Independents are not back on the president's team. But they are willing to listen -- and watch. If he wants to continue to earn back their trust and, more importantly, their votes, he's going to have to deliver.
Campaigns are misguided to think they can reach these disparate types by adopting some middle of the road, wishy-washy, one-size-fits-all position. Instead, the groups need to be marketed to in different ways.
Pundits are now beginning to say Obama is on a comeback, which is a stunning turnaround from less than two months ago, when the president sheepishly began using the word "shellacking" for the midterm results.
I used to imagine the president was playing 11-dimensional political chess with Republicans, a strategy I was too dim to grasp. I've begun to wonder whether his negotiating is his way of dog-whistling to Independents that he's their guy.
Congressional Republicans who think the outcome of this election is a mandate for their view of governance are overstating the case and run the risk of the kind of overreach some say the hurt the Democrats.
For the most part, the rally represented a congenial gathering of center to center-left people who are opposed to ideological purity tests and uncompromising dogmas, and who focused their blame on the divisive media coverage of political issues.
Those who try to argue that the key to 2010 was what happened with the independents are not in touch with reality. It doesn't capture the complexity of an electorate that is going through profound demographic change every two years.