Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Cracks in Obama's armor?

Barack Obama also understands expectations, and he's been scrambling to keep the focus on Hillary.

After a contentious news conference yesterday in which Obama was questioned about a meeting one of his surrogates had with Canadian officials over Obama's position on NAFTA and Obama's relationship with disgraced Chicago investor Tony Rezko, Obama seemed to show the first chinks in his unflappable public relations armor.

(If you need a quick, dispassionate primer on Rezko, who he is and why people are talking about him, check out this list from the Chicago Sun-Times.)

Some of the verbage used by the press after yesterday's action with Obama: He was "exasperated" and "scurried away" from the news conference; Obama "lashed out" at rumors about his religion.

In addition to fending off suddenly aggressive reporters, Obama continued his crusade against the nameless, faceless, 500-pound elephant in this campaign: The whispers about his religion. (Heard the one about how he took his Senate oath on the Koran? It isn't true.) Read more on Obama's comments yesterday here and here.

Also, no doubt you've received that chain e-mail about how Obama doesn't say the Pledge of Allegiance, how he turns his back to the flag, etc. Check out this link from Internet rumorbuster Snopes.com for the truth about these whispers.

Finally, it's not like anyone really paid attention with everything else going on yesterday, but Obama's communications director, David Plouffe, did his part to try to keep the pressure on Clinton. It's too bad that one of the best quotes of this campaign was lost in yesterday's hubbub:

"They were sitting on enormous leads as recently as two weeks ago," (Plouffe) said on the call, dismissing the notion of a Clinton "comeback."

"They keep moving the goal posts, but at some point you run out of field," he said.