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Terzian: The Obama Swoon

10:11 AM, Feb 6, 2008 • By PHILIP TERZIAN
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There is no question that Barack Obama did well yesterday, certainly better than a freshman senator of no great distinction had a right to expect. Obama may yet gain the Democratic presidential nomination; certainly the ingredients are there. But it should be noted that Super Tuesday was the culmination of an extraordinary few weeks in modern presidential politics, when the media seemed to have lost all bladder control in the face of the Obama phenomenon, featuring the New York Times and Washington Post running multiple daily breathless accounts of Barack and Michelle Obama sweeping the land, pulling in their irresistible wake untold multitudes of voters, young and old, led by Ted and Caroline Kennedy, and Oprah, with astonishing election eve polls suggesting the surge would leave Hillary Clinton 10, 15, perhaps 20 points behind, with Barack Obama paired in the pages of Newsweek with none other than John F. Kennedy.

And yet, once again, the tidal wave did not happen. As I say, Obama did respectably, and certainly has the momentum to keep the contest competitive. But the question for a press corps caught up in the hysteria is not whether Barack Obama's pious demeanor and stentorian voice are the balm for a nation in pain, but whether HRC is so weak and unappealing that a slickly packaged media creation can do as well as Obama has. Clearly, there is considerable ambivalence among Democratic primary voters about their two choices: They seem to welcome the opportunity to vote against Hillary Clinton, but are not
flocking to Barack Obama in unprecedented numbers. Why?