DES MOINES, IOWA -- There is nothing like being with a winner on election night.
It is one of the things that makes covering politics so interesting and so much fun. A reporter can easily slip into the role of an anthropologist as he takes in the ebb and flow of emotions in the crowd. The faces upturned toward the victor astride the stage as conquering hero. Some people cry, others laugh. They strain on tiptoes for a glimpse of the "new."
Barack Obama got to play the lead role Thursday night in Iowa. The beneficiary of a massive vote for change. A historic turnout that dwarfed previous caucus nights. As he stood on the stage with his family, the crowd bathed him in applause.
He was said to be "inspired" by the turnout. And I'll bet he was. But his enjoyment will be short-lived. In his victory statement, he referred twice to New Hampshire because even as he stood on the stage in Des Moines, Iowa was already receding quickly into the past.
Good bye to Ottumwa, so long Guttenberg, see ya later Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Sioux City, Algona, Coralville, and the North Skunk River. Farewell to the Des Moines Register, Big Daddy's barbeque and the 801 Steak House. I will miss you. The AmericInn – you know which one you are -- I will not.
Bedford, Portsmouth, Plymouth and Manchester now beckon. Obama is to be back on the stump a couple of hours after his charter touches down. But he will be different. We will be different.
History has just firmed its grip on the man from Illinois.