Good news out of North Carolina for Obama: "More than four times as many blacks have registered to vote in North Carolina during the first few months of 2008 as four years ago, a sign that bodes well for Sen. Barack Obama in the state's May 6 Democratic presidential primary," the AP's Mike Baker writes. "There has also been a boom in voter registrations overall across age, race, gender and party affiliation, according to the North Carolina state board of elections."
The lay of the (changing) Pennsylvania land: "Slowly but surely, Pennsylvania is tilting southeastward," Paul Nussbaum writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer. "As the population shrinks in western Pennsylvania and grows in eastern Pennsylvania, the politically pivotal state is becoming more suburban, more Democratic, more eastern. It is becoming more like New Jersey and less like Ohio."
The St. Petersburg Times' Adam Smith checks in on the status of Florida. "Why Obama won't [agree to have the votes count] -- because it could cost him the nomination -- underscores how volatile the marathon Democratic race remains and how resolving Florida's Democratic delegate debacle remains a major challenge," Smith writes. "And it's not just Obama. Clinton, by many accounts, could be better off leaving Florida unresolved than agreeing to any compromise."
The Boston Globe's Scott Helman writes up the new most powerful force in politics: "the 'small donor' phenomenon that has reshaped the political landscape this election cycle, as hundreds of thousands of voters -- many of them newcomers to politics -- invest themselves in the presidential campaign like never before. Lured in part by e-mails that seem to come from the candidates themselves, low-dollar donors develop relationships with the campaigns, compelling them to give more and more money."
Time's Amanda Ripley offers a lengthy profile of Obama's late mother: "Obama's mother was a dreamer. She made risky bets that paid off only some of the time, choices that her children had to live with. She fell in love -- twice -- with fellow students from distant countries she knew nothing about. Both marriages failed, and she leaned on her parents and friends to help raise her two children."
Said Obama: "My choosing to put down roots in Chicago and marry a woman who is very rooted in one place probably indicates a desire for stability that maybe I was missing." (Nothing says stability like a presidential campaign.)
There's something new at Obama events these days, the Chicago Tribune's John McCormick notices. "A greater emphasis on prayer and added patriotism at Obama events started in Indiana on the mid-March weekend when a controversy over statements made by his longtime Chicago pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, first gained widespread attention," he writes. "There is clearly a pattern of added emphasis on Christianity and patriotism for Obama -- at least in conservative-leaning places like Indiana and North Carolina -- in the wake of the Wright controversy. Such overt religious displays had been relatively rare in the first 13 months of Obama's presidential bid."
New video of Wright's successor, Otis Moss III -- posted by the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody on Thursday -- has Moss comparing being black to biblical stories of leprosy.