The Iowa caucuses results didn’t come in until the wee hours of the morning, when tired political reporters were starting to get a bit loopy as they reported on the drama unfolding over a missing precinct.
Saving the day — or, technically, night— were two ladies from Clinton County, Iowa, called into service by “CNN After Dark” to confirm that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney had indeed won over former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum.
CNN’s John King and Wolf Blitzer asked a sleepy Edith Pfeffer, chairwoman of Clinton County's Republican Central Committee, for an accurate vote total for her precinct. Pfeffer told them: “Oh — I haven't. God, I added them up. I added them up a couple of times. Oh man.” It was 1:20 a.m.
Pfeffer explained that she had been asleep until friend and colleague Carolyn Tallet, president of the Clinton County Republican Women's Club, woke her. Tallet told Pfeffer that it was suspected that ballots from Clinton County had not been counted, and that these ballots could decide the winner.
Soon Tallet got on the phone call with King and Blitzer. King told the two women that their numbers didn’t match the numbers CNN received from the state.
“What do you mean, the numbers don’t match?” one of the women asked. The set erupted in laughter.
Votes in the second ward, second precinct in Clinton County gave Romney an eight-vote victory in the caucus over Santorum.
Online, slap-happy followers of the caucus results couldn’t talk about anything but Pfeffer and Tallet. #Edith became a trending topic on Twitter, along with #CNNAfterDark. CNN’s Anderson Cooper called Pfeffer and Tallet’s appearance the “best live phone call ever.”
The “CNN After Dark” folks soon came up with a new, sassy logo for the show, displaying it on air early Wednesday and playing a tune by Barry White.
“Oh my,” wrote Joneil Adriano, another producer for Cooper, when he woke up Wednesday morning. “So it wasn't a zany dream. #CNNAfterDark really did happen”
Below, listen to Pfeffer and Tallet share their votes, and watch the reaction of King and Blitzer: