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Inside Politics
Inside Politics

'Skinny kid with a funny name' makes good

By Bill Schneider
CNN Political Unit

Barack Obama

(CNN) -- A unified party, a harmonious convention, a powerful message -- what more do you want?

How about a little poetry? That would really make it the political Play of the Week.

Remember in the 2000 campaign, when George W. Bush promised to be a uniter, not a divider?

That didn't quite work out.

The message of this convention was, John Kerry will deliver what Bush didn't. Kerry said in his acceptance speech Thursday, "Let's build unity in the American family, not angry division."

Speaker after speaker delivered that message. But only one speaker delivered the message with poetry.

Barack Obama, who's running for the U.S. Senate this year in Illinois, is the very image of national unity -- the whole multicultural tradition. "My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya," Obama said in his keynote speech Tuesday. "He grew up herding goats."

Obama's speech stirred the convention. It was a speech worthy of the master -- the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Jackson told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, "[In] '84, I was speaking in San Francisco, and '04, you see the evolution, as Barack Obama, and there's Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. And Kwame Kilpatrick -- you see a growth."

Obama's speech skillfully hit all the political bases -- African-Americans, immigrants, John Kerry, John Edwards. And himself. Obama talked about "the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too."

We have a place for him, too -- the political Play of the Week.

A lot of people think Barack Obama's exotic name helps him, politically.

It means he's hard to stereotype. People think he's an immigrant. Even though he was born in Hawaii.

You know, one day he could run for president.

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