A priceless anecdote on the front page of the Washington Post this morning:
After weeks of arduous negotiations, on April 6, 2006, a bipartisan group of senators burst out of the “President’s Room,” just off the Senate chamber, with a deal on new immigration policy.
As the half-dozen senators — including John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) — headed to announce their plan, they met Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who made a request common when Capitol Hill news conferences are in the offing: “Hey, guys, can I come along?” And when Obama went before the microphones, he was generous with his list of senators to congratulate — a list that included himself.
“I want to cite Lindsey Graham, Sam Brownback, Mel Martinez, Ken Salazar, myself, Dick Durbin, Joe Lieberman . . . who’ve actually had to wake up early to try to hammer this stuff out,” he said.
To Senate staff members, who had been arriving for 7 a.m. negotiating sessions for weeks, it was a galling moment. Those morning sessions had attracted just three to four senators a side, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) recalled, each deeply involved in the issue. Obama was not one of them. But in a presidential contest involving three sitting senators, embellishment of legislative records may be an inevitability, Specter said with a shrug.
Of course, for most of my readers, the fact that Obama was less involved in creating legislation widely seen as amnesty than he claimed is a plus, not a minus.
Then there’s this story…
Immigration is a case in point for Obama, but not the only one. In 2007, after the first comprehensive immigration bill had died, the senators were back at it, and again, Obama was notably absent, staffers and senators said. At one meeting, three key negotiators recalled, he entered late and raised a number of questions about the bill’s employment verification system. Kennedy and Specter both rebuked him, saying that the issue had already been resolved and that he was coming late to the discussion. Kennedy dressed him down, according to witnesses, and Obama left shortly thereafter.
“Senator Obama came in late, brought up issues that had been hashed and rehashed,” Specter recalled. “He didn’t stay long.”
Obviously, with Kennedy endorsing Obama, that little spat is long forgotten. Water under the bridge, as they say up at Chappaquiddick.
Also it sounds like Obama keeps referring to “legislation I put forward with my colleague Chris Dodd” that Dodd unveiled with Rep. Barney Frank.
The story also goes over Hillary’s description of her role in the Northern Ireland peace process, and starting SCHIP.
As that story continued, I kept waiting for “Hillary Clinton later claimed that she, too, was involved in negotiations, and dodged sniper fire along the way.”