Salena Zito

Right now, many people really don’t know who Obama is because, until now, he has managed to tack back and forth. But he can’t just tack back and forth for the general election -- he has to drop anchor or he loses.

If he defends nothing else in this campaign, he defends that space between angry black guy and cultural elitist.

If McCain wins the presidency, it will be because his campaign and Republicans took Obama to one of those two places where he can’t go.

Issues will be secondary in the November election to the fundamental character judgment that people will make about Obama.

If Democrats adopt a 50-state campaign strategy -- forcing Republicans to compete in places where they should not have to, causing them to spend too much financial and staff resources -- while Obama fills in his biography, the GOP will be in a whole lot of trouble.

Salena Zito

Salena Zito is a political analyst, reporter and columnist.