Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Sweet column: Obama, wife fears for his safety. Says he has a "pretty good chance of winning the nomination.''

| 39 Comments

Sen. Barack Obama is concerned about his personal security —telling the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board Thursday that he and his wife fear there is a potential for violence — even if he does not run for president. “Being shot, obviously, that is the least-attractive option,’’ Obama said.

The Illinois Democrat told the Sun-Times he has concluded a 2008 White House bid “would be viable��? and he would have “a pretty good chance of winning the nomination.’’

For the first time, Obama talked about the downside of his swelling popularity, before his expected presidential announcement in January, after a vacation in his native Hawaii.

Security, Obama said, referring to his wife, is “something that is on Michelle’s mind. And the minds of many of my friends. “I think it is something that will have to be addressed if I ran. You are not assigned Secret Service protection until you are effectively the nominee.��? Obama said he “might have to build in��? his own security provisions.

“Now I will tell you, this is something, this is one of the least-attractive — not the part about being shot, obviously, that is the least-attractive option. But even just having a security apparatus around you; one of the things that I have been very proud over the last several years, is, for all the hoopla, I am not an entourage guy. “. . . I have been accessible, and Michelle and I have gone out of our way not to change our habits. Even if I am not to run for president, the crush of attention has created a different set of problems.��? Obama’s family has been nervous for some time for his safety.

On Sunday, Obama found himself surrounded by hundreds of people at two stops in New Hampshire. In Nairobi, Kenya, last August, Obama at a stop grabbed a bullhorn to talk to thousands of men stampeding in a street to see him. During that Kenyan visit, Obama’s half sister, Auma, gave an interview to Laurie Abraham of Elle magazine in which she worried about his safety. “Not to be offensive, there are crazy people in America as well, with crazy ideas. And at the end of the day, what matters is that he’s a black man. The history of America is quite violent,’’ Auma said in a story in the Elle December issue.

In other matters:

†Obama met with Mayor Daley on Thursday to discuss an endorsement of the mayor — who is up for a sixth term next year — and running for president. Obama suggested he brought up the scandals that have plagued Daley’s City Hall. “I think he is trying to fix those problems.��? Obama said. As to a presidential run, Daley “had some thoughts and suggestions.��?

†Obama would start a presidential campaign second only to chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). While first lady, Clinton was flattened in a bid to establish a universal health care coverage system. Obama, asked what he might do with the abundance of political capital he has, said that in the long term, he wanted to “set the stage��? to “move aggressively to universal health care,��? though not modeled on the Canadian system.

39 Comments

Hi,

Obama is a young guy. If Al Gore were to run again, he should choose Obama for VP. I think those two would have a decent shot at winning in 08. Plus, wouldn't Obama have security then? (I don't know). Anyway, he'd get real White House experience, and could run as a older experienced candidate. The problems that George Bush will leave behind are likely to be severe, and I'm sure he will do everything in his power to make the White House an utter catastrophe for the next guy (if it's a democrat)-I think that's the kind of person he is.
Remember, after being President, there's not much left. You have time.

Given our political history, and considering the volatile state of our country right now, I think he is entirely justified in his fears. I hope he takes every precaution he can, because there are terrible forces loose in this country today who will stop at nothing to retain power. The fact that these forces have nearly led the nation to ruin will only intensify their fear and paranoia.
As far as Obama's age and experience: remember JFK. It's ironic that many of those who question his experience had no qualms about installing W.

i agree. a Gore/Obama administration would do wonders to repair the devestated domestic and foreign standing of this once great country. and give Sen. Obama enough experience to take the wheel. it'll take decades to fix what this regime has done.

These are very valid concerns for the Senator. Many follow, few lead. I think Senator Obama would best serve the country to finish out his term in the Senate, building up political experience.

The American Presidential Parthenon needs a new bust...

...a new perspective...

...a new hue...

...or a new gender...

...for those who say Obama isn't "seasoned" enough I say this...

...no one can be "PREPARED" for the White House...

...one must instead have the right chemistry for the job...

...in my opinion- with his upbringing- Obama has a head start on the field of potential candidates...

