Obama, Tread Carefully

Early Show - Barack Obama - Oct. 23, 2008
This column was written by CBS News Early Show Co-Anchor Harry Smith.
Tonight the Obama campaign has paid CBS, NBC, FOX, Univision and some cable channels, huge amounts of money for a half hour of primetime television access.

It's impossible to anticipate what the half hour will look like. But there are several things it dare not do.

First is bore us to death. If it fails to hold the audiences interest it risks a backlash. Late night comedians will have a field day.

It also dare not unveil any dramatic new proposals. If the campaign has to spend their next three days explaining what they meant by the infomercial, then it really would be a failure.

It can't be presumptuous. While many millions of people have already voted, any hint that this election is a done deal will be a disaster.

The reward for arrogance is defeat.

The program will need to have a goldilocks feel to it, not too hot, not too cold, not too hard, and not too soft. Getting it just right, isn't so easy.