By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The speeches

Two quick observations about Barack Obama’s speech. First, he was far more uplifting and forward-looking than either John Edwards or Hillary Clinton was able to manage. Second, you could actually see quite a few people under 50 in the room. My only reservation was that he gave it the full Obama, when something a little more conversational and television-friendly might have been called for.

Clinton was fine, though she seemed exhausted, reminding people “I am so ready to lead” whenever she couldn’t think of something to say. It’s got to be a difficult moment for her — the way the calendar has been set up, she could find herself swept out of this very quickly.

As for Edwards … well, I suspect you can always get 30 percent of Democrats to go along with an old-fashioned, populist, pro-union message. But you’ll never get much more than that. It was interesting that he invoked Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. They’ve been out of office for some time now, haven’t they?

Mike Huckabee gave a good speech, but I can’t imagine him playing well in New Hampshire. Pat Robertson gave everyone a scare in Iowa in 1988, but didn’t go any farther. What’s inexplicable is that Mitt Romney apparently timed his speech to coincide with Huckabee’s so that he wouldn’t be on television. How is that a good idea?

Romney finds himself in the same position as Clinton. If John McCain is able to play his mediocre finish in Iowa into something approaching momentum (and the media are going to help him do that, which you could see in the coverage tonight), he might win New Hampshire and end Romney’s candidacy. Just like that.

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  1. Real Anonymous

    Mitt is not in trouble in NH just because of the revived John McCain. Do not forget the real upstart on the Republican side, Ron Paul.RP got 10% of the vote in Iowa. 10%. That is absolutely an amazing feat for a man who had no money before mid-November and was continually called a kook.In NH, Ron Paul will get a good deal of the “live free or die” libertarian Republicans; so with the spilt in the Independents that will happen, John McCain will come out on top with RP having a really good showing. That will knock Mitt out of the race because there is no way he is going to win in SC. (Even though he might win in his home state of Michigan)So don’t forget the Ron Paul factor. In New Hampshire it can make a big difference.

  2. Sean Roche

    I think scheduling his speech to conflict with Huckabee’s was good tactics on Romney’s part. He’d just got handed an old-fashioned whooping in a state to which he committed tons of time and money. I can’t think of how he could have turned the moment into an opportunity. Only thing he faced was the downside of critical analysis.His first smart move in a while.Think it’s too late to re-cast himself as the smart, problem-solving non-idealogue?

  3. Suldog

    Of course, Ron Paul has already been dissed and shut out of the final debate. FOX is worried, I assume.(I don’t know who is deciding these things; whether it’s a “media consortium” or … ? In any case, it’s shameful.)

  4. endangered coffee

    Is it just me, or did Chris Matthews seem even more discombobulated and out of it than usual.My wife kept asking me if he had taken ill. It didn’t help that Keith Olbermann, who I don’t mind on Countdown, was also out of his league and kept looking at Matthews like he was some crazy old uncle who wouldn’t leave the dinner table after Christmas.

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