Barack Obama: January 2007 Archives


With only two years in the Senate, Barack Obama will seek to dilute the germane question of his experience level by running against Washington.

No place better to start than in the heartland of America.

from the Obama campaign...
Obama to Announce Presidential Decision at Old State Capitol in Springfield

Washington, DC - Senator Barack Obama will make his official announcement about a Presidential campaign at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois on February 10, 2007. Doors will open at 9 AM and the event is free and open to the public.

The public should enter at the corner of S 6th St. & E Adams St.

More information on Senator Obama's schedule following the event in Springfield will be released early next week.

Press interested in covering the event should RSVP by sending an email to

###Press who plan to stay in Springfield on Friday night prior to event should make hotel reservations on their own.

Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama has apparently reconsidered his position against setting a "date certain" for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq.

Barack Obama and John Edwards are working to pack the room with their supporters at the winter meeting of the Democratic National Convention where all the White House hopefuls will speak. Both campaigns e-mailed appeals on Tuesday morning asking to show up at the Washington Hilton hotel on Friday.

Hat tip to Bernard Schoenburg of the Springfield Journal Register who reported today that Barack Obama will make his 2008 presidential bid "official" at the Old State Capitol on the morning of Feb. 10 with the Prairie Capital Convention Center backup in case of bad weather. My Sun-Times colleague Scott Fornek earlier wrote a story suggesting the Old State Capitol would be a logical place for the launch.

That will unleash the Barack Obama as Abe Lincoln narrative. Lincoln delivered his "House divided" speech at that historic spot and the announcement is on Lincoln's birthday weekend. Obama is expected to vault over to Iowa, home to the first-in-the-nation 2008 caucus, after the announcement.

The upcoming winter meeting of the Democratic National Committee is the first beauty contest for the party's long list of White House contenders and a chance for someone other than Barack Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton to catch a headline.

There’s been a lot of stories the past few days about early Hollywood money for 2008 Democratic frontrunners Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. On this one, Hollywood is going for a surprise ending. Call it the Spielberg primary.

WASHINGTON -- Radioactive for more than a decade, universal health insurance emerged Thursday as a 2008 Democratic presidential primary issue for chief rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Before the serious stuff -- an analysis of Hillary Rodham Clinton's impressive ''shock and awe'' White House launch and Barack Obama's aggressive pushback to religious smear attacks -- this revelation:

I discovered the secret location of Obama's 2008 presidential exploratory campaign office in Washington.

Sen. Barack Obama's Senate office gathered a dozen religious leaders--a cross section of faiths-- to sign a letter deploring the false "outrageous charges" about his early schooling in Indonesia made in conservative outlets. The first report was published as Obama launches a White House run.

· Setting the record straight, the letter said "Senator Obama never attended a radical Madrassa nor was he ever educated in a wahabi school. In the years he lived in Indonesia as a child, from ages 6 to 10, he attended a neighboring Catholic school for two years and then a public school."

Robert Gibbs, the chief spokesman for Sen. Barack Obama, issued a rare memo on Wednesday, on the two-part smear campaign started by Insight Magazine and picked up by Fox and other outlets: that Obama was educated at a radical Islamic school in Indonesia that bred extremists and that researchers for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton surfaced the information. It was an effort by a conservative outlet to take down two 2008 presidential contenders at once and make Obama seem like a character on "Sleeper Cell."

Neither was true. CNN sent a reporter to Jakarta to check out the school and showed in words, interviews and pictures that it was secular in nature. That there were female students also made the point that the school, in an upper class neighborhood, was no madrassa.

Gibbs' memo does not mention Clintons' name. What's interesting is that he is explicit for the first time I recall in saying that Obama "has never been a Muslim." That clears up a small point in the Obama biography, now under a microscope as he starts a White House campaign. Obama moved to Jakarta at age 6 and returned to Hawaii four years later.

It should not matter of course, if Obama or anyone was raised as a Muslim or any other faith. The threats posed by Islamic militant fundamentalists are something else.

Click below for the full Gibbs memo.

This from Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois.....

Did you notice....

New 2008 Democratic presidential rivals Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois sitting a row apart in the House chamber.....

