With a blitz of composed speeches and a media campaign showcasing his every move, Iran's new president succeeded phenomenally in one week in changing the dynamics for a country that had sunk into near pariah status.
The self-styled moderate, tasked with easing concerns over Iran's nuclear program, made history by speaking to US President Barack Obama in the first contact between the countries' leaders since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Hassan Rouhani stole the show at the annual UN General Assembly summit, addressing nearly a dozen packed audiences or interviews in which he calmly, and with a smile, explained how he wanted better relations with the West.
Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a US group which advocates a hard line on Iran, agreed that Rouhani had shored up support in Tehran but said he saw little substantively different from Ahmadinejad.
"From Rouhani's perspective, his week was a smashing success and Rouhani-phoria is now at a feverish pitch," he said.
But he predicted the buzz would fade, and noted that Netanyahu -- who has branded Rouhani a "wolf in sheep's clothing" -- will meet Obama at the White House on Monday.
"Everybody has to get away from he euphoria of personality and to the more mundane task of nuclear physics," Dubowitz said.