the phone talking with CNN's Wolf Blitzer about how he had been on hold for an hour trying to call in his results after the app did not work when he suddenly got through, but before he could stop talking to CNN and answer the voice on the other end, they hung up. 

Wolf Blitzer lamented to John King at about 12:20 a.m.: "We should be at the "magic wall," where King tracks the candidates' performance at ground level, "instead we got nothing."

Candidates were waiting to speak to their supporters when the results came in, then head to New Hampshire. At press time, Fox News was reporting that candidate Amy Klobuchar was going to speak anyway as the delay continued. 

She took the opportunity to thank her supporters, and said that while she does not know the results, she knows her campaign "is punching above our weight." She said she was heading overnight to New Hampshire, suggesting she was not waiting around for the final tally. 

Klobuchar's move appeared to be a good one, drawing live coverage on CNN, Fox and MSNBC, all looking for news to report out of a caucus without any other than the delay.

Fox's Juan Williams, a Democrat, called that reporting delay in this day and age "unbelievable." 

"Democracy in action in Iowa," said one WJLA-TV Washington local news anchor of the caucus in a story on the 11 p.m. news,  with 0% of precincts reporting--compared to 90% that reported at the same time four years ago--but it appeared to be more like "democracy inaction." 

At about half past the hour ET, candidate Joe Biden followed Klobuchar's lead to thank his supporters. He said the party was working to get the results straight and he would get his share of delegates, whatever that was, and in the meantime it was "on to New Hampshire."

Bernie Sanders followed suit about 15 minutes later, with Mayor Pete Buttigieg queued up behind him to get airtime. Sanders said he had a strong feeling that, eventually, the results would be announced and at that time he would do very well. He said the message that Iowa had sent the nation, which it had actually not yet sent, was that they wanted a candidate that represented all of them, not just the rich 1%.

Amidst cheerleader-like chants from wildly enthusiastic supporters, Buttigieg spoke as though there were some definitive answers out of Iowa, and that he would be the winner: "What a night," he said. "Tonight an improbable hope became an undeniable reality." He said that by the time all was said and done, Iowa will have "shocked the nation." By all indications he said would be going on to New Hampshire 'victorious." He thanked his competitors for a hard-fought race, but said Iowa had chosen "a new path."

CNN and MSNBC carrier his "victory" speech, while Fox went with pundit commentary about the delay instead. 

According to Fox and CNN, the campaign of Joe Biden, which did not look to be doing particularly well according to news reporting--rather than results reporting--wrote a letter to the Iowa Democratic Party expressing its displeasure with the delay and saying it wanted a chance to review the results when they were eventually tabulated, and before they were released.

Fox's Chris Wallace said he would take the "over" in betting on when the results would be released, speculating that the other campaigns would also want such an accounting before the results were released.

And elsewhere on the political wagering front, looking to capitalize on the delay, Predictit, which runs an online trading site for small dollar "trades" on the potential outcomes of political events, was emailing the news that Buttigieg was surging in its market, while Sanders remained in the lead among its traders.

Celebrating the Iowa Democrats' problems was Donald Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, who tweeted: