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Question of the day

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I know that we already had a Barack Obama question just last week, but I had a thought last night and wanted to see what you think.

I’m wondering whether the latest hype over a possible Obama run for president is just a ruse to promote his new book. After all, publicly mulling a presidential bid would get him a lot more publicity than just talking about some book that he had written.

Or, is that all backwards? Is the book a jumping off point for a possible presidential run?

Or is it something else?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Leroy - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 7:02 am:

    Hype? What hype? This is nomal coverage of him. It’s OBAMAMANIA, dontchaknow?

    A senator writing a book is nothing more than a money laundering exercise - they get a fat check up front, and all their political allies can buy boxes of their books as tribute. But no quid pro quo is involved here. No sireeee….

  2. - Beowulf - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 7:24 am:

    Gadzooks, Rich! You are becoming jaded by covering the political beat over the years. A political person seeking a back door to promote a book for his own self-enrichment? I am shocked, simply shocked.

    Those voters that helped elect Senator Obama know that he probably plans to graciously donate all of the profits from his book to some deserving charitable institution.

  3. - ZC - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 7:36 am:

    You got it, Rich. They all do this, though, so let’s not pick too much on Obama. Rudy Giuliani has been milking the will-he-run buzz for every book dollar it’s worth, even though he must know the Republicans would never nominate a man with his social views.

    Presidential buzz = media coverage. There was a very funny piece in the Washington Post a month back (link below) about 1970s-era Alaska Senator Mike Gravel, who is now the first formally announced Democratic Presidential candidate for 2008. Absolute nobody Mike Gravel got 50 reporters to show up at his announcement, 30 requests for interviews, and appearances on C-SPAN, Hannity & Colmes and the Drudge Report. The power of “I’m running.”

    I was thinking last night about all the times Obama has poked fun at his lack of experience: “I’m still finding out where the bathroom is on Capitol Hill” or “I guess I might pass a law” or “I’m the lowest man on the totem pole.” If Obama succumbs to the hype and decides to run, I’d love to cut that 30-second ad for Hillary: “Barack Obama. He’s found out where the bathroom is on Capitol Hill. Next, he wants to be President.”

  4. - zatoichi - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 7:51 am:

    What national politician does not write a book or has a book written? It is neutral PR that gets talk shows and blogs going. Add in a slick way for the masses to come back and get a personal autograph at some event and it is usually a can’t miss for a couple thousand copies. Can’t visualize it becoming “The Obama Code” or required beach reading so who cares.

  5. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 8:16 am:

    The book is all part of political image, entertainment, and fundraising.

    More importantly, he’s the future for Democrats and people are paying attention to what he says.

    He’s playing his cards well by talking as a moderate about prioritizing and solving problems rather than distractions and partisan divisions.

    He’s certainly becoming well positioned as a moderate for a national race.

    The question is whether he really is a true believer in good government actually trying to shift national debates?

  6. - bored now - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 8:25 am:

    i think more like a perfect storm. obama has been raising a lot of money for people, showing that contributors in other states want to see him. the press loves him. he’s a celebrity (we live in a celebrity culture; even manufactured celebrities, like american idols, get swooned over). democrats are scared that hilliary clinton could be the one presidential nominee that really stokes up the republican base in 2008, so they keep looking around. and obama offers the same distinction as hilliary, they both are not white men. his negatives might not seem so obvious in the glare of the bright lights.

    i question whether either will run, myself. obama hasn’t really shown himself to be a risk taker, and the structure he’s set up internally, where the top aides all have to agree before something moves forward, seems unlikely to spur a run…

  7. - RFK fan - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 8:44 am:

    Hey folks, I understand the comments about “national politicians always do this”, but there is a little bit of difference here: Obama wrote before he became famous. If you’ve read any of his “Dreams” book, you know that he actually can write a fair stick. He’s actually good at it.

  8. - Ray Coleman - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 8:47 am:

    Barack is the real deal. Senator Durbin nor Barack are creating this news. The public is interested in Obama around the country. Barack for President? Why not? I don’t think he really wants to run now, but the guy is a uniter, not a divider. We are one United States of America. Barack’s message and his persona fits the 21st century.

