Sunday, December 10, 2006

"Obama's Trip to N.H. Sparks Early Frenzy" (UPDATED, with video)

UPDATE: Video from NBC and a story by Ron Fournier (AP).

Nedra Pickler (AP) in the WaPO:
Sen. Barack Obama sparked an early frenzy Sunday during his initial visit to the nation's first presidential primary state, but said he still hasn't decided whether to run despite large crowds that he said have shown his "15 minutes of fame has extended a little longer."

The Illinois senator said he is still "running things through the traps" as he considers whether to join a field of Democrats that's expected to include front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton and several other more experienced political hands.

"This is an office you can't run for just on the basis of ambition," Obama told reporters at a news conference between packed events. "You have to feel deep in your gut that you have a vision for the country that is sufficiently important that it needs to be out there."
Obama said he thinks the excitement reflects voters' desire for a new, positive direction in politics that is not about him as an individual.

"I am suspicious of hype," Obama told reporters. "The fact that my 15 minutes of fame has extended a little longer than 15 minutes is somewhat surprising to me and completely baffling to my wife."

Obama's appearance before the state party was to celebrate last month's election, where Lynch won by a record margin and the party took control of both houses of the legislature and New Hampshire's two U.S. House seats.

"I think to some degree I've become a shorthand or a symbol or a stand-in for now of a spirit that the last election in New Hampshire represents," Obama said. "It's a spirit that says we are looking for different. We want something new."
He said his family is a major concern because his daughters are 8 and 5 years old. He said questions about his inexperience are valid. He said Americans are not concerned with middle names, but that all women and minority candidates have to overcome stereotypes so people will judge them on their merits.

"Are some voters not going to vote for me because I'm African-American? Those are the same voters who probably wouldn't vote for me because of my politics," he said.

Obama's advisers said he would consider his choice over the holidays, after his annual Christmas trip to his native Hawaii to visit his grandmother.
There's slightly different version of this story here. has lots more with photos.

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