Barack Obama: The Contender

In his new mode, he's challenging the idea of Hillary Clinton's inevitability. But going on offense has put him on the defensive

Callie Shell / Aurora for TIME

U.S. Senator Barack Obama in his candidacy for President listens to his introduction at a rally outside the courthouse in Manning, South Carolina.

Barack Obama's Iowa headquarters near the State Capitol in downtown Des Moines has the unmistakable décor of an insurgent operation: thinning, mildewed carpet; litter from sign-painting parties; recycling boxes full of canvassing tally sheets and empty Miller Lite cartons. But the deepening clutter hasn't covered up all the traces of what the building used to be: a hockey rink, which could hardly be a more fitting metaphor for a political contest that is suddenly getting a lot rougher. The old Dr Pepper scoreboard is still on the wall, but the largely twentysomething crew at Obama Central has another way...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!