Patriotism Is Latest Plank in Balancing Act

Dem is battle-tested, yet he still needs to define himself in many voters' eyes
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2008 8:39 PM CDT
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., tours the East Community Ministry in Zanesville, Ohio, Tuesday, July 1, 2008.    (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama is still doing battle to define himself, with his patriotism the latest thrust, Dan Balz writes in the Washington Post. But as he wrapped himself in the flag yesterday, Obama was revealed as both “stronger and weaker” than earlier in the year—stronger because he’s battle-hardened, but weaker because "he remains not yet fully formed in the minds of many voters."

Obama was eloquent in his speech, once again taking on “sometimes-difficult ideas” in the “most personal of terms and the loftiest,” Balz writes. But it remains a challenge to be “new and different”—because “new and different works only when it is not threatening or exotic. Striking the right balance remains Obama’s big challenge.”