Barack Obama, Abbreviated, Draws Big Cheers

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Shortly after noon, Barack Obama spoke, delivering a truncated version of the new speech he’s using. He had a slow warm-up, went on to invoke both Selma and Jena, and then launched into the winning “moral deficit” stumper he delivered yesterday in the church in Atlanta where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. served as pastor. (“I’m not talking about a budget deficit!”)

Today’s version, delivered to a more racially diverse crowd, omitted the parts that addressed gays and anti-Semitism.

He also reused his “I’m a hopemonger” line from New Hampshire. The crowd responded most strongly when he talked about being raised as a not-rich person with a single mother; the end of his speech was drowned out by cheers.

“We can go now,” said a kid in the crowd.

“No we are staying to hear Hillary,” said another, punching the first.

Also, John Edwards spoke, but almost more as a teammate: “All three of us are on the journey with you to equality and justice,” he said.