  9. - ron - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 9:47 am:

    obama under additional scrutiny will reveal he is not the real deal. he just happened to be in the right place at the right time running against a terrible candidate put up by the republicans. obama has offered nothing in the way of real solutions on tough issues. just a smile, a nod and some expected political rheroric. he votes consistently with durbin, kennedy,schumer and the other liberal fringe. the average voter is not paying attention to obama and obama can get by without taking tough stands on issues. once the media starts to question him under their microscope, the bloom willl be off the rose. i find it interesting he is very out front about his kenyan heritage, making a trip there this summer, but tends to avoid any discussion about his roots in kansas. the ultimate opportunist.

  10. - Uncle Stosh - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 9:57 am:

    >Barack is the real deal.
    >Senator Durbin nor Barack are creating this news.
    >The public is interested in Obama around the
    >Barack’s message and his persona fits the
    >21st century.


    Give me a 7+ figure budget, and I will have you voting for ‘the uniter’ Miss Piggy as a ’21st century candidate’ for president in 2008.

    (No Hillary jokes out of fairness, please)

  11. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 10:28 am:

    To answer your question Rich, yes, there could be a connection. It depends on whether you see Obama ready for a possible run in 2008. I voted for him because there was no one else, but for President?

    He’s more Oprah than Condi Rice. He’s all feel-good and gooey. He is only a uniter because he has not made public any stands that matter.

    He is a strong contender for the Democratic nomination in the future, because his stand reflect that political party. Both Obama and the Democrats are against Bush. What they are for, well, there is happy families, smiling children, hugs and kisses, good books, warm cookies, and Mommies!

    If you can run a presidential campaign on that and nothing else, well, he’s got a great shot!

  12. - Gregor Samsa - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 10:32 am:

    It’s way too early for Obama to be a serious contender. Durbin has been mentioned from time to time as a Dems V.P. candidate, and I’d like to see that, myself. Though I think it unlikely because of the typical balancing the ticket thing, which usually tries to find a VP from a region the presidential candidate is weak in. Obama for a V.P. this time around? Maybe, but much more likely after a bit of seasoning in the senate. If that goes well, then he’s got a chance.

    Right now this is all talk, is all it is, a trial balloon to keep measuring the politcal winds, to see just how much support or opposition is, and where it comes from.

    As a dem, I would fear the cross-party attractions of a McCain/Powell ticket. I might cross over for a ticket like that.

  13. - =bubba - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 10:38 am:

    A book? What has this guy got to say that I want to hear other than he is a gun grabbing chicago liberal.

  14. - HeKnowaBarack - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 10:59 am:

    Book not out til the fall. This is way too early for book hype. Unless he sez is running and picking Condi as the VEEPster

  15. - beantown - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 11:23 am:

    Obama’s presence on the ticket (in either the #1 or #2 spot), would ensure a huge year for IL Dems…

  16. - nobody sent - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 11:45 am:

    NPR’s On The Media had a nice segment last weekend about media coverage of presidential candidates, and the report cited Presidential buzz as helping both Colin Powell and Newt Gingrich sell books.

    This buzz is nothing new. I saw Obama give his keynote at the DNC, and after this incredible speech I happened to speak with a Japanese television reporter who was covering the convention. He wasn’t familiar with American politics, and he told me, “That man will be President one day.”

    Barack Obama has an undeniable appeal. He represents the success of the American Dream, and unlike any Republicans out there, he offers a positive, optimistic vision of what it means to be an American.

    He’s worked with Lugar on Nuclear Non-Proliferation issues, incredible important stuff that’s totally under the radar, but bi-partisan and effective. He’s worked with Senator Durbin on “looney left-wing” issues like making sure Veterans in IL aren’t getting shafted by the VA, and in the national atmosphere are vitriolic partisanship, he’s managed to remain above the fray, even when being attacked by McCain.

    Obama should run, he could be the Great President who repairs the damage that Bush has done.