Barack Obama's week-old presidential campaign has been hit with a smear. Hillary Clinton's White House bid, launched Saturday, has been attacked with an unfounded accusation.

It's the Axelrod primary.
First Mayor Daley breaks his custom and endorses Sen. Barack Obama for president. Daley usually never endorses in a presidential primary. But Obama is a "native son" and Daley gave Obama the nod.

On Monday, Obama endorsed Daley, who is up for re-election in a February primary with the potential of a March run-off. Obama made the endorsement at Daley's headquarters and seems to have found the mayoral record much improved.

Sen. Barack Obama's top Senate staff is very racially diverse, but only five of the 15 highest paid people are female.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) announced Saturday morning she is launching a 2008 White House exploratory committee. "I'm in. And I'm in to win."

Clinton immediately started to make the case for herself in a print and webcast statement with an aggresive tone. "I have never been afraid to stand up for what I believe in or to face down the Republican machine. After nearly $70 million spent against my campaigns in New York and two landslide wins, I can say I know how Washington Republicans think, how they operate, and how to beat them."

The two frontrunners in the 2008 Democratic race for the White House have now made it official. Clinton, 59 and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, 45, who opened his exploratory bid on Tuesday, begin at the top tier of a line of Democratic contenders. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is also starting an exploratory committee this weekend.

Obama e-mailed a reaction shortly after Clinton put in her White House bid. He said Clinton is a "good friend and a colleague whom I greatly respect. I welcome her and all the candidates, not as competitors but as allies in the work of getting our country back on track."

Obama has no other political events on his schedule before his official announcement on Feb. 10 in Springfield, Ill. either real world or virtual, via his web site while Clinton is filling in her web calendar.

Will this change?

Clinton, in a statement posted on her website said, " Starting Monday, January 22, at 7 p.m. EST for three nights in a row, I'll sit down to answer your questions about how we can work together for a better future. And you can participate live at my website." That's the day before, during and after the State of the Union speech President Bush delivers to Congress on Tuesday night.

Clinton. Obama. Richardson. The first major league viable female, African-American and Hispanic contenders for president.

Cliinton strategist Mark Penn, not mentioning Obama by name, took aim at him in a memo he wrote framing the argument on why Clinton is the strongest candidate.

"The last two Democratic presidential candidates started out with high favorable ratings and ended up on Election Day (and today) far more polarizing and disliked nationally," he wrote, referring to a CBS poll.

"Hillary is the one potential nominee who has been fully tested, with the Republicans spending nearly $70 million in the last decade to try to defeat her. She is not just strong, but the strongest Democrat in the field. Hillary is the only one able to match or beat the Republicans after years of their partisan attacks on her."

Clinton, born in Chicago and raised in Park Ridge, alluded to her north suburban roots in talking about herself. "I grew up in a middle-class family in the middle of America, where I learned that we could overcome every obstacle we face if we work together and stay true to our values."


She was brainy and popular but didn't have a high school boyfriend.

She was one of those conservative "Goldwater Girls" who didn't relate to Holden Caulfield when she first read Catcher In the Rye.

She took square dancing lessons at Eugene Field School in Park Ridge.

She went down to Grant Park to watch - not demonstrate - as kids her age were protesting during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

She changed her politics, became a lawyer and married a man who would be elected governor of Arkansas and who this week will be president. And she will be first lady.

Hillary Clinton, Maine South Class of '65 and formerly of 235 Wisner in Park Ridge, moves Wednesday from the governor's mansion in Little Rock to the White House.

During the (1992 presidential) campaign, she was portrayed as an unforgiving, hard-charging corporate lawyer. When she said during a Chicago campaign stop, "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and given teas," the image stuck and she has been trying to undo it since.

Publicly, she was seen as cold and calculating. But her high school friends remember her differently. Eldest of 3 children

Early on Oct. 26, 1947, 28-year-old Dorothy Emma Howell Rodham arrived at Edgewater Hospital, 5700 N. Ashland, to deliver her first child.

Some 12 hours later, Dorothy and Hugh Ellsworth Rodham, 34, then a sales manager for the Barrett Textile Corp., welcomed Hillary Diane into the world.

