HIT ‘EM WITH HUMOR…. Barack Obama campaigned earlier in Raleigh, North Carolina, principally relying on the closing-statement speech he unveiled in Ohio on Monday. Today, however, he added a new paragraph.

“[B]ecause he knows his economic theories don’t work, he’s been spending these last few days calling me every name in the book,” Obama said. “Lately, he’s called me a ‘socialist’ for wanting to roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans so we can finally give tax relief to the middle class. I don’t know what’s next. By the end of the week, he’ll be accusing me of being a secret communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten. I shared my peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

From time to time, over the course of the 20 or so months, Obama has demonstrated an ability to use humor very effectively. Greg Sargent noted earlier, “[This] kind of unforced mockery, even levity, tends to be a good indicator of genuine confidence in the outcome.”

I think that’s true, but I’d add that Obama seems to use humor, light mockery, and the occasional sarcasm even when he’s less confident in the outcome. For months, regardless of circumstance, even during the primaries, when given a choice between delivering an angry response and a humorous one, Obama almost always prefers the latter.

One gets the sense that Obama’s not mad at the Republicans; he just thinks they’re ridiculous.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.