Howard Fineman has a web item in Newsweek suggesting that, contrary to the buzz surrounding that Times Obama piece this weekend, there really isn't a sense of panic in the Obama camp, and that Obama doesn't feel like he has to make some game-changing move in tonight's debate.
For what it's worth, I spoke to a top Obama fundraiser earlier today who basically made the same point. This person told me that Obama's top money men split into two camps when they gathered in Des Moines three weeks ago for a meeting of the campaign's national finance committee. In one camp were the people relatively new to the world of high-powered fundraising, who seemed rattled by Obama's standing in the national polls and the media narrative about Obama stalling out. In the other camp were veterans of previous campaigns, many of them former Kerry fundraisers, who felt comfortable--even encouraged--by Obama's Iowa numbers and shared an overall sense that the campaign was on track. This person says most of the newbies left the three-day meeting feeling pretty reassured. An appearance by Obama himself had a particularly soothing effect. "By the time Barack got done speaking, everyone was going, 'Motherfucker, we're going to win this thing,'" says the fundraiser. This person says the same feeling more or less prevails today, notwithstanding the Times piece and the defection to Hillaryland of longtime Democratic fundraiser Bob Farmer (who, it should be noted, was not actually such a central player in Obama's fundraising operation).
As I said, for what it's worth...