The Note: The Mountaintop

Then there's a matter of a new voice: "Some of the same qualities that have brought him just one election away from the White House -- his virtuosity, his seriousness, his ability to inspire, his seeming immunity from the strains that afflict others -- may be among his biggest obstacles to getting there," Jodi Kantor writes in The New York Times, in a "Man in the News" piece. (You think?)

"Thursday night's speech will have almost a split-screen element: the adoring Democrats at Invesco Field at Mile High, and the unseen, skeptical voters watching at home," McClatchy's Steven Thomma writes.

History will drip off the hollow Greek columns: "He is delivering the speech on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' address on the struggle for civil rights. And Obama's trademark -- for better or worse -- is emotionally charged speeches that inspire his followers," Michael Finnegan writes in the Los Angeles Times.

"First and foremost, he must convey a sense of leadership and command that will convince voters he can be the leader," Nia-Malika Henderson writes for Newsday. "But he must also comfortably put himself at their kitchen table, in a next-door-neighbor kind of way. He has to draw on his own biography and the march of history to show that he is ready and able to take his turn in the long line of American presidents."

As for the last Democrat to get to the mountaintop: Don't forget what this man can do when he's turned loose. And if he took more time than he was supposed to -- and it took him including Obama in his legacy for him to embrace him -- those are trade-offs Obama would take.

"Bill Clinton raised the roof of the Pepsi Center and shut down with a crash the complaints that people named Clinton somehow could never manage to say anything nice about Barack Obama," Time's Nancy Gibbs writes. "On the third night of the Democratic convention in Denver, it finally started to feel like a family instead of a fight."

"It turned out to be not about him at all, with Clinton delivering a speech that framed the case for Sen. Barack Obama and against the Republicans in a way that no one at this convention had done before," David Maraniss writes in The Washington Post. "Not only did Clinton utter the words 'Barack Obama' 15 times, they came in his first sentence and his last, and there were long riffs about the candidate in between."

He said what his wife didn't -- and sounded like he meant it: "Mr. Clinton proceeded to do precisely what Mr. Obama's campaign was looking for him to do: attest to Mr. Obama's readiness to be president, after a campaign largely based on Mrs. Clinton's contention that he was not," Adam Nagourney writes in The New York Times.

Two really good speeches combine to make one great one: "While Hillary saluted her 'sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits' and focused on women's issues like equal pay, her husband -- who thrived this spring on rural turf where he wooed what strategists called 'the Bubba vote' -- vouched for Obama's credibility on national-security issues and his fitness to serve as commander in chief," Sasha Issenberg writes in The Boston Globe.

"For many in the arena, it was exactly what the Democrats needed -- a clear, cathartic show of unity by the party's once and future leaders," David Saltonstall writes in the New York Daily News.

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