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.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!