11/02/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

10/02/02--The Day Obama Took the Lead

When Barack Obama wins the White House, let's remember the day he took the lead, even before anyone knew he was running--October 2, 2002.
That's the day he stood up in Daley Plaza and said no to invading Iraq. That's the day he showed his superior vision and judgement, compared to Senator Clinton and Senator McCain, who later became his strongest opponents. That's the day he stood up on the side of peace and justice, risking his still-just-dreamed-of career to say no to a war based on lies and hype.
Obama"s speech that day still holds up pretty well, imo.
And the logic in that speech rocked not just 6 years ago, but 6 days ago, too, when Senator Obama used McCain's early support of the Iraq War to deliver one of his best comebacks of the first presidential debate. Here's how it played in the focus groups, with the feedback line steadily rising as Senator Obama kept jabbing McCain with "you were wrong" on Iraq (about 2:10 into the video clip).
The economy may dominate the home stretch of this race. But we would do well as a nation to remember when Barack Obama first took the lead in the race for the White House--as an obscure State Senator from Illinois, who showed the courage and judgement to say no to a bad, stupid, wrong war, when others of more stature chose to support Bush & Cheney.