Operation Push
February 13, 2008

In 2002, Barack Obama was an unknown Illinois state senator with long-shot ambitions of moving from the political backwater of Springfield to the big-time of Washington, D.C. But, before he acted on those ambitions, he wanted to get the blessing of another young, black––and far more famous––Illinois politician, one whom he essentially hoped to leapfrog on his way to the U.S. Senate. And so, one morning that year, Obama had breakfast with U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr.

The Hillary-mccain Double-team?
February 13, 2008

How much aid might John McCain's increasingly tough shots at Obama offer Hillary?* She has already begun swiping him for being all rhetoric and no substance, and has a new ad up challenging Obama to talk more specifics in debates with her. And now McCain is pressing the very same themes. ("There's going to come a time when we're going to have to get into specifics.")  Indeed, Hillary and McCain are starting to sound fairly interchangeable on this topic. If nothing else, this might goad the press to start giving Obama a harder time.  *(And vice-versa?) --Michael Crowley

Obama's Best Speech Yet
February 12, 2008

It's been a week or so since I've heard Obama's stump speech, so maybe this is old news.  But -- wow -- he is really going after John McCain.  And he's doing a damn fine job of it. He started by honoring McCain's service, with all apparent sincerity, and then pivoted quickly to this line: "John McCain has the wrong priorities -- because they are bound to the policies of the past." He then promised "a clear choice," tying McCain to the Bush tax cuts and, in particular, the war in Iraq: "John McCain won't be able to say I ever supported this war in Iraq, because I opposed it from the start. Sena

Scenes From Today's Obama Rally In Maryland
February 11, 2008

A friend who attended e-mails: Just getting back from the Obama event at UMD. The crowd was the most impressive part. A police officer estimated the line to get into the building stretched over 2 miles. I waited 1 hour and 20 minutes to get into the basketball stadium, which felt like a concert and looked about 4/5ths full. I bet three out of four of the people headed to the rally were students. I spoke to a middle-aged African American woman who had come from Columbia, Maryland. We were in line together so we had a lot of time to chat.

Tnr Primary: Judith Shulevitz
February 06, 2008

In the newest issue of the magazine, fourteen eggheads and eminences wrote short essays announcing whom they'd be voting for and why. We'll be unveiling these responses on The Plank throughout the next two weeks. This is what Judith Shulevitz, a critic, had to say: My head says Obama, but my heart wants Clinton. I trust Hillary Clinton in my kishkes. I have the feeling I can count on her, the way I counted on a trustee in the town where I used to live.

Least Surprising Nyt Column Ever
February 04, 2008

From Paul Krugman today: But while it’s easy to see how the Clinton plan could end up being eviscerated, it’s hard to see how the hole in the Obama plan can be repaired. Why? Because Mr. Obama’s campaigning on the health care issue has sabotaged his own prospects. You see, the Obama campaign has demonized the idea of mandates — most recently in a scare-tactics mailer sent to voters that bears a striking resemblance to the “Harry and Louise” ads run by the insurance lobby in 1993, ads that helped undermine our last chance at getting universal health care. If Mr.

The Love-in In L.a.
January 31, 2008

Some post-debate thoughts: 1.) Much of tonight's affair was a draw. But, even during the draw portions, Obama sharpened his responses a lot relative to his recent debate performances. On health care, for example, my gut (and head) still say Hillary has the stronger position substantively.

Dean 2.0
January 30, 2008

What Barack Obama owes to people-powered Howard.

Headed Toward A Delegate Deadlock?
January 29, 2008

One of Andrew Sullivan's readers points out that despite Hillary's big lead in New York, she won't get anywhere near all the state's delegates: The point is this.

Tales About His Father
January 28, 2008

Maybe it's because I was watching the thing on a balky online video stream, but I wasn't that impressed by any of the speeches in the Obama-Kennedy event. Until, that is, Obama got to the end of his*, when he added this incredible coda to the already incredible story about his father: It’s about whether we’re going to seize this moment to write the next great American story. So someday we can tell our children that this was the time when we healed our nation. This was the time when we repaired our world.