  17. - Emily Booth - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 12:47 pm:

    Mr Obama is very photogenic. He has a beautiful smile much like former Senator Carol Mosely Braun. One term in the Senate is not enough experience, as far as I’m concerned, to be President. He ditched the anti-war supporters who voted him into office. He is anti-The Endangered Species Act. He is pro-Leave No Child Behind. I think he’s really a Republican. Furthermore, he has a paid attorney in his office who surfs the internet for comments about Obama. I know because I was contacted by him. I prefer Senator Durbin. He votes where I stand on issues and I’m for him 110%. I can count on him. Senator Obama? I don’t think I’ll be voting for him in the next election (if he runs).

  18. - SenorAnon - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 1:06 pm:

    It is funny how much blind rhetoric is heaped at Obama by his detractors here. NO EXPERIENCE! LIBERAL! UNTESTED! 15 MINUTES UP!

    You’ve been saying that for two years now (an ETERNITY in politics), and anytime some young up-and-comer appears in GOP circles (or perceived up-and-comer), from Aaron Schock to Richard Irvin to Bill Brady and beyond you tout them as “The Republican Obama” (oh, and keep on dreaming about that).

    Should he? Shouldn’t he? Who knows? Certainly no one who has nothing better to do than parrot tired GOP talking points about the “fringe left” or wax on about making a campaign ad stringing his self-deprecating comments together (umm…no). Certainly not me. Nor you.

    But to suggest he isn’t smart is idiotic. To suggest that being media savvy and photogenic is somehow detrimental to running for office is not well considered. And to say he couldn’t do a better job that the current occupant of the White House is to show an astounding lack of awareness of just how bad this current administration is.

  19. - ONE MAN CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 2:34 pm:



  20. - Scott - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 3:12 pm:

    “The pundits — the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states, red states for Republicans, blue states for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states. We coach Little League in the blue states and yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the red states. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the Stars and Stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”

    Who doesn’t want this guy?

  21. - capitol view - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 3:46 pm:

    John Kennedy had a cup of coffee in the US House and was in his first Senate term when he ran for President - and was greener than Obama is now when he ran for VP four years earlier.

    The longer you are in Washington, the more you have a voting record that can be used against you.

    It’s easy to not take Obama seriously, when you are from Illinois. Voters in Arizona are the most skeptical of a McClain presidential race. Imagine what most Illinoisians thought of Lincoln in his day.

    So he’s probably a lightweight when it comes to foreign policy, and military matters. So are almost all the governors who have run for the presidency.

  22. - RFK fan - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 5:15 pm:

    Actually, JFK was in his second Senate term when he ran for President, having been re-elected to the Senate in 1958. He had six years in the House and eight in the Senate before moving to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

  23. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 7:18 pm:

    One man can make a difference by TURNING OFF THE CAPS LOCK.

  24. - Emily Booth - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 9:14 pm:

    Abraham Lincoln practiced law and rode the Circuit of Court for over 20 years before he became president. He was active in Illinois politics for longer than that.

  25. - Scott - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 11:06 pm:

    Emily, you are correct, but Lincoln won in a fluck. He was a Rep for 2 years and in the State House for several more, but he was always the second guy in Illinois. Douglas was the person who most would predict as the next President. Douglas lost because the Dems split that election year (which the Republicans of our time soon will).

    It should be pointed out; however, that in the end Lincoln did win Illinois.

  26. - Anon - Wednesday, May 31, 06 @ 11:55 pm:

    Yes, it’s publicity for the book with a political pr bonus

  27. - Ray Coleman - Thursday, Jun 1, 06 @ 6:40 am:



    Where can I find a copy of that Supreme Court Ruling. That ruling disturbs me.

  28. - Marta Elena - Thursday, Jun 1, 06 @ 6:41 am:

    I think the people urging him to run are interested in a candidate that doesn’t have any baggage. But I wonder if urgining to run is just part of the political pandering.

    As far as this Obamanation - I think the American people are looking for someone to lead them - and for some reason they are strangely attracted to Obama.

  29. - For Ray Coleman - Thursday, Jun 1, 06 @ 11:43 am:

    US Supreme Court Decision on “whistleblowers”

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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