A BLAST FROM THE PAST: “Obama says that he will not run for anything in 2008. He is quick to temper high expectations and scrying [sic] about his lofty political future with quips about how he doesn’t yet know where the Senate bathrooms are, and how he’ll be ‘sharpening pencils and scrubbing floors’ for the first few years. ‘He says that the first thing is for him to learn to be a first-rate senator,’ says Jarrett, the finance committee chair. If that leads to something else one day, fabulous. But first things first.'”

I don’t think Obama was lying in 2005. I’ve always thought that he didn’t expect his campaign to take off the way it did; I think he figured he’d run a good attention-getting primary campaign, drop out after South Carolina, and set himself up for the future. I think that the coalescence of the anti-Hillary Democrats around his campaign surprised him as much as it did Hillary, and that he’s been running a brilliant piece of improvisation ever since.