A critical part of this strategy is the role of Ted Kennedy, expected to be a big player at the convention in August.
But Teddy's cancer diagnosis, and surgery today, make unclear to what degree the Massachusetts Senator will be effective in trying to cover up Barack's seedier political partnerships.
Kennedy said in his statement that he expected to remain at Duke for about a week after the operation, and start radiation and chemotherapy at Massachusetts General Hospital shortly thereafter.
President Kennedy's speechwriter, Ted Sorenson, is also in poor health, but is doing his best to project an idealized vision of the 60's onto Barack:
Despite being left almost blind by a stroke in 2001, Mr Sorensen has actively campaigned in several states for Barack Obama – a candidate whose youth, charisma and above all stirring oratory remind him so closely of his old boss.The irrational exuberance for Barack seems to be driven by nostalgia, which explains the old-timers' lack of concern over his inexperience.
"Barack Obama shares JFK's command of words and recognises their power. I am very excited to see how he has inspired young people who have been so cynical about politics for so long."Sorenson collaborated for several years with a young Princeton graduate, who he has now handed over to Barack.
...thanks to a recommendation from Mr Sorensen, the 26-year-old Princeton graduate is now Mr Obama's deputy chief speechwriter.If it starts to sound like Barack is playing JFK, now we know why.
"Adam worked with me for six years and got to know all about the speeches I wrote for Kennedy," he said. "So when people hear touches of Kennedy and Sorensen in Obama, they are hearing the contribution of Adam."