Apologies for the light posting over the last two days. Mike and I are both wrapping up pieces for the next issue. (Me: Obama; Mike: Rudy).
I just wanted to add my two cents about that Obama "Nightline" appearance. I found him to be pretty winning overall, and, like Jason, I think he's homing in on an effective response to Clinton's experience argument. But, if he's going to get over the hump in Iowa, he may need tone down the ego a bit, and what seemed like a whiff of condescension. You've probably already seen his line about how "Every place is Barack Obama country once Barack Obama's been there." This response also stood out for me:
I think there's no doubt that the fact that my name is Barack Obama and that my father was from Kenya and that I grew up in Hawaii that there's that whole exotic aspect to me that people, I think, have to get past. But they also, surprisingly enough, even in rural Iowa, recognize the opportunity to send a signal to the world that, you know, we are not as ingrown, as parochial as you may perceive or as the Bush administration seems to have communicated, that we are, in fact, embracing the world, we are listening, we are concerned, we want to be engaged.
I suspect the "even in rural Iowa" part could stick in some people's craws.
Having said that, I spent a few days with Obama in Iowa just before Thanksgiving and didn't detect this kind of thing...
Update: Jacob Levy has an interesting take on the "rural Iowa" quote.