A few television commentators remarked last night on the fact that Barack Obama didn't talk much about himself in his St. Paul speech. Oddly, last night was one moment when he would have been given wide berth for self-absorption on the level of, say, what Hillary Clinton delivered. (Go read friend-of-the-Prospect Mike Tomasky's piece in the Guardian today for more on that.)
However, Obama did drop two names into his speech last night that, amid all the discussion of his comments about Hillary, were largely overlooked:
- Bill Clinton. Obama slipped in a nice line during a series of remarks about the meaning of real change by crediting the former president for showing how "fiscal responsibility and shared prosperity can go hand-in-hand, as they did when Bill Clinton was President." I predict that, long after the dust settles, if Obama becomes president he and Bill Clinton will end up being very chummy; Clinton, after all, always liked being where the action is.
- David Plouffe. It was very fitting for Obama to thank Plouffe from the stage last night. When the story of this campaign is written, a big part of it will be how Obama put together this incredibly smart, skilled, risk-taking and tough team. Obama’s outsized personality and history-making identity have somewhat obscured their achievement: Defeating the Clinton juggernaut when nobody (including myself) thought Team Obama could design and then build a superior campaign. And it was superior in almost every facet: message, money, field, tactics, and communications.
Win or lose this November, Plouffe and David Axelrod and Joe Rospars and Bill Burton are the new Jim Carvilles and Paul Begalas.