Strategists for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama are jubilant because some polls show he has vaulted ahead of Hillary Clinton in the January 3 Iowa caucuses, and other surveys show him ahead or very close to the lead there.
But Obama insiders don't think the main cause was Hillary Clinton's recent pattern of missteps—including her dissembling about whether illegal workers should receive driver's licenses—although they admit all that helped raise doubts about her.
"It has absolutely been the more exposure he's had" and the extensive campaigning Obama has done in Iowa, says Obama's senior strategist David Axelrod. Axelrod says Obama's message is finally getting through—new ideas, straight talk, and the promise of reconciliation in Washington.
"This is an election about change," Axelrod told U.S. News . He argues that Obama is the most compelling agent of change in the race.
—Kenneth T. Walsh