I agree! Let Obama take the VP job for 4 years and the transition to President will be much easier. I also like the Al Gore - Obama ticket.

I agree with Joe Lystad's idea of Al Gore and Obama for the Democratic ticket. Gore has the experience and a lot of know how and Obama the charisma. I do believe they run a better chance than Hillary Clinton + no matter who. She simply is not convincing. Let's make it happen!!

Hopefully, nobody gets shot. But I prize an intelligent, thoughtful, man who happens to be half black over an ignorant rich kid posing as a good ol' boy.

By the way, why is Senator Obama referred to by some as lacking in experience? Eight years in his state legislature and now two more in the US Senate.

Let's see, George ran an oil company into the ground, was given a peanut share in a baseball club, and was Texas Governor.

Hmmmm...........Opus and I choose Mr. Obama.

Obama may have time but does the United States of America have time. Do our children and their children have time.
There is no better time than NOW for a HUGE Change

You hate to hear this, but he is wise to be concerned. In an America as polarized as we are now, an America with our sad history of violence, an America immersed in violence parading as "entertainment", and an America that voted in a violent republican administration, he should be very concerned. Too bad for us if this keeps him out.

I tend to agree with the above comments that Al Gore is the man of choice and that Obama would be a great V.P. choice.
Together, they would put the emphasis back on the important issues that the current administration has totally ignored, even refuted.
Regarding Hillary, she plays the middle way too much. We need honesty, clarity and vision if we are to avoid utter disaster as a nation and as a world.

I left politics afterRFK was shot so I am running scared I dont want a really great person to run because I

Hi Joe, You have a good point about him having security after he is elected but I believe the danger is going to be after he says he is going to run and he would not make it to the election, otherwise you statement is correct Gore/Obama would be perfect for starting us back on the path to prosperity, but you'll only hear Republicans saying 'I though he could fix it, why isn't it fixed yet?' And it's going to take years to get us back on the right track (isn't that an ironic expression)

It's sad that after all this time we are still hung up on this BS issue. Race doesn't mean anything and I especially hate it when I hear anyone say 'well, he's one of the good ones' and I don't care who the 'He' is or what race they are there are good and bad among us even within our own families, let alone our race. I try to keep my values in check by remembering that all change starts with me, and that is true for each and everyone one of us. We all need to do as much as we can to cure our society of the bigotry cancer that is threatening our land, whether it is aimed at Black, White, Muslim or Jew or whatever we need to stop the ignorance. I wish I could offer answers to my suggestions but we all need to do whatever it is and it all starts with changing the way we think and not putting up with the morons who spew that hate.

I'm sorry for rambling like this, it's just very upsetting to me that a good honest man like Mr. Obama and his family need to even think about security in that way for such an outdated reason.

Thanks for reading (if you made it this far).

Don't worry he won't get shot!
He is a puppet of the ruling elites and their tool. Unlike the Kennedys who were killed for going against the establishment.

Mark M. hits it EXACTLY! ...for those who say Obama isn't "seasoned" enough I say this...

...no one can be "PREPARED" for the White House...

...one must instead have the right chemistry for the job...

For those who suggest he "get more experience," I would add that one gets exactly one chance to be a fresh face, which is what the country wants now.

For those who say he is "running for Vice President," consider that in the previous 10 Presidential races, the Vice Presidential nominee has been an individual who ran for President earlier in the same year only once--in 2004. One does not "run for Vice President."

Dear Barack,

I love you with my whole heart, and would love to take a bullet for you; a bullet would not stop my infatuation for you.

You'r greatest fan of all time,
Lynn Sweet

Aren't you Dems worried about Gore going all wooden again like he did last time he ran for the Presidency?

It's no joke. Obama would do well to ALWAYS have people w/camcorders placed strategically.
http://www.lizmichael.com/bushykno.htm

a richardson-obama ticket would wrap up the tough on immigration folks, the hispanic voting bloc, the moderate and possibly the more conservative democrat base, and the african-american vote.

richardson has international respect and diplomatic experience, a tough on illegal immigration record, and is widely respected by both parties.

obama is personable, has some domestic experience and respect, articulates the need and challenge of changes in our country and way our government works, and can appeal to the family values oriented voters of both parties in the key middle america states.

richardson-obama in 2008 is a wise, politically justifiable, and would have a good chance of being a winning ticket.

