I haven't seen John McCain yet, and regret that I missed his press conference in Urbandale on the eve of the Iowa caucuses. McCain didn't spend much time in Iowa, but he's all over the place here in New Hampshire. Tomorrow, he is holding rallies in seven major New Hampshire cities, starting in Nashua and ending in Portsmouth. McCain must know the state so well by now that he tells the bus drivers where to turn and park.
So I went to see Hillary at the Nashua North High School where Barack Obama spoke yesterday. A German reporter I know who was at both events said that his crowd was bigger, though some said hers was bigger at the start. But here's what's not in dispute: Hers was much, much smaller at the end. By my estimate, at least 500 and maybe 600 people had left before she finished. Why?
When the final analysis of this Democratic primary is written, the story will be that a black man and white woman had a very similar, but not identical task: make their identity part of, but not the whole of the change they offered, and to sell that change by making it palatable to the country, or at least the not insignificant (and not necessarily racist or sexist) portion of the public that, rightly or wrongly, was wary of digesting that change.
And the outcome of that story will be this: Barack Obama was able to do it, but Hillary Clinton was not.
Isn't it amazing, as Harold hinted at below, that Obama is such a phenomenon at this point that you have Republicans complimenting him? Is it possible for one candidate to win two debates in a single night, even if he's only entered in one?
... I take an opportunity during one of the next tense exchanges and just say this:
I'll respond in a second, but I want to pause a moment to say something about Sen. Clinton. She was not only one of the most influential and important women in American history last century, but with her Senate career has been and will be remembered as one of the most important women in American and world history in the 21st century. And yes, she's smart and dedicated and experience and loves her party and her country.
I just think the politics of the moment call for something more. And I want to be the person who offers that something more.
Gracious, thoughtful, true as hell ... and the final nail in the coffin.