The Note: The Mountaintop

"Their presence is quiet acknowledgment of the challenge before Obama as he takes that stage: to soar to the oratorical heights expected of him while still reaching out to the everyday Americans who can deliver him to the White House. . . . Above all, he needs to convince Americans that he is as good as his words."

Worried, anyone? "Workers were still making changes to Invesco Field, home to the Denver Broncos, so it would feel more intimate, less like the boisterous rallies that served Mr. Obama so well early in the primaries, but also created the celebrity image that dogs him," Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny write in The New York Times. "For Mr. Obama, the dramatic setting of the speech, which will take place between 10 and 11 p.m. Eastern time, stands in contrast to the 'workmanlike' message he intends to offer."

"When Barack Obama strides onto the 50-yard line of Denver's mile-high Invesco Field tonight to accept his party's nomination, expectations will be just as elevated," Bloomberg's Indira A.R. Lakshmanan reports. "His decision to move his prime-time acceptance speech to a 76,000-person football stadium carries no small risk, and Republicans pounced on aerial photos of a colonnaded stage reminiscent of the White House portico or a Greek temple."

"Having rock star concert crowds and uplifting rhetoric doesn't work with working-class voters," Lanny Davis, a longtime Clinton confidante, tells the New York Sun's Seth Gitell.

Counters Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, on "Today": "It's ridiculous, this convention is going to be open up to the American people, that should be celebrated."

"A common concern: that the stadium appearance plays against Obama's convention goal of lowering his star wattage and connecting with average Americans and that it gives Republicans a chance to drive home their message that the Democratic nominee is a narcissistic celebrity candidate," Charles Mahtesian writes for Politico. "The campaign is already prepared to pull the trigger on ads spun out of the Invesco Field event, perhaps rolling out ads similar to the notorious spot featuring Paris Hilton and Britney Spears."

"This time, advisers said, Sen. Obama won't hesitate to express his views on President Bush and Sen. McCain," Nick Timiraos writes in The Wall Street Journal.

"This convention either ends on a bang if he delivers a well received speech, or it is a huge missed opportunity," per ABC News. "Biden and both Clintons have set the table for Obama. Now it is all up to him."

"Bill Clinton passed the torch. Now it is up to Obama to take it," Todd Purdum writes for Vanity Fair.

He really hasn't given a speech like this yet: "Yes he can -- especially when on teleprompter -- but sometimes, especially when tired and off-prompter, no he cannot," ABC's Jake Tapper reported on "Good Morning America" Thursday.

While he's at it, he just has to take back his convention: "Barack Obama has been forced, by the clout Hillary Rodham Clinton showed in their primary battle and his need for her voters in his race against Republican John McCain, to allow the gathering of Democrats to look a lot like the Clinton Convention," the AP's Jennifer Loven reports.

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