Obama bio cites hidden '02 agenda
by littafi, Thu Jun 21, 2007 at 08:01:48 AM EDT
I saw this story referenced on the cnn.com political ticker this morning. I followed the link to the Chicago Tribune. I'm not sure what to make of it.
The Chicago Tribune story today is based on an upcoming biography about Barack Obama. The book, by a Chicago Tribune reporter, portrays Senator Obama's 2002 speech against the possible invasion of Iraq to have been based, at least in part, on a desire to influence a big contributor to get support for his candidacy for the Senate. The book claims that Obama is much more of a politician than some of his supporters may wish to believe.
"One such calculation was his much-heralded 2002 speech in Chicago about the impending Iraq war, according to "Obama: From Promise to Power," a nearly 400-page book by Tribune reporter David Mendell to be released in August."
"Obama gave the speech not just because of a desire to speak out about the impending invasion, Mendell asserts, but also to curry favor with a potential political patron, Bettylu Saltzman, a stalwart among Chicago's liberal elite, and to also try to win over his future top political adviser, David Axelrod, who was close to Saltzman."
"'Obama, still an unannounced candidate for the U.S. Senate, did not immediately agree [to speak at the rally],' according to an advance copy obtained by the Tribune. 'But he told Saltzman that he would think it over.'"
"'Obama was trying to draw Axelrod onto his Senate campaign team,' the book says. 'It would not be wise to disappoint Saltzman if he wanted her to continue lobbying Axelrod on his behalf. So Obama agreed to speak.'"
The Tribune contacted David Axelrod. He denies that Obama made the speech to win over political friends and mentors. You can read the whole story here and the link above:
If true, does this matter to you?
I have always though Barack Obama was like most other politicians (no better and no worse on that aspect). I have not bought any of the "new politics" stuff, so it really does not change my opinion about him. He may well have had multiple motives, but I believe his position was correct in 2002.
I wish he had stayed a consistently strong opponent of the war after he was elected to the Senate, but he did not. His 2006 vote against the Kerry-Feingold bill bothers me a lot more than learning this.
What do you think?