They took her home, a few blocks away at 5722 N. Winthrop, but the Rodhams didn't stay in the apartment near Ardmore Beach for long.

The Rodhams moved to northwest suburban Park Ridge in 1951, to the two-story, seven-room Georgian they bought for about $ 21,500. This became home to Hillary and her brothers, Hugh and Tony....
(excerpts from 1993 Lynn Sweet profile of Hillary Rodham Clinton)

Sen. Barack Obama's Democratic White House bid is surging in New Hampshire. That's according to a new survey by Zogby International. The freshman senator is at 23 percent support among New Hampshire Democrats to 19 percent each for top rivals Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina. On the GOP side, Sen. John McCain of Arizona leads.

Here's the warning label: "The survey of Democrats shows this race is as fluid as the 2004 race for the Democratic nomination was at this point in that election cycle. Eight in 10 said it is likely they will change their minds before they actually cast their ballots in the primary election," the polling report concluded.

Read about the entire poll at

for an excerpt, click below.

Here's the scoop. One of the first major fund-raisers for the budding Barack Obama presidential campaign will be hosted by entertainment moguls David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg -- that's the Hollywood buzz.

Three Democratic senators in the 2008 presidential contest are proposing caps on the number of U.S. troops in Iraq: Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois; Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

Obama has not yet introduced his bill for a cap and a phased redeployment, a concept he has long favored. Obama spoke about his new proposal to cap troop strength--and against President Bush's sending more soldier to Iraq from the Senate floor. "Time to change our policy, Mr. President," he said.

Footnote: The Senate worked late on Thursday, passing a wide ranging ethics bill. Watching from the Senate press gallery, a very relaxed looking Obama was talking awhile near the well of the chamber with Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, who is also a 2008 contender. At one point Obama was chatting with Sen. Dodd; they looked like they were laughing. Then Obama-for-president booster Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois came by, popped in the conversation a bit and did a double backslap--Obama and Dodd at the same time.

Here are the bets from the big Bears-Saints game on Sunday.

Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Barack Obama bet some sweet home Chicago food--deep dish pizza, for example.
Louisiana Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter bet regional food.

for details, click below...

"I am really disappointed that we have not been able to seize this moment in history," said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) at a presser on the GOP attempts to kill the ethics bill.

The Senate last night, on healthy bipartisan roll calls, voted to approve amendments to a pending overall ethics bill that would:
*ban senators from taking discount flights on corporate jets.
*ban lobbyists and special interests "from throwing lavish parties honoring Members at party conventions."
*strengthen a variety of gift bans and transparency requirements.

Nothing will happen, however because the GOP senate leaders--headed by Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnel (R-Ky.) threw in what's called a poison pill, giving the president a line item veto. Republicans know Democratic leaders will give them a separate vote on line item veto provisions. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just pledged to do it at a press conference.

Whatever the merits of a line item veto, tossing in a bid for a line item veto in the ethics bill puts the brakes on getting it done. The House already passed its version as part of its 100 day agenda. The more deliberative Senate will take its time.

click below for statement from Obama and reform groups..

Iraq is the defining issue at this opening stage of the 2008 presidential campaign. Look no further for evidence than Wednesday, when five of the eight senators making 2008 White House bids were proposing legislative ways Congress could wrest power from the commander in chief to get U.S. troops home.

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Barack Obama jumped in the race for the White House on Tuesday, in a historic bid to be the nation's first black president.

Obama, 45, is the youngest contender so far in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. The candidacy of the charismatic freshman Illinois senator brings a message of generational change. He will run as an outsider calling for a transformation of the nation's politics. He starts as a front-runner, along with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) opened an exploratory committee on Tuesday to seek the 2008 Democratic nomination for president of the United States.

Obama plans an "official" announcement on Feb. 10 in Illinois. He opened an exploratory committee office in Washington. His national headquarters is expected to be in Chicago. He has an 11 a.m. conference call with his supporters. Obama starts the race with his main rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is poised to launch her presidential bid with former Sen. John Edwards also a strong contender in the early primary states.

It's a meteoric rise for a man who was a little known Illinois state senator in 2004.

In his statement, Obama strikes a familiar theme, about the "smallness" of politics.

