Sen. Barack Obama introduced a seemingly new line in his campaign speech on Tuesday, an acknowledgment of sorts of recent criticism that his supporters have painted him as a quasi-messianic figure.
"As aware as I am of my imperfections," he told the crowd, "as clear as I am that I am not a perfect vessel, I would not be running if I did not believe that I could lead this country in a new direction, that we have a unique moment that we have to seize, but I have to tell you Houston I cannot do it by myself. No person can."
The remark came in Houston, Texas, as Obama celebrated his victory in the Wisconsin Democratic primary.
In recent days, Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign and political observers have taken the Illinois Democrat to task for allegedly being overly reliant on rhetoric and little substance. Obama, the logic goes, has presented himself as pure and transcendent over traditional politics, a portrayal that does not mesh with reality. As evidence, they've highlighted Obama's apparent waffling on publicly financing a general election battle against Sen. John McCain, his use of negative campaign mailers to attack Clinton's position on NAFTA, and allegations that he has borrowed lines from speeches of his friend and campaign co-chair, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.
New York Times columnist David Brooks, broached the topic in a column on Tuesday morning when he wrote:
"Up until now The Chosen One's speeches had seemed to them less like stretches of words and more like soul sensations that transcended time and space. But those in the grips of Obama Comedown Syndrome began to wonder if His stuff actually made sense. For example, His Hopeness tells rallies that we are the change we have been waiting for, but if we are the change we have been waiting for then why have we been waiting since we've been here all along?"