CONCORD, N.H.--I'm in the gym at the Concord High School, packed, packed with a youthful audience here to see Barack Obama; so many showed up they were supposed to be taken to an overflow room. Obama is the last of 11 presidential candidates who have stumped at the school during this cycle, ending Jan. 8 with the primary vote.
Meanwhile, the John Edwards campaign, bragging about beating Hillary Rodham Clinton, issued a "state of the race" memo (in full after the click) slamming Obama and Clinton for being "celebrity candidates" who spent $200 million against him.
Near the end of the Iowa campaign, Edwards started to toughen his criticism of Obama for taking money from federal lobbyists and political action committees in his election races, only stopping when he started running for president. Edwards was not able to really communicate his point so far that he doesn't think much of Obama's conversion to a higher standard only for his presidential bid.
" The January 8th New Hampshire primary will be an election – not an auction. Just look at the results of the first contest: two celebrity candidates spend $200 million against a candidate who’s got an unstoppable message of fighting for the middle class. Despite unprecedented resources spent by our opponents, Edwards is standing strong – without taking a dime of campaign money from PACs or Washington lobbyists," the memo said.
Edwards has a weaker organization here than Obama or Clinton but he is going to get help from the United Steelworkers of America and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. The group of SEIU state councils will be pouring $1.5 million into the Feb. 5 states, but the flip side of that is Obama will accuse Edwards--as he did in Iowa--of taking special interest money from the third parties and is therefore a hypocrite. By the way, Obama has said he will take this special interest money if he is the Democratic nominee and will disarm only if the GOP nominee does.
Back to the gym with Obama...he is winding up...
"This is our moment. This is our time," Obama is telling this very young crowd ,finding his rhythm..."if all the young people here decide this is our moment to make our mark in history....(add a string of things Obama saysto make the world a better place)..if you want to reach for that, in four days time you will have a chance."
Obama is really underscoring his pitch that he will to Democrats, Independents and Republicans, a message that's important in a state with a large number of independent voters. (That's why Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Ct.) cross-vover endorsement of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is a potential big deal here.