Fired up after a decidedly good couple weeks, Barack Obama's campaign today put out one of those state-of-the-campaign memos from campaign manager David Plouffe. This is about as confident -- dare we say cocky? -- as Obama's campaign has sounded to date.
Plouffe chronicles the positive trends in Obama's direction, from tightening polls in New Hampshire and Iowa to rave reviews of Obama's appearance Saturday at the vaunted Jefferson Jackson dinner of Iowa Democrats in Des Moines Saturday night.
"In recent weeks, we have seen an important shift in the campaign, and fifty-one days before the Iowa caucus, Barack Obama is strengthening his position in the Democratic presidential nominating race, while other candidates are stagnating or weakening," he wrote in the memo, written for media consumption. "Voters in Iowa and New Hampshire are beginning to focus on the race more intently and are increasingly making decisions. And as they do, Senator Obama is profiting at Senator [Hillary] Clinton's expense."
The memo has the requisite digs at Clinton, accusing her of "ducking and dodging tough questions at rapid pace lately." But, notably, it also takes aim at John Edwards, whose supporters Obama's Iowa team is working hard to peel away. "John Edwards's positions are not changing as rapidly, but on many core issues the Edwards of today is different than the Edwards of 1998, or even 2004," Plouffe wrote. "It's admirable to admit mistakes but John Edwards has apologized for most of his record while in the Senate."
Plouffe goes on to detail Obama's standing in the early primary states, saying, "You live by inevitability and die by inevitability and there are growing signs in the last 10 days that Clinton's support in the early states, as well as nationally, is fairly thin and eroding."
To be sure, Clinton is still in a strong position, and Obama needs to make a lot more progress to capture the nomination. But his campaign believes the three pillars of his candidacy -- "unity," "changing Washington," and "trust" will get him there. (This recalls Republican Mitt Romney's three legs of the American stool -- strong families, strong economy, strong military.)
Sure as a biting wind will sweep across Iowa's cornfields in January, rival campaigns won't let a memo like this stand unanswered for long.