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Congratulations on your big win, Sen. McCain!

January 15, 2008 |  8:24 pm

That's the news release that the Michigan Republican Party sent out this evening about the winner of the party's state primary election.

Moments after the last Michigan polls closed at 9 p.m. Eastern, the Associated Press called the winner. And the Republican Party responded quickly with a note of congratulations. "In a close-fought victory, Senator John McCain succeeded again (in) the Michigan Republican primary, winning over a traditionally unpredictable voter base in Michigan."

The problem, of course, is that McCain was not the Michigan primary's winner. The AP had actually declared Michigan native Mitt Romney as the winner, and the party had sent out the wrong prepared statement.

Five minutes later, the state GOP issued a new statement: "In a close-fought victory, native son Governor Mitt Romney won an important contest here tonight."

A party spokesman explained, "We simply pushed the wrong button."

-- Andrew Malcolm

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