The new populist Obama is a lot like the old Obama, albeit with a drop of humility and self-awareness. Autobiography is destiny in politics. But for a man who has written about his life in great detail, he does not seem to enjoy the task of having to justify how his upbringing and family life fit into the typical Horatio Alger simulacrum that Mike Huckabee, for one, perfected on the trail. (I don’t blame him.)
Obama has rejiggered his stump speech a bit. A long paragraph about his mother and grandparents closed out his speech in Wilmington, North Carolina today, adding an eddy to the main current of his argument.
“Lately my opponents trying to make this election about me instead of about you, and they’ve been trying to say ‘well you know we don’t know him that well, we don’t know what he believes, we don’t know about his values’, despite the fact I wrote two books, it’s all there. What I believe, what I think, what my story is. Let me just close with a quick story about my family. I was raised by a single mom she had me when she was a teenager. She had me when I was a teenager and my father left when I was 2, so she raised me with my grandparents….”
And so on.
Earlier, Obama acknowledged that he hasn’t always been faithful to his pledge to avoid the games of what he calls the Old Politics, but he implies that the chokehold is too intense to escape.
“I noticed over the last several weeks, I told this to my team, you know we are starting to sound like other folks, starting to run the same negative stuff. And it shows that none of us are immune from this kind of politics. But the problem is that it doesn’t help you. Having politicians bickering back and forth doesn’t help you. Having them worry about superdelegates doesn’t help you. This election is not about me, its not about Sen. Clinton, it’s not about John McCain, it’s about you.”
The uber-populist line: “It’s about you.” Vox populi!
The crowd today loved it.
(As usual, I've stolen this transcript from CBS News's Maria Gavrilovic.)
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