NASHUA, N.H. Two candidates, one room, two days and two worlds apart.
That was Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton at the Nashua High School North gymnasium Saturday and Sunday.
And the difference between the two candidates was never more apparent.
Obama delivered a compelling, almost mesmerizing, speech, did not talk about any issue in detail and took no questions. His event lasted just over half an hour.
Clinton talked about issue after issue in almost mind-numbing detail and answered question after question in an event that lasted more than an hour and a half.
Both drew large crowds. But Clinton's crowd was much smaller at the end of her speech than at the beginning.
Hundreds of people trickled and then streamed out while Clinton was still talking. But she went on and on as if she did not mind. And maybe she didn't.
"You campaign in poetry, but you govern in prose," Clinton said, quoting Mario Cuomo.
In other words: Dull is good. Dull is a sign of competence.
But can dull get you elected? Especially when your chief rival is selling poetry?
"I applaud his incredible ability to make a speech that really leaves people inspired," Clinton said of Obama after her speech. "My point is that when the cameras disappear and you're there in the Oval Office having to make tough decisions, I believe I am better prepared and ready to lead our country."
Both campaigns have now reduced their themes to a single word.
Obama has a sign that says: Hope.
Clinton has a sign that says: Ready.
But will Clinton get a chance to be ready?
Having lost Iowa on Thursday and with the crucial New Hampshire primary just two days away, she chose not to rouse the crowd but bowl it over in a blizzard of policy details.
Obama said things like: "We are one nation; we are one people; and our time for change has come."
Clinton said things like: "I founded in the Senate the Bipartisan Manufacturing Caucus."
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a man of considerable campaign skills, has been campaigning hard for Clinton and was standing off to one side of the gym as she spoke.
After she was finished, I asked him for an assessment.
"It gave her an opportunity to demonstrate the depth of her public policy acumen," he said with considerable diplomacy.
But you have to ask yourself if, in the last crucial hours, crowds really are looking for the depth of anybody's public policy acumen.
Clinton's strategists are saying that even if she loses New Hampshire and South Carolina, she can still recover on Feb. 5, when voters in 24 states, including California and New York, go to the polls.
But if Obama succeeds in putting together a coalition of black voters, Latino voters, young voters and the left wing of the party the wing that has never forgiven Clinton for voting for the Iraq war Clinton's depth of knowledge may not count.
"We're in a donnybrook," Villaraigosa admitted. "I believe over time we will be able to prevail. But this is the deepest and most talented field I can remember. We have always known it would be a tough fight."
After her speech, Clinton was asked if her campaign was going to change.
"If a campaign doesn't evolve," she said, "it is probably dead."