If Obama does not vigorously oppose the Iraq war he will probably be safe. Both MLK and Malcolm were dead men walking after opposing the Vietnam War. Both men were warned not to take a position. And both men expected attacks on their lives after speaking out. Stay silent on Iraq Obama.

If I were Obama and assuming he really is a DC outsider and not just the latest CFR Trojan horse, I wouldn't worry so much about a bullet. I would be concerned about a small plane crash ala Paul Wellstone.

Political assassinations utilizing patsies (Oswald) has gone the way of the dodo. A private security team might be wiser that the Secret Service.

Why are you all even talking about this? Fact: When Hilary's spin-masters (Carville, Begala, Lockhart, McAuliff) get done ripping Obama and Gore, you folks will want to 'tar and feather' those two.

We are experiencing the greatest need for change ever known in the history of this country. The work that is to be done requires the full attention of at least twice that of prior presidential terms. This next term will require that the vice president and the prsident will need to work hand in hand without even a care for which of the two is named president; the important part is to establish the relationship that has the greatest potential for getting elected. When 2012 rolls around, there will still be plenty to do to repair what has been broken by the present administraTion, but, by this time, the president/vice president issue will easily resolve with minimal conflict due to the resolve of the administration's attempts.
As for getting shot, there is a potential for any good change to meet with bad conflict manners, and the more viable the positive force, the greater the negative opposition. We are back to negotiating one of the most primitive laws of nature. If we do this election thing right, the elected result will be one of the most valuable national treasures for the next four years; we need to treat it as such and give it the attention it needs to minimize the risk of violence.
Doing this presidential election thing has never been so important. Let's get it right this time and take advantage of the positive change for which it was designed.
.

Barack Obama has a vision and he is a natural leader. He is articulate, educated, brilliant. Once in a rare while we witness the appearance on the political scene of someone with Barack Obama's charisma, with that instantly recognizable presidential aura, someone whose presence proves mesmerizing, magnetic. Barack Obama will be president. Whether in 2008 or later.
Not ready for prime time? Pleeeze! More ready than anyone else on the bleak candidate landscape...except if Al Gore goes for it. Then, out of desire for poetic justice I would support Al Gore and would hope for a Gore-Obama ticket.


ok, we have given the old white guys plenty of chances and none really got it right. let's try something new. a black guy or a woman? sounds good to me.

Yeah, Obama is a real agent for change. Ask Tony Reszko and Todd Stroger, among others. He is an opportunist, like most. Now, he's whining in the media in order to achieve one or both of two ends: (1) to draw comparisons between himself and JFK ("What? I didn't make those comparisons ... OTHERS did ..."); and, (2) to snag himself a free secret service security detail.

I just don't understand the veritable religion building up around this "messiah!"

This courageous man called Bambi, "Dont call me Bambi, when I was a kid I was teased!", Thats the kind of bravery to lead us in the war on terror!

Quite frankly, either a Hillary-Obama or Gore-Obama ticket would be a winner, IMHO. Security for Obama (and all candidates) should be a concern to us all. I remember the enthusiasm I had when Bobby was running in 1968. I felt that same enthusiasm after reading The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama.

Sad, isn't it that the best of each generation are always in danger for their lives.

Back just to post two links you might want to look at
http://www.helpaveteran.org
http://obama-08.blogspot.com

This country has not elected a Democrat president from the north since Kennedy over 40 years ago. The nominee will be Al Gore or John Edwards, or else the Republicans will win again.

A comment was made by Lonestar that "nobody runs for Vice President". True in a sense BUT that is exactly what he is doing. While looking forward to the #1 spot, he is making himself popular enough, with the media over glorifying assistance, that should he not get it, the person chosen #1 would be a fool not to grab him for the #2 spot.

