OBAMA UPDATE….Barack Obama held a rally in New York City last night and wanted to make sure everyone knew it was big:

His staff had a scissors lift (a.k.a. a cherry-picker) and was taking photographers — and, by the end of the evening, print reporters as well — up in it to get crowd shots.

I guess that’s pretty clever. Or is it old hat, but I’ve just never heard of it before?

In other Obama news, Bloomberg reports:

When the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation takes up the topic “What’s at Stake in ’08” at its annual legislative conference today, the group’s only presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, won’t be leading the discussion.

Top billing will go to New York Senator Hillary Clinton, who will be joined by Caucus leaders in the main ballroom of the Washington Convention Center. Obama will speak later in the day, on climate change, in a much smaller conference room.

“I was shocked” by the program, said Ronald Walters, a political science professor at the University of Maryland in College Park who advised Reverend Jesse Jackson’s presidential runs. “Environmentalism is important, but it’s not one of the headline issues in the black community.”

The rest of the story is a gloss on what’s apparently become the newest buzz in Obama reporting: the belief that because Obama is black, he can’t afford to be seen as too close to the black community. “He has to run what I would call a deracialized campaign,” said Bruce Ransom, a political science professor at Clemson University in South Carolina. This has all the makings of being the latest Hot Topic™ on the campaign trail. Expect a Newsweek cover story soon.