‘We need courage’

‘WE NEED COURAGE’…. When I watch President Obama’s speeches, I tend to watch with the prepared text so I can see when he’s adlibbing. If he departs from the teleprompter — which he does with surprising frequency — it tells us a little something about the president’s thinking, or at a minimum, a point that he finds especially important.

With that in mind, during his speech in Strongsville, Ohio, this afternoon, the president was nearing his wrap-up with some rhetoric that we’ve heard before. “Now, as we get closer to the vote, there’s a lot of hand-wringing going on,” Obama said. “We hear a lot of people in Washington talking about politics. Talking about what this means for November. Talking about the poll numbers for Democrats and Republicans.”

And just then, when the president paused, a woman in the audience said, “We need courage.”

To put it mildly, President Obama liked the line, and it became the centerpiece of the rest of the speech. Listen carefully at the 15-second mark:

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Steve Benen

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.