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Obama's Stirring Speech in Iowa Could Close Gap

Obama found his voice Saturday night in Des Moines, Iowa at a dinner reception, where all the Democrat major candidates spoke for 20 minutes each, before a crowd of 9,000. I only have some press and anecdotal reviews, but there seems to be a consensus.

We just think he's a very strong character," Barbara Donnelly said. Obama's speech "crystallized it for me," Mike Donnelly said. "I like Hillary and Edwards. But there was something about Barack tonight. He was so forceful."

Randy Naber of Muscatine left the auditorium still committed to Edwards and fond of Clinton, but like others, he was impressed with Obama's performance. Obama, he said, "really surprised me tonight

Hillary's speech, apparently was much less impressive...It may not be fair, compared to Obama's 20 minutes, but I'm including 55 seconds of the highlight of Hillary's speech. That was all I could find from her performance.

But Hillary has a secret weapon, well not quite so secret; click on.

And the polls. It seems' Mrs Inevitability' has peaked for the moment, and for the first time is showing some significant slippage. A University of New Hampshire poll shows that in the granite state, Clinton's lead shrinks by 9 percentage points:

Dems: Clinton 35, Obama 21, Edwards 15, Richardson 10.

Lee adds: Obama O-Baby! Barack needed a home run and it looks like he did it.

Over the last week I've been surprised at the ineffectiveness of Hillary's campaign to take a friggin' clue and open up and counter Obama's assault with some friggin' honesty, but that just isn't happening for some reason.

Every additional point that Obama gains against Hillary closes the gap between them by 2. There's 14 points between them according to Steve's latest numbers, but all it'll take is 7 percent of the polling group to switch from Clinton to Obama and they'll be tied. Given Obama's momentum that seems to be a likelihood that could occur as quickly as within a matter of a week to 10 days.

Obama has to continue to carry through now and demonstrate the ability to not only stand up to Hillary and sound presidential; now he needs to demonstrate that he's in fact a great leader in addition to a great orator. In the past he's withered when his positions were attacked. He can no longer afford to do that. If he sinks under pressure again he's unlikely to surface -- he's got to make a stand here and now.

He'll receive plenty of criticism over his positions and he needs to be forceful and decisive and accurate in defending his positions. Oration will carry him far, but not all the way. He's got to be right in his position and convictions, and he's got to convince America that he's right - two related but totally different tasks. I hope he's up for it.

Prediction: If Obama can win Iowa and New Hampshire he'll be the next President of the United States.

That may seem far-fetched, but if he can score wins in both of those states he will pick up tremendous support among disenfranchised Republicans in the south who have been skeptical that Obama is electable. If he can do that it will win the election for him.

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Comments (3)

Steve Crickmore[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Yes, Hillary is going to have to throw away plan A, ("you know, from my 35 years experience that I will fight for you") which has gotten her to this point, but maybe no further, and begin to try to counter Obama's and Edward's charges that she is captive to lobbyists, and two, be more specific and three, less centrist. I think Obama is right. She can't be continually worried about what Rudy will say. Rudy is half-barking mad anyway.

Herman4747[TypeKey Profile Page]:

"Prediction: If Obama can win Iowa and New Hampshire he'll be the next President of the United States." - Lee

From the outset let me say that I prefer both Obama and Edwards to Clinton on the issues. But there is the matter of electability.

That said, what BATTLEGROUND (i.e., toss-up) states do you see Obama winning? Do you see him winning Florida, unlike another northerner, Kerry? Didn't Hillary's husband win Florida twice? Do you see him having to battle for New York against Rudy G., unlike Hillary who could take the state for granted? Remember: Rudy G. won the majority of votes in the most LIBERAL part of New York; it stands to reason that if he could do that again he would win the state. How about Obama in Ohio? Hillary skillfully can equivocate and avoid issues such as gay marriage ("mush" her position on these), but could Obama? Hillary would take Arkansas, would Obama? Missouri I give each candidate about an equal chance of taking the state against a Republican, how about you?

Perhaps Obama might have an edge in Colorado and Nevada, but in New Mexico I suspect that they have equal chances. What do you think?

Another issue to consider is: which candidate would have the stronger "coattail" effect (bringing new Democrats into Congress) Obama or Hillary? My speculation (pure speculation) is that it might be Hillary.

Well, just some points to consider.

Steve Crickmore[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Lee was focusing on the primaries. If Obama wins the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary he will have 'mo', but I still think Super Tuesday, when 20 states have their primaries on February 5, will be the critical test..If this slippage becomes a little deeper, Hillary may consider coming out of her bunker, or if the MSM media senses she is wounded badly, and starts attacking her, but this is still against her instincts and against the media's too, who don't like to critize someone who they think is a winning, even if they aren't given access.

Unfortunately for the beleaguered hacks covering Hillary Clinton, she remains the most reliable means of boosting ratings and selling papers in U.S. politics. And many of the strategists and reporters with whom I spoke were resigned to the idea that, in modern politics and the media, nice guys finish last.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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