ABC News’ Teddy Davis and Leigh Hartman Report: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Il., brashly played up the likability factor while campaigning in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.
"To know me is to love me," said Obama when asked by the AP’s Nedra Pickler about how he will overcome Sen. Hillary Clinton’s, D-N.Y., advantage in national public-opinion polls.
"By the end of this campaign everybody before they vote will have a pretty good sense of where the various candidates stand on the issues and who they are, and what kind of people they are,” said Obama after picking up the endorsement of Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty. "And we feel confident that once people know my background as a community organizer, as a civil rights attorney, as somebody who taught constitutional law, as a state legislator, as well as a US Senator we will do well."
In "Microtrends," a forthcoming book by Mark Penn, the Clinton pollster and strategist includes a chapter arguing that elites pay too much attention to personality. Penn believes that the bulk of voters – who are not as economically comfortable as members of the national press corps – focus more on bread-and-butter issues, an instinct which he hopes will rebound to the advantage of Clinton.
The Obama camp, of course, thinks the Illinois Democrat can go toe-to-toe with the former first lady on both style and substance. Obama was reluctant, however, to spell out how he would differ from former President Clinton.
“I’m not going to re-litigate what happened back in the 90s,” Obama told ABC News. “I’m talking about what’s going to happening going forward. Bill Clinton isn’t on the ballot . . .”