Sweet Friday column: Obama tells Sun-Times links with YouTube anti-Hillary admaker only "attenuated." Small world--Obama Senate spokesman once roomed with ad creator.

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WASHINGTON -- White House hopeful Barack Obama told the Chicago Sun-Times his campaign had "no way of knowing" that the creator of the anti-Hillary Rodham Clinton YouTube ad worked for a campaign vendor and asserted that the ties were only "attenuated."

Clinton, asked by the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday about the impact of the Internet spot and YouTube on the 2008 presidential race, said the campaign is in "new territory for everybody.''

"We are all trying to figure out what this new technology means not only to political campaigns but to how we do business, how we relate to one another, so there is going to be changes and challenges that none of us could have foreseen,'' she said.

Obama told the Sun-Times on Thursday that his campaign was not damaged by the revelation that the ad maker, Philip de Vellis, worked for Blue State Digital, the Washington firm whose co-founder, Joe Rospars, is on leave -- to work for the Obama campaign. Blue State holds a contract with the Obama campaign to provide technical Internet support and supply proprietary software. Though much is made that social networking tools such as YouTube "democratize" politics, the fact remains that in this case, de Vellis is a political professional.

Phone company analogy
Asked for his reaction to the links between his campaign and de Vellis, Obama said, "Yeah, very attenuated ties. ... Obviously, as I said before, we have no idea who this person was, we have no way of knowing who this person was. He doesn't work for us and my understanding is that the vendor had a policy of not doing this kind of stuff and as a consequence he has left."
Obama likened the situation to having "a phone contract with Verizon and an employee of a phone company does something that you know, we're not, we're not responsible for that."

de Vellis connection with Obama Senate press spokesman

The Obama campaign, however, will have to grapple with the reality that in the small world of Washington operatives, there are more ties than it probably would like. Before joining Blue State, de Vellis handled Internet chores in the campaign of Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).


'New sexy client'
Last year, Obama's Senate press secretary, Ben LaBolt, was the spokesman for the Brown campaign and roomed with de Vellis in an Ohio apartment. LaBolt only would echo the statement released by the Obama team: "The Obama campaign and its employees had no knowledge and had nothing to do with the creation of the ad."
De Vellis bragged about contributing to the official Obama Web site in a February e-mail: "I designed the MyBarackObama toolbox that is on the front page and all the sidebar pages." He even offered to take suggestions for improving the tools because he "can pass it along to the team."

Blue State Digital managing director Thomas Gensemer said de Vellis was writing about a software package, "MyBarackObama," that is part of its product line. "These are our assets," he said. He explained de Vellis' bragging as "we are a small company excited about having a new sexy client."

5 Comments

Lynn,

Did Joe Klein's employers and colleagues know that he wrote "Primary Colors?"

Of course not...

And you know what? My brother knows a guy who knows a guy who used to room with Dinesh D'Souza at Dartmouth. And you call me an Obama supporter?

So is this how you're going to make a name for yourself, Lynn? Trafficking in contrived innuendo? Or is that the editor's choice?

Seems like it's time for another blogger ethics panel.

I had believed Obama had absolutely no knowledge of this YouTube anti-Hillary internet commercial. But lo and behold, he endorses Dorthey Tillman in her aldermen's race. Even Jesse Jackson, Jr. supports her opponent and thinks she's too devisive and mediocre. Yes, the same Tillman that waved a gun in the city council. The same Tillman who once ranted, "the Voting Rights Act only pertains to African-Americans, not them mexicans." Oh yeah, she's always ranting about reparations. Therefore, maybe she'll ask Obama for reparations since his mother's side of the family had slave-owners in the past ancestry. I have to admit, I lost alot of respect for Obama. Looks like he's just another Cook County democrat when its all said.

Please, the guy worked for a company that Obama has a contract with AND his senate spokeswoman dormed with this guy too? WTF? Smells fishy.

Why is this non-story about a non-Obama tie-in still in the headlines 8 days after the event? We were more than done with it on the first day.

Meanwhile (and maybe, predicably), *nothing* on Bush's #2 appointee in the Interior Department pleading guilty in the Abramoff scandal.

Proves the point that you can't find real truth if you trust Republican corporate media.

Obama can do wahtever he wants, it's all for nothing. He's all fluff and no substance and gets more boring with each day. Will not be elected President.

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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 March 23, 2007 5:16 PM.

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