not burgess meredith, but larry bird
Could competing against Mrs. Clinton have improved Mr. Obama as a candidate in the same way that competing against Larry Bird and Magic Johnson in the 1980s made Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan champions in the 1990s? …
Mr. Obama’s relentless hope-hope-hope campaign put him in danger of being seen as soft, a 2008 version of the “wimp factor” that haunted George H. W. Bush 20 years ago (before Mr. Bush, then vice president, embarked on one of the most aggressive, some say dirty, presidential campaigns in recent memory). The term “Obambi” entered the lexicon late last year, but has barely been heard of late.
Indeed, a candidate gains a certain political street credibility by being in a fight. Aides to the current President Bush when he was governor of Texas said he was greatly enhanced by the challenge posed by Mr. McCain in 2000.
“One of Bush’s liabilities coming in was that he was seen as a silver spooner who had lived a charmed political life,” said Dan Bartlett, a top aide to Mr. Bush in Texas and in the White House. Overcoming Mr. McCain, Mr. Bartlett said, was a show of toughness. “He took a punch and got up off the mat,” Mr. Bartlett said of Mr. Bush. “You could argue the same about Obama now.”