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Obama Draws a Crowd

By Joel Achenbach
CONCORD, N.H., 1:15 p.m.--This is the big Obama event of the day, and the gym at Concord High is packed to the rafters. Actually, now that I think about it, there is definitely some unused space up there in which I might set up the laptop and blog.

Noticeable uptick in journalistic celebrity: There's MoDo! Please, give me a bon mot, Mo.

And here's Bob Schieffer. I asked him for some sage analysis, and he produced. "It was one of the most exciting nights I can remember. [Obama's] running against one of the most famous people in the world, who's raised 100 million dollars. An African American running in a virtually all-white state. And he wins. I think he's the man to beat on the Democratic side...I'm beginning to think that Obama's for real."

I suggested that Iowa showed the power of personality in American politics. Sen. Clinton has never had personality as much of an asset. Obama's more likable. And look at Huckabee: Funny, quirky, doesn't take himself too seriously, hangs out with future SecDef Chuck Norris.

"I think the three most likable candidates are Obama, Huckabee and McCain," Schieffer said.

And every vote for Huckabee in Iowa might as well have been a vote for McCain, too, for its effect on Romney. Schieffer said that when he saw McCain yesterday afternoon he was walking on clouds. "He reminded me of the McCain of 2000."

If the gym gets any more packed we're going to squirt out onto Pleasant Street.

By Washington Post editors  |  January 4, 2008; 1:41 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Barack Obama , Joel's New Hampshire Diary , The Democrats  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Will N.H. Be Obama Territory, Too?
Next: Listening to the Next President?


P.S. if Joel (or anyone else) knows, did anyone LEAVE during Obama's speech?

Posted by: JakeD | January 8, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Regardless (unless you are only comparing STATE legislative experience), Hillary has more experience than Obama -- of course, both Biden and Dodd have more experience than Hillary, but they've dropped out -- I think it would be easier for for Obamaniacs to just admit that and move on to your other arguments about judgment (or "judgement" : )

Posted by: JakeD | January 8, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is the Sony 8 track, while Obama is Apple's iPhone.

Posted by: JohnMcCormick | January 6, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Earlier Hillary counted only her co-presidency with Bill as her experience which would give her 8 years. After losing Iowa, we now hear from her that she has changed the world for 35 years. Her resume gets rewritten for each interview (each state). We know what is going to happen in NH on Tuesday. She is going to flunk NH like she flunked her D.C. bar exam. She will have to rewrite her resume again after NH. Her new resume will include her baton twirling experience in preschool as well which will give her 68 years of changing the world.

Posted by: ChunkyMonkey1 | January 6, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Those Australians have figured out the problem and the solution for Hillary's campaign. The article heading says it all.

I do not want to repeat that heading here for fear that secret service will come knocking on my door, if I say it.

That article also has the following lines which I am going to quote here:

"No one can question Hillary Clinton's intelligence, her application, her will. She is perfectly qualified to be president. It is just that she has had her turn. If she was once co-president, then her eight-year constitutional limit has expired. While she was smart enough to have appointed herself the candidate for change by the time she reached New Hampshire, her credentials are really based on that Barbra Streisand song The Way We Were."

Posted by: TrevorMondale | January 6, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Obama's many comments about being against the war in Iraq and Senator Clinton voting for it -- Obama's first term in the U.S.Senate began on Jan. 3, 2005. On Friday, Oct. 11, 2002, Politics posted an article, (Senate approves Iraq war resolution; Administration applauds vote; In a major victory for the White House, the Senate early Friday voted 77-23 to authorize President Bush to attack Iraq if Saddam Hussein refuses to give up weapons of mass destruction as required by U.N. resolutions.) I don't know how many times I have heard Obama say he has always been against the war in Iraq and Senator Clinton voted for it. Maybe I missed it, but I have never heard him say that he wasn't a member of the U.S.Senate in 2002 when the vote was taken, but he would have voted against it if he were in the Senate at that time. However, my bet is if he had been a member of the Senate in 2002, he would have voted yes after listening to Colin Powell's presentation. Obama, too, would have been mislead as were so many others. I believe that many voters assume he voted no and don't realize he wasn't a U.S.Senator in 2002. Obama is being deceptive by omission, and only voters who do their research will find out for sure that he wasn't one of the 23 senators who voted against the war. Regarding the Iran resolution, he will be able to say he was against it and didn't vote for it. But this time he was a U.S.Senator when the vote was taken but didn't arrange to get back to Washington to cast his vote. Now he will be able to say that he didn't vote for the Iran resolution. If I were running for President and was as sure as he is that he will win, I would have found some way to get back to Washington for the Iran vote! Instead, he tells everyone that Hillary Clinton voted for it.

