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Callie Shell / Aurora for TIME

Obama, far right, with Tumulty and Von Drehle at Rio Grande High School

In a democracy, what a candidate says is less important than how the voter hears it; how a candidate defines himself is less important than how the voter perceives him. In our special Democratic Convention issue, David Von Drehle has written the seminal piece on the five different ways that voters see Barack Obama. More than any other modern candidate, Obama is a one-man Rorschach test telling us about our own perceptions, biases, hopes and fears. David's five categories--the Black Man, the Healer, the Novice, the Radical, the Future--describe the prisms through which we see the Democratic nominee.

David and Karen...

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