From NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan
Tonight's victory speech by Obama may be his best yet, powerful, looking toward the future and putting his opponents in their place while appearing to rise above the nasty attacks that have dominated the race for the past two weeks.
Obama told the crowd that change and overcoming the status quo would be difficult, reminding the crowd of the attacks he'd faced from the Clintons over the past two weeks. "We are up against an idea that it's acceptable to say anything and do anything to win an election," he said. "We know that this is exactly what's wrong with our politics."
But he also praised his opponents in the race, calling them "fierce competitors" and reminded the crowd that had booed Hillary Clinton all night that at the end of the day they were all competing for the Democratic nomination and would have to come together in the general election.
Obama also used the attacks of the past few weeks as a proof that there is a larger malaise within American politics that allows division to dominate the debate.
"It's a politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon," he said. "A politics that tells us that we have to think, act and even vote within the confines of the cateogires that supposedly define us. The assumption that young people are apathetic. The assumption that Republicans won't cross over. The assumption the poor don't vote. The assumption that African Americans can't support the white candidate; white can't support the African American candidate; Blacks and Latinos can't come together."
Perosnalizing his speech with the stories of everyday Americans he met along the road, Obama used the tale of one woman's support to show that eeven the smallest donation could lead him to victory.
"I know that when people say we can't overcome all the bickering, money and influence in Washington, I think of the elderly woman who sent me a contribution the other day," he said, "an evenlope that had a money order for $3.01 along with a verse of scripture tucked inside. So don't tell us change isn't possible."
For Obama, what is possible is to enter Feb. 5th with two solid victories that have provided legitimacy to his message and candidacy and provided fuel for his movement. The "Yes We Can" rallying cry that Obama and the crowd chorused in union to end his speech is the mantra he and his supporters may need to repeat over and over as they face a long nine days of campaigning before Feb. 5th.