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Obama's Words of Caution

Barack Obama campaign worker Adrienne Minjarez, left, answers a call from an Obama voter who needed assistance to get to his correct voting station Tuesday March 4, 2008 in El Paso, Texas. (AP.)

By Shailagh Murray
HOUSTON -- Here's a secret about election day: The campaigns have no idea what's going to happen, either.

Sen. Barack Obama's crowds are enthusiastic, and his voter turnout operations in all four states voting today appear to be running at full tilt. But Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has hit Obama hard in the past few days, and a former Chicago friend and Obama contributor went on trial for corruption on Monday -- bad timing for the Illinois senator, to say the least. To the extent that the bad news is resonating, only the returns in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont will tell.

But while Clinton is sounding bullish, Obama cautioned supporters to prepare for a potentially long and tough slog -- and perhaps a measure of disappointment tonight.

He told a crowd in Houston late Monday, "So here we are, with the possibility of winning the nomination. Here's the thing that people have to understand: Change is not easy. Sometimes I think during the course of a campaign, particularly one that has been successful, I think there is a tendency to start feeling kind of like, huh, like things are just always going to go the way they should."

The raucous crowd had grown quiet. "But one of the things that I've learned is that, what makes this powerful, is not that things always go easy, but rather, that we are willing to go forward even when it's hard," Obama continued. "That we are willing to strive for something better even when the odds are against us. That we are willing to roll up our sleeves and join together and to create the kind of America that all of us believe in. That's what this campaign has been about."

By Web Politics Editor  |  March 4, 2008; 1:49 PM ET
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Here are some more specific details:

Obama purchased his house in 2005, on the same day that Rezko purchased an adjoining empty lot. The two lots had originally been for sale as a single property, but Obama paid $300,000 below asking price for the home from a doctor, the previous owner, while Rezko paid full price for the lot from the doctor's wife. Obama subsequently bought from Rezko an adjoining strip of land that had been part of the empty lot. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, "Rezko definitely did Obama a favor by selling him the 10-foot strip of land, making his own parcel less attractive for development." This increased the value to Obama's property beyond the actual purchase price. Obama acknowledges that the exchange may have created the appearance of impropriety, and stated "I consider this a mistake on my part and I regret it," calling the act "boneheaded."

In June 2007, the Sun-Times published a story about letters Obama had written in 1997 to city and state officials in support of a low-income senior citizen development project headed by Rezko and partner Allison Davis. The project received more than $14 million in taxpayer funds, including $885,000 in development fees for Rezko and Davis. Of Obama's letters in support of the Cottage View Terrace apartments development, Obama spokesman Bill Burton said "This wasn't done as a favor for anyone, it was done in the interests of the people in the community who have benefited from the project. I don't know that anyone specifically asked him to write this letter nine years ago. There was a consensus in the community about the positive impact the project would make and Obama supported it because it was going to help people in his district." Rezko's attorney responded that "Mr. Rezko never spoke with, nor sought a letter from, Senator Obama in connection with that project. Obama had told the Sun-Times that Rezko raised "between $50,000 and $60,000" during Obama's political career. Since then, Obama has since donated $21,000 from Rezko to charity.

Posted by: JakeD | March 4, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Is Sen. Obama a Democrat? I hear a lot of talk about being a "uniter," but does this mean he thinks a one-party government system would benefit the people? Aren't Democrats and Republicans obviously separated by profound ideological divides? I've heard some Republicans say that global warming is a myth. He seems to attack Sen. Clinton primarily because she has (as a politician) made compromises (i.e. his attack on the 2002 senate resolution, his attack on Nafta, etc.), but isn't giving up on key fundamental principles of the Democratic platform the ultimate compromise?

Posted by: jj394857 | March 4, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse


Assuming that is not simply "spam" I do have a few initial questions. Only God knows, for sure, whether Obama is a Muslim or Christian, right? I agree with Maggie Williams, but have you thought of the possibility that someone from the Obama campaign gave that photo to Matt Drudge? Have you read the NAFTA-gate threads here? And, finally, regarding Rezko, there is indeed SOME allegation of wrongdoing by Obama buying the property THE SAME DAY as Rezko's wife bought the next door lot, who then sold a portion of that to Obama under market value, and thereby made the adjoining property unbuildable and Obama's property worth more -- you haven't heard any that?

Posted by: JakeD | March 4, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Texas Primary Prediction Time!

Who do you predict will win the Texas Democratic Presidential Primary?


Ohio Primary Prediction Time!

