While Tuesday’s Iowa caucus was notable for the historically close finish between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, as the night wore on, the narrative also morphed into how these late results were wreaking havoc on the media itself.
At one point, CNN’s James Carville said, “I’m trying to think about something that we haven’t talked about tonight.”
Huffington Post chief Arianna Huffington seemed to agree that no topic was left undiscussed, tweeting, “Hoping CNN will do in-depth analysis of why top 5 candidates have one-syllable first names.”
Later she added, “The big question for tonight: which network will win the Big Touch-Screen Map Arms Race?”
Yet the night wore on and the race remained surprisingly, thrillingly close. This prompted CNN, MSNBC and Fox News to adjust their coverage in response to the close race, keeping their caucus teams on-air rather than feeding into post-shows or other schedule programming.
Meanwhile, their correspondents – as well as those writing about the media – took to Twitter to express feelings of wondrous vexation.
“In need of Ratherisms for this: tighter than a new tube sock on a fat calf?,” NBC News' political director Chuck Todd tweeted.
While the New York Times' Brian Stelter joked: "Right after Romney finishes speaking, Santorum pulls ahead by 34 votes. That's equivalent to the # of ounces of coffee I've had today."
It was until just after 2:30 ET that Romney finally emerged as a winner, at which point everyone began to realize just how little sleep the night would bring.
CNN contributor and editor-in-chef of Red State, Erick Erickson: “Been up since 3:15 am yesterday and back on TV in 3 hours.”
Fox News’ Bret Baier, in response to a tweet asking how many hours of sleep he got, said “2 or so.”
CNN’s Candy Crowley, likely delirious from a night of non-stop coverage, even tweeted her first ever “shout out” to an airport.
Yet if the night ran long and the coverage was exhausting, that stood in sharp contrast to some recent marriages.
One-liners, courtesy of Fox News’ Ed Henry:
“Where's the guy in the truck — it's feeling like the vote counting is lasting longer than the @KimKardashian wedding …”
“At this point even Sinead O'Connor prob saying this is lasting too long …”
By Wednesay morning, even that joke was on Henry, as O'Connor tweeted: "guess who had a mad love making affair with her own husband last night?"