The Obama Surge: Will It Last?

In a time of distress, he's projected comfort and confidence. But eventually he'll need to take risks too

Jim watson / AFP / Getty

Obama and McCain at the Oct. 7 town-hall debate in Nashville. Obama has built a lead by outlining a strong role for government in dealing with the economic crisis.

If Barack Obama is elected president of the United States on Nov. 4 — a prospect that is beginning to seem likely now — it may turn out that he closed the deal with a simple answer to a not-so-simple question posed by Tom Brokaw in the second presidential debate: "Is health care in America a privilege, a right or a responsibility?" This is familiar territory for Democrats. The question was framed many years ago by Senator Ted Kennedy, who must have been smiling up on Cape Cod. "Health care should be a right, not a privilege," Kennedy would...

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