Media Blog

Obama 24/7

Senator Obama has agreed to “protective pool” press coverage, which is the same sort of coverage the press would give the president. Basically, there will now be a pool reporter with Obama wherever he goes. <a href="http://www.time-blog.com/swampland/2008/06/great_moments_in_campaign_cove.html” target=”_blank”>So far, the coverage is, let’s just say, less than riveting:

Pool Report
Amy Chozick
The Wall Street Journal.
No news. Lots of sitting around.
The inaugural day of the protective pool continued in Chicago. The pool rode in the motorcade from Midway Airport to Obama’s home and followed him to the gym, back to his house, to dinner with Michelle at an Italian restaurant and back to his house.
Here’s a rundown of the day (note: some of the times are estimates):
3:30pm Obama arrives at his Hyde Park home, a two-story redbrick house on a tree lined street with historic houses. His kids played in the sprinklers in the front yard. The candidate went inside to change clothes to go to the gym. The pool sat across the street and waited on a wall, later discovered to be covered in fire ants. There is a synagogue across the street from his house.

As amusing as it is to think of a reporter getting bitten by fire ants, this pool report from the <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2008/06/obamas_sunday_in_chicago_hairc.html” target=”_blank”>Chicago Sun-Times is even funnier:

He stopped home then headed off to a barbecue at the South Shore home of his long-time friend Dr. Eric Whitaker, who he has known since their days at Harvard — Whitaker was working on a master’s in public health while Obama worked on his law degree. Whitaker has a big side yard with huge swingset, soccer nets, and a basketball hoop and kids could be seen running around, screaming, having fun.
The slam against Chicago reporters is that we are so Tony Rezko-fixated we can’t write an innocuous pool report about a barbecue without dragging Rezko’s name into it. Not wanting to disappoint, here’s today’s Tony Rezko mention:
Whitaker was named director of the state department of Public Health after Obama recommended him to his friend Tony Rezko, who was screening applicants for top state posts for Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Rezko was later convicted of mail fraud for influence-peddling in the Blagojevich administration. Whitaker and Obama were never implicated in the case.
Here’s what Obama told the Sun-Times when asked about people he recommended to Rezko for state posts “I think we submitted just a list of people that were mostly, you know, some of them were people who’d sent us resumes in the past or other people we thought we might be interested but they weren’t people who were connected to our political organization in any meaningful way. Or they weren’t people I knew particularly well. The one exception I do remember talking to Tony about was Dr. Eric Whitaker, who was a longtime friend of mine from Harvard. He and I played basketball together when he was getting his masters in public health at Harvard, while was at law school there. He had expressed an interest in that job. He did contact me, or Tony contacted me, and I gave him a glowing recommendation because I thought he was outstanding.”
After leaving the state post, Whitaker served as executive vice president for

strategic affiliations and associate dean for community-based research at the

University of Chicago Medical Center, where Michelle Obama was also a

vice-president.
We’re still outside the barbecue. But I’ll file this now presuming there will be

no (more?) news today. If there is, I will send out an update.
Abdon M Pallasch

Political Reporter

Chicago Sun-Times

Nothing like a slow news Sunday to bring up the Barack/Michelle/Rezko connection!

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