Posted by: mafox1 | January 5, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse


Pointing out the simple fact that Hillary has more experience than Obama is not "vile" -- check your dictionary if needed -- as for the way AMERICANS spell "judgment" I never said the way foreigners spell it "judgement" was wrong. What's up with the personal attacks? I dare you to find ONE "vile" post of mine. So much for the politics of hope.

Posted by: JakeD | January 5, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

If Hillary is using her years in the WH sleeping with Bill as the backbone of her experience, then there are several other women out there that probably have as much or more experience than she does.

Posted by: mrcalloway | January 5, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Obama soundly beat Hillary -- Right?
Not a contentious statement -- Right?

-- BUT --

Hillary came away from Iowa with 169 delegates compared to Obama's measly 66 delegates. Second place finisher Edwards only gathered a paltry 47 delegates.

In other words - Hillary kicked Obama's Ars.

The fix is in my NeoCom friends - The establishment has chosen their Queen and you have no meaningful input.

Posted by: PattiORiley | January 5, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse


First of all, let me point you in the direction of a dictionary:

Second, you have exposed yourself as being anti-Obama in all your other posts. I'm not surprised you got banned from Obama's site. Good.

Your post that you were "a registered Independent...considering voting for Obama", is pretty hilarious to those of us who have seen your other vile posts. You're very dishonest, and your defense of Hillary's inexperience is a transparent effort to try to stop Obama (the most electable) from being nominated.

Posted by: julieds | January 5, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Yay my candidate!

Grrrr to the rest!

I...oh, never mind. Apologies. I'm just not well-suited for these serious comments on serious political blogs like this one.

Maybe I'll try again later after I've held my breath long enough to see stars.
Or MoDo.


Posted by: -bc- | January 4, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Have to agree, Sen McCain is too old. He was pushing the limits in 2000, but he's just too old in 2008, no matter how you slice it.

Sen Obama is hitting the marks just right, and the race between him and the other fine Dem candidates will be interesting to watch!

Posted by: WillSeattle | January 4, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

No, boys4wonders, it was not a mistake -- I spoke directly with someone from Obama HG about it -- they would not allow my honest questions on their blog.

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

The Dems do not know how to pick winners. This is hilarious to me. I am a staunch progressive, so the thought of another Republican is awful, but I am so sick of this "white love-fest" over Obama. He is not going to win a national election. He is not going to be able to shift a southern or midwestern state. He got a handful of votes in Iowa, which by all statistical accounts does not mean much at all in terms of predicting the nomination. Yes -- I have read through the "I hate Hillary" posts on here, and it reminds me of the way Dean was treated in 04. The Republicans want Obama, which is why they are going after Hillary and portraying her negatively. They wanted Kerry, which is why they skewered Dean. Funny how Dems keep falling into this trap. Well, after so many decades of
Republican leadership you'd think they had learned a lesson -- but I am happy to see that things remain the same.

Posted by: darrren12000 | January 4, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

You were banned at his website? Hmmm ... that was probably a mistake because I just visited his site without any difficulty. Could you retry?

On a different note ... I think Obama's success confirms the belief in change and the possibilities of hope.

I like his part of the speech when he said "you didn't vote for me," you voted for ... the things you believe in(own words) etc.

