Oprah and the Obamanon

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More than 29,000 people turned out to see Barack Obama and Oprah in South Carolina yesterday.

For the record, that turnout alone would have been good enough for third place in the 2004 primary in the Palmetto State.

I have a gut feeling that Oprah is a significant difference maker. She drew crowds of 10- and 20-thousand in Iowa. Another 10K in New Hampshire, and then that mother lode in South Carolina. And with Obama trailing by just two-to-three points in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina the difference doesn't even have to be significant.

If you're the Obama camp, you've got to love where you're sitting. Obama is essentially drafting — leaving Clinton out in front, barely, to take the bruises that inevitably befall the frontrunner — ready to make a dramatic push in the last couple weeks.

As I survey the race right now, his biggest stumbling block is in Nevada, where Bill Richardson could play a spoiling role. But if he can take both corn country and Vegas-landia, New Hampshire should be a cakewalk.