04/01/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Obama's High-Wire Act: Running On Risk, Sticking With It

If Barack Obama played it safe, he never would have challenged Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination two years after leaving the Illinois legislature.

Once he won the nomination, he never would have planned a splashy tour of foreign capitals that might have typecast him as inexperienced and pretentious. He never would have tried to fill a football stadium and become the first candidate since John F. Kennedy to accept a nomination outdoors. In the general election, he would not have bet on states like Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia that had not voted blue for decades.

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