The day before all Hell broke lose regarding The Speech, Ron Fournier filed a story for the AP in which he claimed, Obama "bordered on arrogance."


"If arrogance is a display of self-importance and superiority, Obama earns the pejorative every time he calls his pre-invasion opposition to the war in Iraq an act of courage.

"While he deserves credit for forecasting the complications of war in 2002, Obama's opposition carried scant political risk because he was a little-known state lawmaker courting liberal voters in Illinois. In 2004, when denouncing the war and war-enabling Democrats would have jeopardized his prized speaking role at the Democratic National Convention, Obama ducked the issue.

"It may be that he has just the right mix of confidence and humility to lead the nation (Obama likes to say, 'I'm reminded every day that I'm not a perfect man'). But if the young senator wins the nomination, even the smallest trace of arrogance will be an issue with voters who still consider him a blank slate."

The Speech swept this trenchant observation piece away on a tidal wave of immediate analysis specific to the unfolding crisis--but Fournier, as always, was spot-on when it comes to character study.

An Aside: Fournier is an equal-opportunity iconoclast, unrelentingly fair and impartial as he is blistering in his critiques. You may remember these earlier pieces critical to the Clintons, which were devastatingly perceptive: here and here.

Now we learn somewhat inadvertently from John Heilemann, writing a "will she or won't she for the good of the party" piece for New York Magazine, that Obama clumsily squandered a logical John Edwards endorsement back in February.

How did he boot the fairly routine play?

According to Heilemann, "Obama came across as glib and aloof" with the vanquished but still very proud couple:

"His response to Edwards’s imprecations that he make poverty a central part of his agenda was shallow, perfunctory, pat. Clinton, by contrast, engaged Edwards in a lengthy policy discussion. Her affect was solicitous and respectful. When Clinton met Edwards face-to-face in North Carolina ten days later, her approach continued to impress; she even made headway with Elizabeth. Whereas in his Edwards sit-down, Obama dug himself in deeper, getting into a fight with Elizabeth about health care, insisting that his plan is universal (a position she considers a crock), high-handedly criticizing Clinton’s plan (and by extension Edwards’s) for its insurance mandate."

One more piece of anecdotal evidence. Several of my female colleagues (not all of them Hillary supporters) have been telling me for months now that Obama is too arrogant and patronizing.

In terms of arrogance, ironically, Obama is reminiscent of George Bush in 2000 in that both men emerged inexperienced and relatively unknown--but likable and supremely confident. Like Senator Obama, Governor Bush marshaled his light resume as an asset: he would set a "new tone" in Washington and be a "uniter not a divider." Of course, a suspicious press corps raised the specter of "gravitas" in 2000, and Mr. Bush faced nagging questions back then regarding his "smirk" and his "swagger." Thus far, for the most part, Candidate Obama has fairly skirted similar pejorative personality assessments.

But perhaps the honeymoon is coming to an end. Perhaps "arrogance" is the next nettlesome hurdle for the junior senator from Illinois.