Senator Barack Obama at a rally Saturday in the Taco Bell Arena at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
BOISE, Idaho -- This is starting to feel a little like "Groundhog Day" -- not the holiday, the Bill Murray movie: Another campaign stop in a Feb. 5 state, another blockbuster crowd for Barack Obama.
But even though the storyline may be a bit repetitive, that doesn't make it any less remarkable. Hordes and hordes of people have come out to see Obama in his swing through states that hold primaries or caucuses on Tuesday.
The numbers: more than 15,000 in Denver; about 13,000 in Phoenix; between 6,000 and 6,500 in Albuquerque, and almost 6,000 in Santa Fe last night. And then there's this morning's rally here in Boise: Obama's campaign says nearly 15,000 people came out to the Taco Bell Arena at Boise State University, where the Illinois senator just finished speaking.
To put that in perspective: That's about 10 percent of Boise's voting-age population. And it's roughly three times the number of people who participated in the 2004 Democratic caucuses in all of Idaho.
"Look at this. What an unbelievable crowd," Obama said. "They told me there weren't any Democrats in Idaho. That's what they told me. But I didn't believe them."
The vast majority of the Idahoans here are, in the words of Obama senior strategist David Axelrod, "virgin ears" -- they've never seen Obama in person before, never heard the stump speech, never laughed at his joke about being disappointed at learning he's a distant cousin of Dick Cheney, not Paul Revere. And they are listening raptly.
Nicki Taylor, a 28-year-old from Nampa, Idaho who works for a veterinary supply company, came undecided and left convinced. She was moved by Obama's message, and by his crowd. "Driving here today and seeing all the cars -- unreal," she said."
Is it enough? That's the question. Obama's Feb. 5 tour is still very much about introducing himself to the rest of the country, for whom Hillary Clinton is the more household name. So the challenge Obama faces on Tuesday mirrors the one he's faced all along: Can he convert this buzz into something concrete?