As far as the securiy question and his fear for safety of he and his family, a secret service detail would sure bring more publicity would it not? I do not discount the need for security, just the manner it is being addressed. Until he is nominated for President or Vice President he should get his own self bought and paid for private security force. He can certainly afford it with his reported recent income for last year at somewhere in the $1.65 million range.

I think that the possibility of a Clinton-Gore ticket is very remote. There is no love lost between the two camps and the ego and the bore would not click together or with the voters.

If Barry Hussein Obama thinks he is more likely to get assassinated just because he is half black, then he is showing himself to be a racist, not to mention very ignorant on crime stats in this country. Most people know that black on white crime is much more common in this country than vice versa.

And with comments like the last one, it's no wonder that the senator will not win Miss., Tenn., Ala., Tex. and certain portions of the North.

Thank you for showing us the light 'Jerry.'

Jerry is an ass who shows up and put race into everything no matter what. You are too stupid to be a regarded as anything but a fool. You could never be a leader of men because even the most rigid white supremist wouldn't take you seriously. I thought you only bugged Mary Mitchell with your racism. But I guess as long as someone is talking about a non-white you'll show up with your retarted hatred. You're not a true racist, you're just a silly little boy with time on your hands who invaded his parents computer. Go out and play little boy. Your world is a very small place. You need attention,so here it is. Now,go away.

Obama's wife said that he was at risk for being shot "as a black man" whenever he goes to the gas station. Who does she think is going to shoot him? Are non-blacks free from risk? I'm curious what she meant by that statement. There is nothing in that interview that I had more of a problem with than that one. It was disappointing to me and made me think that these two Harvard graduates still view themselves as victims.

Obama is NOT the way to go. People need to wake up to this fake left-right paradigm set up to give you the idea that you have choice. You dont.... Obama's wife is a member of the CFR, the same organization that is trying to collapse the American Middle class by joining Mexico, Canada, and USA. Vote Ron Paul!! www.ronpaul2008.com

It sickens me to see the comment that Lynn Sweet put in. "Iwould take the bullet for you Barak". This is just another showing that people are emotionally warped when it comes to this man. He is NOT the Messia, he is the opposite! He should worry about being shot. There are alot of people out there "worshipping "this man and also alot of people who will not let him in office. The smart ones. The ones who wants a Pesident that is proud of our flag and doesn't have a wife that is proud of our country for the first time (because her husband can run), yet we are synical slobs (Us Americans that they want to "help"????)Wake up and smell the deceit. The ones that can actually think for themselves and see what he is truely offering will not let him within 100 feet of the Whitehouse door!

I think we need a president who is not afraid to put his hand on his chest when we say the 'Pledge' and who has a wife that isnt just proud for the FIRST time in her adult life just because her black husband was able to run for president. Black, white, green, or purple, we are a nation of mixed nationalities and the next presidents wife should be proud because we have a great nation. It may need some help, but it is the greatest in the world. And I for one was proud when our men fought in all of our wars with pride and I was proud when 911 happened and they flew the flag to show the world we were wounded but still standing. Since my father and late husband are both buried in a National Cemetary in Mo. I for one am proud that I can have pride in my country without having to have my spouse run for office, other wise according to Michelle Obama, people like me would never have been able to have any pride at all in the good ole U. S. of A.

woe it's been a long time since anyone hit this site, I just wanted to say to Lou Crossland, I agree with you 100% I am proud to be an American also, and my husband did not run for any office to make me proud, My kids are proud Americans, my son has been to Iraq 2 times because he is proud of his country, and it really ticks me off that my son is willing to lay his life down for the likes of Michelle Obama and her husband and kids, Sure they want to be protected and safe, well why should they have peace? look how long it took them to become real Americans, what is scary, Are they really Americans in their heart? or is it just words?

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 15, 2006 1:47 AM.

Sweet Column: Rep. Lipinski tapped for Transportation panel. Dad Bill a lobbyist. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sen. Bayh chased out of 2008 race by Obama, Clinton. "Too many Goliaths," he said. is the next entry in this blog.

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