Last night, The Politico’s Mike Allen published a petty,
trite hit piece
on Barack Obama — entitled Rookie Mistakes Plague Obama
— claiming that Obama “has also shown a tendency toward seemingly minor
contradictions and rhetorical slips” and referencing “imprecise
or incomplete statements by Obama over the years.” As Bunch noticed,
Allen’s story was “highlighted on the Drudge Report no later than 18
minutes after it was filed by Allen (how does he do it!).” Drudge continues
prominently to promote The Politico’s story today … ..

Then read Boehlert.

More from Greg
, with The Carpetbagger having the most fitting headline.

Then the
chimed in, offering up a link to something that stirred up the storm
this past weekend. It’s a story about Barack Obama from the Chicago Tribune.

In his best-selling autobiography, “Dreams from My Father,” Obama
describes having heated conversations about racism with another black student,
“Ray.” The real Ray, Keith Kakugawa, is half black and half Japanese.
In an interview with the Tribune on Saturday, Kakugawa said he always considered
himself mixed race, like so many of his friends in Hawaii, and was not an
angry young black man.

He said he does recall long, soulful talks with the young Obama and that
his friend confided his longing and loneliness. But those talks, Kakugawa
said, were not about race. “Not even close,” he said, adding that
Obama was dealing with “some inner turmoil” in those days.

“But it wasn’t a race thing,” he said. “Barry’s biggest struggles
then were missing his parents. His biggest struggles were his feelings of
abandonment. The idea that his biggest struggle was race is [bull].”

Then there’s the copy of Life magazine that Obama presents as his racial
awakening at age 9. In it, he wrote, was an article and two accompanying photographs
of an African-American man physically and mentally scarred by his efforts
to lighten his skin. In fact, the Life article and the photographs don’t exist,
say the magazine’s own historians. … ..

not-so-simple story of Barack Obama’s youth

The AP’s Pickler has a story on Obama, too, covering something that I also
witnessed this past weekend.

The differences among the Democratic candidates were on display Saturday
in Las Vegas, where the contenders answered questions about health care.

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, the only other candidate to serve
less time in elective office than Obama, described in detail his health care
plan to provide insurance for all Americans. New York Sen. Hillary Clinton
doesn’t have a written plan yet, but no one questions her expertise, since
she was the chief proponent of the issue during her husband’s presidency.

Daniel Romo, 45, a clerk at Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles and a member
of the Service Employees International Union that sponsored the forum, left
with Clinton and Edwards as his top choices. Obama did not impress him.

“I believe that he needed to know a little more about health care issues
and he was just unprepared,” Romo said. … ..

yet to address perception he’s style over substance

There’s a big difference between Mike Allen’s “petty, trite hit piece,”
as Greenwald rightly describes it, with Allen joining up with Drudge to smear Barack
Obama, and serious questions being raised about the preparedness of Obama and
his team. It simply cannot be ignored by any of us, especially given the events of this past
weekend and Mr. Obama’s lack of preparedness on health care, which came with his
own statement
that he’d be ready with a plan in two months. Mr. Obama is leaving
himself wide open for Mike Allen – Matt Drudge attack dog pettiness, because
he’s shown up unprepared on the policy side at least once. When comparing Obama to Edwards and Clinton on health care, you
simply cannot escape the judgment, if you’re being honest about it.
Obama and his supporters need to have a come to Jesus with and about their candidate and his team. That much is obvious, but they also have to face their own willingness to take constructive criticisms when they occur, as well as the challenges to an Obama candidacy when they arise and push back hard with something other than attacking the messenger. Silence is not golden in presidential primary politics.

It brings to mind something John McCain said recently on AIDS, which
I covered

And then someone asked about public funding for contraception in Africa to
prevent the spread of AIDS.

“I’m sure I’ve taken a position on it in the past,” he stammered
as he looked to his communications director. “I’m sure I’m opposed to
government funding.”

Sensing a vulnerable moment, reporters kept the questions coming. What about
sex education in the schools? Should it mention contraceptives? Or only abstinence,
like President Bush wants?

“I think I support the president’s present policy,” he said, tentatively.

More questions: Do condoms stop sexually transmitted disease?

A long pause.

A stern look. … ..

is stumped on the stump

McCain got slammed on his being unprepared, which was deserved. He also deserves scrutiny over his latest Iraq fantasy he’s pushing.

There’s another issue, which few are mentioning. Barack Obama is talented, even gifted, and his adversaries are looking for a weak spot. It’s obvious that the wingnuts think they’ve found it. It’s up to Barack Obama to push back and prove they have not.

We’re in a very hot contested primary year. If you’re reading this
blog or listening to my radio show you better come to grips with one thing. No matter the candidate,
I’m going to take out after him or her when something happens that reveals a
positive or a negative that shines a light on the candidate. No candidate is exempt, because I’m not
representing anyone in the ’08 primaries right now and may not the whole way
through. For some reason, the Democrats who have already taken sides, which is a good thing mind you, think their candidate is to be held above criticism, fact challenges and honest reporting, something that isn’t a good thing. Though credit is deserved to one California contingent who actually apologized to me in an email for some of the comments/emails I got, saying they looked forward to changing my mind on Obama over the next months. Just to clarify, I have no opinion of Mr. Obama in general terms, just that this past weekend was not a good one for him.

Right now Barack Obama is taking incoming, much of which is ridiculous wingnut
hit jobs helped along by the GOP, but other criticisms and issues being raised
are justified, especially when they are born about by the facts like what happened this past weekend. Mind you, that’s only one event, but with Barack’s numbers rising the scrutiny was bound to rise with it. We need to be able
to separate the two types of criticisms. Oh, and before Obama fans start screaming, remember that I was threatened with a lawsuit in a post where I dared to push back for Barack. Besides, Clinton and Edwards would catch heat for being unprepared.
Barack Obama should too, because if Obama is our candidate for ’08, this is nothing compared to what the Republican machine will do.