BOSTON – Wowed by Barack Obama's (search) keynote address at the Democratic convention, admirers began tossing around some heavyweight words Wednesday: "the sky's the limit" and "great" and even the p-word: president.
All this for a man who hasn't even won his race for the U.S. Senate yet.
"Compared to where he came from, it's no more of a reach to say he could become president than to say he could be a senator," said Blair Butterworth of Seattle, a Democratic consultant.
At a reception Wednesday, people crowded around him, grabbing his hand and shoving business cards at him.
Thrust into the national spotlight when he was picked as the convention's keynoter, he delivered a speech that used his own background -- son of a white Kansas (search) woman and black African man, raised in Hawaii, a community activist in Chicago (search) -- to illustrate the idea that America offers opportunity for everyone.
His campaign said 300 new volunteers signed up on his Web site after the speech. The site's number of "hits" skyrocketed from 15 per second Tuesday afternoon to 355 per second that night, they said.
Supporters cautioned that Obama can't afford to let the buzz distract him from the race. A victory -- and he has no opponent right now -- would make him the Senate's only black member and just the fifth black senator in history.
Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois said Obama is becoming such a popular figure that he could help the national ticket by appearing with presidential candidate John Kerry in some battleground states.
Obama, a 42-year-old state lawmaker, said his focus is at home. "The most important thing I have to do is make sure the voters in Illinois know who I am, know what my agenda is," he said.