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Barack Obama and Dave Barry

Amanda's pictures of campaign trail 08 010.jpg

[Photo by Amanda Nooter]

[Cross-posted to the Trail]


The best sign of the campaign trail, probably not official, but stuck prominently in the snow outside of Exeter High School this morning:

experience in a world that no longer exists
change you can believe in

Has the world really changed over the past four days? Maybe it's a passing spasm, a case of overthinking the situation and overestimating the Iowa results and the trends in the polls. But if Obama's not leading a political movement, he's doing a pretty good impression of someone who is.

An Obama event is not a friendly place for cynics, skeptics, the permanently jaded, the chronically unimpressed. This is revival-tent stuff. The senator from Illinois used the metaphor of a religious conversion:

"I am going to try to be so persuasive, so that those of you who are still wavering...will suddenly come to the conclusion - a light beam will shine through - will light you up - and you will experience an epiphany - I have to vote for Barack!"

And then the pragmatist spoke: "When you do, we would love you to fill out one of these supporter cards to memorialize this moment."

He asked for a show of hands of those who are still undecided. A surprising number rose into the air - a couple of hundred people in a crowd well over a thousand.

"We are coming after you. You have fair warning."

Before his speech, one undecided local voter, Kim Orifici, who had briefly leaned toward Clinton, said she's now likely to vote for Obama. She didn't like it when Clinton last night went on the attack against Obama on health care. It seemed too much like a campaign tactic: "It made her look a little bit weaker," she said.

To which Joni Anthony, standing next to her, said, "She lost her cool, and he has a calm confidence."

Obama in his speech kept coming back to a phrase:

"If you believe...

"If you believe...

"If you believe..."

Tobey Harman, 59, an art teacher from Stratham who until today had been leaning toward Clinton, began weeping during Obama's speech. She was overcome when he mentioned John F. Kennedy and his goal of putting a man on the moon - it brought back memories of how she felt in another era. After the speech she managed to kiss Obama's hand.

"He really overwhelmed me," she said. "The whole thing about hope. It's hard to believe that anything will really change. But he says if you give up hope, forget it.

"You gotta have hope."

Paris pictures on campaign trail 180.jpg

[Photo by Paris Achenbach]



[I've temporarily run out of material, but fortunately Dave Barry, professional humorist, is here in the media section, and I'm just going to hand him my laptop.]

We're here in a gym in Derry, watching Barack Obama, who is for Change. I was for Change when I got here, but then I had to wait like two hours for Obama to arrive, so now I'm not so sure I'm for Change. Now I am more for Punctuality. Achenbach, on the other hand, is totally [DELETED DUE TO WILD MISCHARACTERIZATION OF REPORTER'S ATTITUDE] Obama. He has no [DELETED DUE TO RECKLESS OVERSTATEMENT] whatsoever about it. He wants to have [DELETED - HYPERBOLE] baby. I just thought you should know.

Here's something else you should know: There's a former New Hampshire congressman named [DELETED FOR REASONS OF TASTE]. This is a known fact: I confirmed it on the Internet, and reported it on my blog,. (And you know that if something has appeared on a blog, it is true.) So anyway, I recently got a tip that [DELETED] has a brother-in-law named [EXTRAORDINARLY COARSE JOKE THAT IS UNPUBLISHABLE EXCEPT IN A GENE WEINGARTEN COLUMN]. I can't figure out how to sneak this fact into my newspaper, the Miami Herald, so I'm slipping it into the Washington Post, which has lower standards.

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 6, 2008; 6:16 PM ET
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Next: At Joanne's Kitchen and Coffee Shoppe

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