The whole Grant Park pageant recalled Little Rock in 1992, when the crowd was swaying to "Don't Stop Thinking about Tomorrow" and the young-looking Clintons were in their full glory.

This was far more sober, as Obama has been throughout; and paradoxically both calming and inspiring. It's easier to sound inclusive when you have won than when you have lost, but Obama -- that is, President-Elect Obama -- did far more than the minimum with the "I will be your president, too" passage.

Performance expectations have been higher and higher for Barack Obama's set-piece high-stakes speeches, and so far he has not fallen short even once. This one was delivered with unusual poetic skill. This can't go on forever, but the string continued in a heartening way this evening.

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