Obama's Opportunity

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., smiles during a surprise visit in Portsmouth, N.H., Sunday, Dec. 10, 2006. Obama is making his first visit to the nation's earliest presidential primary state.
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

It's more than a year until New Hampshire's first in the nation primary. But 150 press credentials were issued to anxious media types who were in the state to tell the story of Barack Obama's first visit to New Hampshire.

The junior senator from Illinois sold out two separate events Sunday, and created so much excitement his picture popped up on the front page of USA Today and the Washington Post.

So far, Obama is playing it perfectly. He has a sense of humor and apparently a sense of proportion. He says he's surprised to see his fifteen minutes of fame has been extended.

And that's one of the reasons people are drawn to him. If he's eating up all this press and attention, he's not showing it. Because he's so unknown, people are projecting onto him all kinds of hopes and dreams.

He also seems smart enough to know this kind of opportunity comes around only once.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
By Harry Smith