Posted by: boys4wonders | January 4, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, JAMNEW, and I'm no Hillary Clinton supporter, but she does indeed have more EXECUTIVE experience -- probably on the level of a Chief of Staff or other high-level advisor -- than Obama (both in the State of Arkansas and in D.C.). Now you can complain about judgment (or "judgement" as most of the Obama fanatics spell it), but the experience argument definitely goes in her favor.

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

HRC has no more experience than Obama. She watched her husband be President for 8 years. I am sure they discussed policy, but that is a long way from making decisions as President. Her refusal to admit that her vote on the war was error shows an arrogant side that wouldn't be an asset as President.

Posted by: JAMNEW | January 4, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Wow, the WaPo channels PEOPLE and US.

Do we need more dumbly star-struck reportage (Panting for MoDo? Please, she's a DoDo) or faux wisdom from Bob Schieffer?

Posted by: LevRaphael | January 4, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse


I am a registered Independent, and I was considering voting for Obama, until I was banned at his web site. Why don't you think Huckabee can strike "the perfect balance" between new ideas and the economy, etc.? Have you reviewed his proposal to replace the Internal Revenue Code with the Fair Tax?

Posted by: JakeD | January 4, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the election is about personality, but no one's yet discussed what it is IN their personalities that make Obama, McCain and Huckabee so dynamic. The fact of the matter is, they're honest. They speak what they think, and while you might not agree with them, you know where you stand.

THIS is what makes a leader, which sits in stark contrast to the Clintons and Romneys, where every word is calculated, measured and you wonder if they even have an opinion about anything other than whether or not they want the power of the Presidency.

Give me Obama or McCain over Hillary or Romney any day of the week.

Posted by: BABucher | January 4, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

One Person's take on why OBAMA can & should be our next President:

I cast my first vote in 1980 (for Ronald Reagan). Since then I have worked 5 statewide elections (in Missouri), spent a year of my life in Iowa, and served as Missouri State Director of Elections as a Republican.

After half a lifetime of hands-on involvement in our political system I find myself I at the place where (in an inverse of the Gipper's great line), "I have not abandoned my party, my party has abandoned me."

As a father, a husband and the owner of a 10-year-old small business, Mr. Obama is striking the perfect balance between new ideas like Healthcare (I work 3 jobs and can only afford health care for my wife and son) and the economy (as every small business owner knows, we have moved beyond 'struggling' into near-panic regarding the slowdown in the economy).

I am excited by the prospect of a president that will REALLY investing in new energy - It is a national security issue. It is a jobs issue: new energy research and development offers the most promising post info-tech engine for creating high-paying, American-based jobs. It is a quality of life issue - a VERY important quality of life issue - since when is it a Christian value to rape the very environment the creator declared as "Good"?

Obam is the only candidate who gets IT - he is the only candidate who brings it all together under one banner, and doe so in a way that transcends the differences that separate us. Obama is an individual with the intellectual firepower, the internal resolve and the rubber-meets-the-road know-how to actually accomplish what needs to be done.

For my two year old son, for my own economic prosperity, and for my moral obligation to leave the world a better place - I want to encourage others to think outside the box and give Obama the support he is so clearly earning.

Posted by: w84gdo | January 4, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

The McCain need to realize that he really is a very old man. Perhaps too old to entrust to the Presidency. He lacks vigor. And Mr. Campaign Finance Reform himself is taking the most money from lobbyists of all the candidates in either party. McCain has really disappointed many of us. And he was so supportive of Bush. He has lost so much of his appeal.

Posted by: goldie2 | January 4, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

The message is rather clear. People in this country across ideological, generational, whatever categories you choose have come to recognize that this country is in very real trouble. And it is the 'experienced' folk that are leading us into this ditch. In the recent Congressional elections we voted for change and got the same ol' same old from people who are more beholden to monied (read corporate) interests and were totally unresponsive to the will of the people. Now Obama may not be either able or willing to deliver on his rhetoric, but at least he has enough sense to tell the right lies. I'll go with him, Ron Paul, ANYBODY who is serious about real, fundamental change as opposed to just rearranging the deck chairs, urinating in our faces and saying its raining. And that description fits Hilary and her husband to a 'T'.

