Washington, Oct 2 : The full-throated welcome to Barack Obama from the huge African American audience at a Congressional Black Caucus dinner was tinged with growing confidence that victory and history may be within reach.
As Obama strode onto the stage in the cavernous ballroom on Saturday night, the audience jumped up, shouting, singing and clapping along with his campaign theme song, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours."
Recent polls show Obama opening up a lead over his Republican rival John McCain, both nationally and in some key battleground states, particularly on economic issues, the Washington Post reported.
The consensus among many analysts was that Obama held his own in last week's debate, which focused mainly on foreign policy, an issue considered one of his Republican rival's strengths. And Obama's Black supporters continue to maintain a disciplined, united front, eschewing internal debates that could undermine his candidacy.
"I'm just feeling very strong and confident," said Kevin White, a commissioner from Hillsborough County, Fla., who attended the caucus dinner.
"I am not ready to declare victory, but in my heart I'm starting to feel it," said Godfrey Jacobs, a public health consultant from Baltimore.
Jacobs and others quickly qualified their comments, noting their concerns about overconfidence and that, in the end, too many White voters will not vote for a Black man.
Jesse L. Jackson agreed that the campaign was moving Obama's way but warned against complacency. "While we've got McCain against the ropes, we have to keep on pressing," he said.
Corey Ealons, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, said: "I would add that people should not rest on their laurels. They are the final link in the chain in getting this done."
Former congressman Major R. Owens (N.Y.) said he was "upbeat" about Obama's chances, pointing to what he viewed as mistakes by McCain, including his choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.