A reader writes:

Someone who's covered Obama since his Senate campaign recently told me that he suspects there's a conscious plan to make a big, late move that puts him over the top in Iowa and elsewhere.

That's what Obama did in his Senate campaign - a rope-a-dope, Seabiscuit strategy in a crowded field. Chicago people say this is how David Axelrod thinks campaigns work - you overpower everyone in the final round. I have real doubts about whether it will work in a national campaign. But it suggests that Obama's reluctance to go all-out right now isn't a failing but part of a larger plan. Consider his poll position leading up to Illinois' crowded 2004 Democratic primary:

Oct. 2003 - 9%
Jan. 2004 - 14%
Feb. 2004 - 15%
March 2004 - 33%
Election Day, Mar. 17 - 52%

True, one of his main Illinois opponents self-destructed in February. But that coincided with Obama's camp barraging TV with the cycle's slickest and most inspiring commercials, showing Obama claiming the mantle of Paul Simon. His opponents were better funded, better connected and had more backing from the Chicago Democratic machine. It came down to the last couples of weeks, but Obama spanked them.

It's a good bet that Hillary won't self-destruct. But it's also likely that Obama has some interesting tricks up his sleeve.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.