Backstage Barry


In Barack Obama's post-forum gathering someone asks if he has "a Lyndon Johnson side to go with your sunny optimism."

"First of all, welcome to Chicago," Obama says. He boasts a little bit about his fast rise and then winds into this: "Notice the last two weeks where I've got the whole foreign policy establishment attacking me. These were some of the same people who were so wrong about Iraq."

Obviously he's pandering a little to the room, which includes Matthew Yglesias and Glenn Greenwald. I don't know if there'll be any meat to this, any actual policy differentiation, but he doesn't mind keeping this fight going.

I don't hear anything else ground-breaking in this session, stuff he hasn't said before. Honestly, it feels just like you'd expect it to feel. Hillary spoke on a podium with three advisors seated at a table behind her, while Obama runs on stage, waving and smiling, and then grabs the mic and walks around the dais with it. Hillary's jokes usually go back to her public image (like the "vast right wing conspiracy" gag) while Obama likes to compliment what people are wearing and mess around with their questions. One guy asks a health care policy question and mentions that he and wife will get penalized if he gets her pregnant.

"That might be too much information," Obama says. "Although I think kids are great!"

Policy-wise, lots of spending, not as much "let's stop government waste." On health care: "If I had to design a system from scratch I'd design a single payer system." On Katrina reconstruction: you want money, you got it.