Barack Obama's Mission: Show Some Heart

Americans want change but need to better know its agent.

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The candidate of cool has a cardinal mission when he accepts the Democratic Party's nomination for president before a cheering stadium crowd tonight.

Barack Obama has completed his arduous conquest of Democratic hearts; now he needs to reveal his own.

That's what I'm reporting in The Denver Post in the morning.

As Obama prepares to take the stage, Americans are telling pollsters two things. They are ready for change, but unsure of the course he wants to steer. They don't know what moves him, and they don't know that he understands and cares about their lives.

"The country is in crisis," says Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg. "They are looking for a Democratic Party and a Democratic Party leader who gets their crisis...who is waking up and every second of the day is focused on it. And who is going to battle to bring this economy back, to bring the middle class back.

"That is what they have got to see," says Greenberg. "It is engagement. It is passion."

James Carville was, with Greenberg and others, one of the band of Clinton advisers who led the Democrats back to power in 1992, in similarly bleak economic times.

"I actually don't think this election is going to be particularly close," Carville says. "I think people are going to decide `You know what? We want change, and we can go with this.' Or...the Republicans will succeed in scaring people out of changing."

For the Democrats to triumph, Americans must know Obama, and know that he cares, Carville told journalists at lunch on Wednesday.

Obama's "whole nature is he's kind of a suave, kind of cool guy... a lot of his demeanor is cool and calm," says Carville. "He has to get angry."

At the very least, says Carville, Obama has to let Americans know that "I know what is going on out there....I may not exhibit some things, but it is killing me on the inside when I see what is happening."