Quickie take on Obama's DNC speech: Pretty similar to his much talked about Jefferson-Jackson speech in Des Moines a few weeks ago, though maybe slightly shorter. I liked that version quite a bit, but I thought this one might have been delivered even better in spots. (Particularly the lines about not being afraid of losing if we want to win, and not putting polling ahead of principle.) On the other hand, the C-SPAN production quality is a little variable, and that could account for most of the differences here. --Noam Scheiber
I'll have more to say later on today's DNC speeches, but, for the moment, let me just note that John Edwards really poured his heart into his effort just now. That's one of the better, more impassioned speeches I've seen him give. Update: Here's the video of Edwards's speech. --Noam Scheiber
On November 19, I sat down with Barack Obama at <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Iowa Central Community College. (Go Tritons!) The senator had just finished a campaign event, and he spoke with remarkable candor about his mid-summer malaise, the challenges he faces in beating “the top brand in Democratic politics,” and how he’s not afraid to get dirty. <?xml:namespace prefix = o />TNR: There are all these people, journalists included, who want to see a legend being born. They expect you to give an historic speech nearly every night.
I'm coming to this late, and it'll probably cause me some grief among the commenters and other bloggers, but sometimes you just have to step back and admire Howard Wolfson's handiwork. Yesterday's excellent Adam Nagourney account of Rudy's withdrawal from the 2000 Senate race had this nugget: Much the same sentiment is voiced about Mr. Giuliani by Mrs. Clinton’s advisers. “I’m not going to dispute you on this: He seems like a more disciplined candidate now,” said Howard Wolfson, who worked as Mrs. Clinton’s communications director in 2000, where he frequently tangled with Mr.
John McIntyre over at Real Clear Politics makes a smart point about Romney, Huckabee, and Iowa: For the Romney campaign the silver lining in Huckabee's move into the first tier--and it is not an unimportant silver lining--is that Huckabee has totally shaken up the expectations for Iowa on the GOP side. Because of this resetting of expectations in December, if Romney is able to hold off Huckabee in Iowa it will be a huge win for his campaign.
The Des Moines Register has a good piece about yesterday's back and forth between Hillary and Obama on healthcare.
No presidential candidate inspires more anxiety in reporters than Barack Obama. This has nothing to do with any shortcoming on Obama’s part. He is, if anything, unfailingly charming in person--quick with a subversive crack, more at ease with the press than most of his rivals.The source of the problem is, rather, one of Obama’s greatest assets: his gifts as a speaker. If you’re on the Edwards or Giuliani beat, to say nothing of Clinton or Romney, you’d prefer to wake up on time and show up at the right place. But it would hardly be the end of the world if you didn’t.
Let's go one by one here: I thought Romney hit the right note on immigration, at least from the perspective of GOP voters. His response to Giuliani's accusation that he operated a "sanctuary mansion"--a reference to having illegal aliens do some work around his house--was persuasive. It does seem a bit much to suggest, as Rudy did, that you should be responsible for whether or not a contractor you hire might be employing illegal aliens--or, as Romney put it, that you should demand papers from anyone who looks a little different or speaks with an accent.
A question amid all this hoopla about Oprah coming to Iowa for Obama: How many Iowans actually watch "Oprah"? Is her show popular there? I suspect the answer to the latter is yes, given that Oprah appeals to middle America and Iowa is nothing if not middle America. (And, yes, that was probably a little condescension there. Unlike presidential candidates, opinion-magazine writers don't have to be particularly sensitive to that kind of thing.) The best data I've seen on this question comes from First Read, but even that's a little ambiguous.
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.