Senator Barack Obama addressed a filled park in Nashua Monday evening while the sun went down slowly behind him. With each town hall meeting in New Hampshire, Obama seems to speak in a more confident, winning voice. His answers are more spontaneous. He is trying to hold on to a strong base in New Hampshire and grow it.
"I'm going to have live free or die tattooed on my back," Obama joked. "You guys in New Hampshire like to kick the tires, take us out for a test drive. It really ends up doing the due diligence for the whole country for the next leader of the free world. Or, really, the leader of the free world, because the office has been vacant."
Obama on the stump is not Obama in the debate or Obama sparring through the press with Senator Clinton. The candidate has loosened up, answers questions freely and improvises.
"They didn't see me coming. What is this guy Barack Obama, forty-six years old, black guy, we didn't plan on him," Obama said in response to a question on how he would change the old guard.
"If I'm elected and if we haven't changed the dynamic of Congress, I'll just be a figure-head and the same government and the same gridlock will reign... During the duration off my term, you can't lobby me. If you want to work in my administration you can't regulate those industries. We don't want a revolving door."
Obama was asked about China, Iraq, Darfur, and Iran. His answers were more specific and direct than they have been at similar events in the past.
"China is not yet our enemy. China is a competitor."
"The longer we stay (in Iraq) the greater the possibility of chaos when we finish. We've got to initiate a process and send a clear signal that we're not gonna be there forever," said Obama. "If we are in the process of a dialogue and we've got players involved, they could come up with a plan. But its gotta come from them. Otherwise it will seem like the U.S. invaded a country, broke it up, then tried to control their oil."
At the end of his speech, Obama asked voters to fill out supporter cards and to convince everyone else they can to vote for him. "We have the most fun, the best music," he appealed, trying to seal the deal with people in the crowd. As he shook hands, "Higher Ground," by Stevie Wonder played, the secret service moved in towards the rope line, and the motorcade moved to the front of the building, waiting to take the Obama to his flight back to see his children.