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MSNBC - Obama Stars

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MSNBC - Obama Stars

By Domenico Montanaro

Obama stood out today at the NAACP forum -- for the first time outshining Clinton at a debate/forum. He took a much tougher, more direct tone than he did at the Howard University debate last month. He was greeted by thunderous applause and shouts -- much more so than any other candidate. And he received the loudest cheers for his well crafted opening speech, in which he weaved the theme "We still have more work to do" throughout.

Clinton and Edwards were fine and delivered adequate answers, but they just could not match Obama's luster today.

Clinton offered solid policy options and highlighted her experience.

"I expanded Head Start as First Lady," Clinton said. And she received strong applause with her answer on how to stop gun violence. She highlighted policies implemented during the 1990s, but interestingly she didn't say "my husband" or even mention the Clinton administration.

Edwards was strong in answering a question on voting disenfranchisement, calling for same-day voter registration. He also got solid applause when he said ex-cons should have their voting rights restored. Clinton agreed.

"They've served their time," Edwards said. "Their voice needs to be heard."

His closing also was interactive and effective. He repeated the refrain, "You believe that don't you" and got "Yeahs" from the audience.

Obama walked a delicate line on gun violence, taking a bit of a risk by saying, "What we also have to do is to make sure that we change our politics, so we care just as much about those 30 some children in Chicago who've been shot as we do the children at Virginia Tech. That's a mindset that we have to have in the White House, and we don't have it right now."

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