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.