Were Hillary Clinton not running for president, Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrump denies clemency to 180 people Mellman: Memories may be beautiful, yet… When George W. Bush stood with Hillary Clinton MORE would not be the attractive candidate that he is. Without a backdrop of her polarizing effect on our politics — what Obama calls the "slash and burn" style of partisanship — Obama would be as dull as Al Gore was reputed to have been. He would not excite support, much less passion. But his dignity, candidness and reasonableness contrast so dramatically with Hillary's scripted phoniness, artificiality, and shrill partisanship that he stands out by comparison.

Hillary is hot. Obama is cool. Hillary is divisive. Obama brings people together. Hillary invents herself. Obama is himself. Hillary shouts. Obama converses. By comparison with Hillary, he looks just great. By himself — on the screen without her — he would be bland. With her, he is a relief.

How odd it is that the first African-American candidate excites little passionate opposition because the first woman to run acts as his lightning rod!