03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Clinton Camp Pre-Spins Possible Bad News In Iowa

As the presidential candidates engage in furious pre-caucus spin, one of Sen. Hillary Clinton's most prominent Iowa supporters said Wednesday that she's already accomplished what she needs to in Iowa, and can declare success even if she finishes in third place.

Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack told ABC News that Clinton has shown that she can appeal to a wide swath of Democrats, which is what she came to Iowa to do.

"She has done what she needed to do here," Vilsack said shortly before a Clinton campaign event in Indianola. "When she started the process she was way behind -- it's now by all standards a competitive race."

Asked if the order of finish matters, Vilsack deflected the question.

"She absolutely had to be competitive, and she's accomplished that," he said. "Obviously, everybody's interested in winning, and I think we're going to do well. It's tight. There's no question about that."

Vilsack's comments stand in marked contrast to optimistic predictions he has made in the past, including last May, when he endorsed Clinton's candidacy.

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