Thrilling. That's the best word to describe Senator Barack Obama's victory in North Carolina yesterday. The North Carolina win is precisely what Obama needed. The Senator from Illinois has stumbled repeatedly over the last month. Caren Bohan of Reuters wrote an insightful analysis of Obama's missteps during the past several weeks. The twin losses of Ohio and Pennsylvania, his increasing weariness and irritability on the campaign trail, and the rants of his narcissistic ex-pastor Jeremiah Wright all combined to stall his momentum, Bohan observed. But Obama campaigned vigorously for victory in North Carolina (which he won soundly) and Indiana (he came within 1 percentage point of victory there) and now the Senator seems to have his groove back. After his wife Michelle and his two daughters Malia (9) and Sasha (6) joined him on the campaign trail, the energetic and optimistic Obama -- in other words, the pre-Pennsylvania/pre-Ohio Obama, the pre-Reverend Wright imbroglio Obama -- seemed to burst back out of his cocoon. And what a great moment it was to see the Senator back in top form again.
Senator Clinton took the North Carolina loss in stride and chose to focus on her Indiana victory. It didn't help, though, to have Old Bubba (Bill) looming so large behind her during her pivotal campaign speech last night. The L.A. Times Campaign Blog put it best: "Bill's glum puss, standing there right behind her, competing for the eyes of every television viewer everywhere, throughout the candidate's remarks visibly contradicted virtually every hopeful, positive word she said. As a veteran and successful campaigner for himself, he could know better."
Senator Clinton is vowing to hang in there. Senator Obama has put the Reverend Wright mess and the campaign missteps behind him. My best guess is that this titanic battle will finally be resolved at the National Convention this summer. And who the hell knows or cares where Senator McCain is right now?
Stay tuned, Blog pals. American politics doesn't get any better than this.