He said, "it's not the magnitude of our problems that concerns me the most. It's the smallness of our politics. America's faced big problems before. But today, our leaders in Washington seem incapable of working together in a practical, common sense way. Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can't tackle the big problems that demand solutions."

Click below for full Obama statement.

Supporters of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) are being told this morning there will be an 11 a.m. Chicago time conference call. Expected to be discussed is Obama filing papers to officially launch his 2008 White House run. Obama is expected to hit the road to travel to early primary states in the coming days.

“We will have an announcement very soon,” said Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Monday.

Obama will make his 2008 White House run official any day now. I’m told by the Obama camp: “standby.”

"Could be as early as this week," said Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is pretty close to making his White House bid official. But it is not going to happen on Monday.

Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs told me Obama will not be making public his decision about a presidential run on Monday. Obama is in Chicago, where he has two events on his public schedule celebrating the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) appearence on "Face the Nation" on Sunday opposite Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) pits two potential 2008 White House nominees. The exchange may prove a preview of the 2008 general election and provoke another round of stories about the impending presidential race. Remember McCain and Obama had a big dustup last February over ethics legislation? It was Obama's first public thumping.

Obama continues to build a national campaign organization. Here's a recap of my scoops on the Obama White House run and the political professionals he is drawing into his orbit.

Curl up with the Sunday Sun-Times, brew some coffee and listen to the newsmakers on the Sunday talk shows.

On Sunday, watch for my story on how language is used to define the debate over sending more troops to Iraq. Surge? Escalation? Augmentation? Or just more.

Click below for the Sunday talk show listings.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) poised for a 2008 White House run, sprinted through a series of interviews Wednesday night and Thursday morning in a mini-media blitz to react to President Bush's sending more troops to Iraq. Interesting, in the NBC interview this morning Obama, in response to a question, does not say if he will support Sen. Ted Kennedy's legislation that could force the president's hand on Iraq.

Democrats plan a non-binding resolution that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.) said will simply state, "Do you support an escalation in the war in Iraq?" Reid predicted it would pass with at least 60 votes.

"I think that will be the beginning of the end of the war in Iraq," Reid said. He added later the war was the "biggest foreign policy blunder ever."

Majority Whip Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said of his meeting with Bush to discuss escalation plan, "I think he has lost some of his bravado."

Obama hit CNN's Larry King, MSNBC, ABC's Nightline, and NBC's the Today Show at the top of the program this morning. Contrast that to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), whose strategy on Bush's Iraq package is to avoid the national media spotlight.

Click below for a selection of quotes from Obama in interview with Meridith Vieira.

Just listening to IMUS on MSNBC, chatting with CBS "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer....who said that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will be his guests on Sunday to talk about sending more military to Iraq.

CQ--Congressional Quarterly--reporter Greg Giroux dived into the vast CQ database to come up with an authoritative story looking at the records of the 2008 Democratic frontrunners--Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards.

They agree more than disagree; take a look at the votes that divides them at

By Lynn Sweet
Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief
WASHINGTON -- In symbol and substance, Senate Democrats are testing their new power, offering tougher ethics and lobbying rules as their first piece of legislation.

Some pecs that Obama has. Now stop looking. That’s an order from himself.

Sen. Barack Obama is sensitive about getting kidded for his ears. Now, courtesy of paparazzi staking him out on his recent Hawaii vacation, some of the rest of him is available for public inspection.

By the time Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) arrives in the capital of Virginia next month to headline a fundraiser to benefit the state Democratic party, he probably will have talked about the 2008 White House run he is organizing.

Obama will speaking Feb. 17 at the Democratic Party of Virginia annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), poised to announce a White House bid, got a taste of the intense vetting that will take place in a presidential campaign.

The Wednesday edition of the Washington Post ran a page one story about Obama's drug use--pot and cocaine. He wrote about it in his memoir, "Dreams of My Father," published after he finished law school. Drug use was not an issue in his 2004 Senate race, either in the primary or general election.

Obama, on a recent visit to "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" was asked by Leno about taking drugs.
"Remember, Senator, you are under oath. Did you inhale?"
Replied Obama, "That was the point."

Running for president, though, puts Obama under a microscope.

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Lynn Sweet

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

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Barack Obama category from January 2007.

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