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Does The Obama Enthusiasm = Turnout?

Just caught an Obama rally this morning at a Des Moines high school, and Michelle Obama -- introducing Barack -- made the same grounded pitch, using the word "ordinary" several times and calling Barack a "decent" man, not the an adjective usually used to push him. I wondered yesterday if Michelle's stump speech made a strange foil to Barack's, since Barack's is so transformative and Michelle's stresses incremental change. Seeing them together today, their speeches actually feather together well because Barack's is essentially the reverse of Michelle's. After some heroic stuff, about 20 minutes in, he gets to her point: "It's not a lot that the American people are looking for." The pair makes for one-stop shopping: If you're more into this low-key, let's-make-everyone's-lives-just-a-little-bit-better message (probably more appealing to the elderly), you get that up front with Michelle; if you're more into the rousing, turn-Washington-upside-down message, you get that up front with Barack. But both include some of the rhetoric of the other.

One other point: When Barack asked, "How many people are definitely, undoubtedly, unequivocally caucusing on Thursday?", it got a pretty dim cheer, less enthusiastic than when he introduced his random Polk County organizing team. And he wasn't even asking if the crowd was caucusing for him. It's totally anecdotal, but in considering whether his enthusiasm among the young will produce actual caucus turnout, it's one data point.

--Eve Fairbanks