[Bumped up for discussion purposes.]
* So, where will Obama’s Springfield kick-off be held? As Scott Fornek reports, it may be too cold to have it outside.
“What if it’s five below?” asked one Democratic strategist. “What will it look like if everyone is huddled together like they are at a Green Bay Packers game? Will that look good? . . . You want visuals of people who are happy.”
The Sangamon Auditorium is booked that evening for an Illinois Symphony Orchestra concert and the convention center has no historical significance [corrected sentence]. The Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is off limits to politics. The Old State Capitol is too small. Lincoln’s home was “never discussed.” Did they think this through all the way? Stay tuned for an update later.
* The Tribune has an interesting story about people coming out of the woodwork in droves to help Obama’s campaign, although the headline “Splinter groups line up behind Obama” is a bit strange. Here are some of the relevant local aspects:
In southern Illinois, one gun-rights advocate is recommending Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to his hunting friends and talking about forming a group with the working title “Sportsmen for Obama.”
“I don’t agree with everything he says about guns, but he gets the sportsman’s point of view on it,” said state Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Norris City), who served with Obama in the state legislature. “He would never do anything to hurt hunters, because he has bothered to get to know us and listen to us.” […]
Friends from the Illinois legislature are offering to work as a truth-squad against attacks on his Statehouse record. In the Quad Cities in western Illinois, local Democrats want to help Obama launch his foray into nearby Iowa, which holds the nation’s first caucuses. A Chicago minister volunteered to take time off from his church to work for the campaign full time. […]
State Sen. John Cullerton (D-Chicago) has offered to put together a team of lawmakers to tout and defend Obama’s record in the General Assembly, where he served in the state Senate for eight years.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) is offering to introduce Obama around the House, where many members haven’t had a chance to get to know him.
North Shore Democrats say they are getting calls from volunteers who want to make bus trips to promote Obama in Iowa. In the Quad Cities, local Democrats are offering to set up a base of operation for the Iowa caucuses.
* Bernie Schoenburg quotes a couple of Democratic state legislators gushing over the presidential hopeful.
He’s still the same guy,” Fritchey said.
Fritchey said it’s the right time in political history for Obama, that people want “a new type of candidate and a new type of dialogue.”
While it was obvious Obama was a “quality guy,” Fritchey said, he doesn’t think anyone could have predicted that his fame would have grown so quickly.
“Was it clear he was an intelligent, thoughtful legislator? Absolutely,” Fritchey said. “Did you know that he was going to be bigger than the Beatles? No.”
* The AP does an opposition research piece on Obama’s days at the Illinois Statehouse: “Obama record in state legislature offers possible ammunition for critics”
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama may have a lot of explaining to do.
He voted against requiring medical care for aborted fetuses who survive. He supported allowing retired police officers to carry concealed weapons, but opposed allowing people to use banned handguns to defend against intruders in their homes. And the list of sensitive topics goes on. […]
One vote that especially riled abortion opponents involved restrictions on a type of abortion where the fetus sometimes survives, occasionally for hours. The restrictions, which never became law, included requiring the presence of a second doctor to care for the fetus.
“Everyone’s going to use this and pound him over the head with it,” said Daniel McConchie, vice president and chief of staff for Americans United for Life.
* The AP also has a list of some of the more hot-button bills he voted on and sponsored. Here are a few:
Voted against making permanent the repeal of the state’s 5 percent sales tax on gasoline. (2000) […]
Voted against restrictions on public funding of abortion. (2000) […]
Voted against letting people argue self-defense in court if charged with violating local weapons bans by using a gun in their home. (2004) […]
Unsuccessfully sponsored measure to expunge some criminal records and create an employment grant program for ex-criminals. (2002) […]
Voted against making gang members eligible for the death penalty if they kill someone to help their gang. (200
* The Sun-Times’ Mary Mitchell looks at the race angle and makes this interesting observation.
If Obama is indeed counting on the black vote — like all Democrats count on the black vote — that could only become a problem if Sharpton jumps into the race.
“I’m waiting to see if someone raises the issues I want to see raised,” Sharpton told reporters in November when he announced he had formed an exploratory committee.
With Sharpton in the race, we can expect to hear some of the “but is he black enough?” rhetoric that tainted Obama’s unsuccessful run against U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush in 1999.
* ABC’s The Note (which can be excruciatingly juvenile) has what it calls the “Best David Axelrod quote (of the news cycle)“
“There is such a compulsion on the part of the political community and political media community to create a steel cage match between Clinton and Obama you can almost see the fight posters.”
* And this isn’t local at all, but is still scurrilous: Limbaugh called “Barack Hussein Obama” a “half-minority”
What a twit.
*** UPDATE *** Chuck Goudie reports that Obama has upped his security detail.
On Monday, even before he posted the website video announcing that he was forming a presidential exploration committee, Senator Obama had increased the level of security around him. As he toured Martin Luther King Day events in Chicago, Obama seemed better insulated than he had a few weeks ago.
To those closest to Obama, that security is paramount.
“There have always been crazy people in the world. There always will be crazy people in the world. But he’s made the decision that he’s not going to let the threat of that stand in the day way of what he wants to do. That’s a courageous position for him to take. It’s a tough decision to make,” said Valerie Jarrett, Obama adviser.