By BEN SMITH, Politico
The dinner guest that night at George Will’s house in Chevy Chase was intellectually nimble, personally formidable and completely baffling, recalled columnist Charles Krauthammer — who was getting his first up-close look at President-elect Barack Obama.
“We sat around and said, ‘Does anybody really know who he is and what he wants to do, now that we’ve had this?'” Krauthammer recalled of Obama’s January sit-down with conservative columnists. “And the answer was no. We don’t know.”
“I didn’t understand what he was up to until he just unveiled it openly, boldly, unapologetically and very clearly within two weeks of his Inauguration,” Krauthammer told POLITICO in an interview in his corner office off Dupont Circle. “That’s what was so stunning.”
Since then, Krauthammer has emerged in the Age of Obama as a central conservative voice, the kind of leader of the opposition that that economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman represented for the left during the Bush years: a coherent, sophisticated and implacable critic of the new president.