WASHINGTON, Feb. 9
On Saturday, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) declares his presidential bid at the Historic Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois at 11:00 am ET.
Obama then travels to Cedar Rapids, IA for a 5:00 pm ET town hall meeting. He holds an 8:30 pm ET meet-and-greet in Waterloo, IA.
On Sunday, Sen. Obama continues stumping in the Hawkeye State, holding a 1:00 pm ET rally at Iowa State University in Ames, IA.
The Illinois lawmaker returns to Chicago for a 6:30 pm ET rally at the University of Illinois-Chicago Pavilion.
Time shifting, he caps off his announcement weekend with a Sunday appearance on CBS' "60 Minutes."
So many questions will be answered in the next 50 hours. Here are just some of them:
Will Sen. Barack Obama begin to give a stump speech, a la Bush 1999 (but not Clinton 2007) that he will deliver relentlessly the rest of the year and that allows America to get to know his heart (and his head)?
Will the Obama campaign's oft-stated commitment to run a "different kind of campaign," lead it to fumble press or candidate logistics to an extent that reporters begin to ask -- in print/on the air, or, at least, among themselves -- "if he can't run an announcement tour, how can he run the country??!!??"?
Will the Springfield kickoff event get road-blocked cable coverage?
Will the candidate get a "pop quiz" question from a voter that he flubs? (Note to Senator Obama: A 1/2 gallon of Tropicana Pure Tropics Orange Strawberry Banana Juice costs about $2.59. LINK)
Will the crowd sizes be so overwhelmingly large that the Gang of 500 begins to believe that something Special is happening?
Will David Axelrod be mobbed by the media whenever he appears on the trail?
Will web contributions to the campaign spike dramatically in way that makes the Gang of 500 believe that something Special is happening?
Will Lynn Sweet's all day, every day TV appearances lead to a dedicated SweetTV cable channel (with many a confused late night viewer tuning in based on the name alone)?
Will the campaign begin to let America fall in love with Michelle Obama this weekend, or will they wait? (Beyond the "60 Minutes" turn…)
Will Robert Gibbs wear sunglasses, even inside?
Will the "60 Minutes" piece be as hard-hitting as most Obama coverage (and most "60 Minutes" profiles of attractive Democrats), or, uhm, more so?
Will the Clinton campaign watch all this and say, "If we aren't going to use all this opposition research we are collecting, why are we collecting it?"?
Will the Republican National Committee put out press releases, based on their own extensive opposition research, contrasting Obama's 2007 centrist rhetoric with his votes-n-quotes from his Illinois days -- or will they continue their audacious hope that Obama is the only force that can stop Hillary Clinton from winning the nomination early and easy? (See below for a clue….)
Will all the new, but yet-to-be-announced Senate hires look at the fun on the trail and say to themselves, "Do I really want to sit around the Hart Building?"?
Will the phystical crush of the weekend make the campaign think it needs to either budget hundreds of thousands of dollars for private security, or make an extraordinary early request for Secret Service protection?