To the excellent critiques of the Iowa Caucus news coverage, let me just add the following. (This comes from a colleague who occasionally comments on this site under the nom de plume "Anonymous.")
According to the New York Times, Iowan Democrats turned out for Barack Obama in record numbers either "because they were eager to leave behind the bitter divides of the last two decades or because they wanted to send a message that a small white state could transcend the issue of race." Yes, it's possible that a hundred thousand white Democrats conspired to send a message of racial tolerance to the rest of the nation. It's also possible that, I dunno, Obama's maternal relatives are midwestern farmers, and he might have been able to relate to Iowans better than lawyers from New York or North Carolina could.
I'm not saying our nation is beyond race, but it's certainly possible that factors other than race are at play in this election, and that Obama might bring something to the table beyond just melanin.