Appearing presidential may be the most essential element in the art of running for president. The Foreign Policy theater is often the toughest venue for aspiring presidents, and sometimes desperate actors do take desperate measures to demonstrate their capacity for the role.

I have not read Barack Obama's major foreign policy address delivered Wednesday at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. I will read it soon, and I will report on anything I find significant that is not completely obvious and/or already well covered.

Before I do that, however, I will assess the speech as a campaign event, keeping in mind that the vast majority of Americans who will pick the next president did not, nor will they ever, read the statement.

Therefore, much more important than what Obama said yesterday is how it is reported and received in the coming days.

How was it covered?

The conservative blogosphere and talk radio played up the speech, focusing on Obama's promise to invade Pakistan and taking the freshman senator to task for his naive bravado.

The mainstream media initially softened the hard edges of the speech, concentrating on the broader themes of Bush incompetence, missed opportunities, and the current unpleasantness.

However, the Washington Post, holding the same story over night, changed its headline to reflect the tough talk toward Pakistan.

More importantly, the bridge collapse story pushed all things Obama (and Campaign 2008 in general) off the front pages--in fact, as of this morning on their website, the New York Times had not even updated their coverage since Obama actually delivered the speech.

Any likely impact?

1. For Republicans: very little. The speech was merely another act in an entertaining side show. Obama did not sway one Republican yesterday (either way). However, if Obama were to win the nomination, the speech gave the opposition something meaty to chew on, dissect, scrutinize, and further build a case against the candidate.

2. Impact on Move-On Democrats: They can't be all that impressed. Aside from the harsh rhetoric against the war (reminding voters of his early opposition to invading Iraq and his rival's initial support), the candidate cannot hope to help himself with the peace wing of his party by advocating an invasion of Pakistan.

On the other hand: Obama's best shot at wresting this nomination away from the Clinton organization is hammering his commitment to disavow US policy on Iraq. Perhaps this major speech is designed to resonate with the "out of Iraq caucus" more than anyone else. Perhaps he is hoping that the the base will ignore the bellicose language directed at Pakistan, while he reminds them of his consistently anti-war stance.

Perhaps Obama believes that every time he can remind primary voters that Hillary is an adult and part of the vast bipartisan international relations policy-making complex, he wins. Look for him to play that note frequently and with increasing intensity in the days to come.