Posted by: ifcole | January 4, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Mc Cain is the man to beat, in my opinion.
He is "LEADERSHIP" he comes from a great American Family, with roots deeply enbedded in our history. He is intelligent and a thinker. He has an incrediblely rich backgrouund as a POW and a vetern of our armed forces. He can lead in any situation and will always be an honest and forthright President.
I hope Obamma get the Democratic party away from Hillary, then McCain can beat Obamma in the Nov. election.
This country needs to move to the higher ground and put McCain in the White House so we can be respected in the world again.

Posted by: k.jarrell01 | January 4, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

It is a mistake to think that Bill Clinton or his wife won't be around to provide economic advice to Obama and his campaign when she loses the White House. I don't see why people are so foolish that that they believe that the economy is strictly driven by the president of the US and no one else...get it through your heads people...Obama has the judgement to listen to advisors and decide the correct path that this country should take to get out of this economic downturn and the various challenges that we will and do face. Hillary simply lacks the proper judgment to hold so much responsibility. And Bill's judgement isn't exactly the greatest either...NAFTA...Iraq...Iran...Iowa caucus

Posted by: tpicadman | January 4, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

UNBEATABLE....exactly what this country needs.

Posted by: st8dflow | January 4, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush, Clinton - Nah. I've had enough of same old same old. Go New Hampshire. Vote for Obama.

Posted by: ghchuck | January 4, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

When will Democrats get it? We have to run someone who can win!! That isn't HRC. For God's sake, she has a 50% negative nationwide rating. Obama proved that he can pull Indie voters, young voters and educated voters. My worse nightmare is that we run HRC and they run the Huckster and we wind up with 4 more years of ignorance built on fundamentalism. Please, for once, go for a winner.

Posted by: msdillo | January 4, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"Iowa showed the power of personality in American politics. Sen. Clinton has never had personality as much of an asset. Obama's more likable. And look at Huckabee: Funny, quirky, doesn't take himself too seriously, hangs out with future SecDef Chuck Norris."

Obama and Huckabee are the Morning in America guys, the ones who believe that our best years as a nation lie ahead, not behind.

Posted by: FirstMouse | January 4, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

So, its all about 'personality'?

Really: I thought it was about getting out of Iraq. I thought it was about affordable health care. I thought it was about taking on the corrupt axis of cash, media consolidation, and lazy political stenographers who pass as reporters.

Maybe I'm stupid, or maybe Joel Achenbach is a symptom of the overall problem.

I guess we can each do our thing: I'm going to fight for political leadership that can actually make a difference; and Achenbach can explain how it's all about 'personality'.

Its still a free country.

Posted by: al75 | January 4, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

MoDo was in Iowa as well - I'm bracing for another nasty piece of work from her on Sunday.

Posted by: cmss1 | January 4, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like you're having a grand old time! Make sure and tell us what you had for lunch. I hope you've been practicing your stenographic skills, because we want to see just how much Obama's current speech lines up with all his past speeches. And, of course, whatever you do, don't ask any questions about those huge, glaring gaps in his policies.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | January 4, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

We are in the process of selecting a president here,not watching some pop movie star. This is serioud business.The up coming disastrous economic condition can put us all out of work as in the 1929 period. Obama just don't have the experience to handle it. Only HRC can help us,she and her husband have done it before. It is the economy stupid, wake up.

Posted by: johnycheng1 | January 4, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

The McCain of 2008 is eight years older than the McCain of 2000 and no wiser. And since 2008 he has reversed his most important positions .. he wants to stay in Iraq, continue tax policies that favor the very rich, and he has a preoccupation with "the troops" that is already getting real old.

Remember Bob Dole? Feels the same.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | January 4, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

We are debating this over here as well and we agree on one thing. Americans are finally fed up with Washington and the White House. This is definitely a vote for change!

Posted by: old_europe | January 4, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

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