Who do you predict will win the Ohio Democratic Presidential Primary?


Posted by: jeffboste | March 4, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

From today's "Head of State"

"Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Inside The Kitchen Sink
From the NYT:

After struggling for months to dent Senator Barack Obama's candidacy, the campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is now unleashing what one Clinton aide called a "kitchen sink" fusillade against Mr. Obama, pursuing five lines of attack since Saturday in hopes of stopping his political momentum.

Let's see what has been tossed inside the kitchen sink:

-A vicious email smear campaign, falsely portrays Obama as a Muslim. He has been a devout Christian for 20 years. The Clinton camp has the opportunity to firmly decry such tactics, or to sow the seeds of doubt. Clinton on 60 minutes: If he says that he is a Muslim "I'll take him at his word";

- A picture of Obama dressed in traditional Somali garb, mysteriously arises and is splashed across the front page of the Drudge Report, designed, like the above, to inflame the most base and simplistic prejudices. Again, the Clinton campaign has the opportunity to refuse to use prejudice and stereotype to political advantage. Clinton campaign manager Maggie Williams responds: "If Barack Obama's campaign wants to suggest that a photo of him wearing traditional Somali clothing is divisive, they should be ashamed";

-Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is a Conservative. His Chief of Staff Ian Brodie leaks supposed minutes of statements by an Obama aide. The statement is not by the Obama aide, and the minutes were not taken by the Obama aide, they were taken by a Canadian official. Liberal Canadian parties decry the attempt by the Conservative Party to influence the U.S. election. The Clinton camp accepts this specious account as valid--and throws it in the kitchen sink as well;

-The Clinton camp, in Drudge-like fashion, insinuates dark misdoings regarding Antoin Rezko--despite the fact that there has been absolutely no allegations of wrongdoing by Obama--hoping perhaps that the mere association will stick--and despite the questions that have been raised about Clinton fundraising during the years of her own "experience";

-The Clinton campaign rolls out the hackneyed "red phone" advertisement, dating to Walter Mondale's 1984 campaign, to suggest that she, unlike Obama, has greater experience for such "3 A.M. moments". When asked to name one such crisis situation that she has actually had to deal with, she is unable to name one.

-Mark Penn, the Clinton campaign's chief strategist, in the weekend panic, emails the L.A. Times to state that he had "'no direct authority in the campaign,' describing himself as merely 'an outside message advisor with no campaign staff reporting to me.'"

This sink is filled with the type of fear-based politics that we have come to know so well over these past 8 years. It is fundamentally defensive, and is all-too-willing to use the familiar tools of dishonesty and distortion in pursuit of victory. It indicates how a Clinton Administration would respond to adversity--with a tactical fusillade of presentations, followed by distortion and attack.

It's time to clean the dishes. Don't allow yourself to be misled by misrepresentation, insinuation and division. Leave this kind of politics behind."

Head of State

Posted by: robthewsoncamb | March 4, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the WP readers can get together and help Jake D get a girlfriend or some medication or something. His posts are so sad and so boring.

Posted by: bensonbark | March 4, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

The biggest problem I have with any Candidate running on an empty expression of "Change", without the solid facts of WHAT is to be "Changed" or HOW(Reaching out to Republicans Obasama?-Since WHEN?),

is that after the gullible Sheeple Vote such a person in, the entire platform people were promised,


Let me simplify Barack Hussein's Stance:

American Capitalism CHANGES to World Labor Party Socialism!

BTW-Bushie has not done a thing to create the Strife developing in South America-If anything he has ignored it. But, Ahmadinejad, Chavez, and Putin seem to have plans, and the whole thing is fixing to explode, as in Lebannon(Ahmadinejad again!), so think seriously about who you are putting in charge!

Obasama and his Mamma, Billary, are NOT the right people for the potential problems developing!

Unless, capitulation is what you want! :-(

Posted by: rat-the | March 4, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Prepare for the worst, thrive with the best. Obama appears to be set to win Texas and that will say a lot, in and of itself;

Texas Primary Analysis- Hillary vs. Barack:

Posted by: davidmwe | March 4, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I hope the voters don't look down, see their shadows, and declare that an Obama springtime won't arrive for another 7 weeks.

Posted by: optimyst | March 4, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

If he DOES lose both Texas and Ohio, I will be watching his speech to see how much whining he does.

My guess is very little. He knows how bad whining looks... to most people, at least.

Posted by: steveboyington | March 4, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Barack (Hebrew for 'blessed') HUSSEIN (Arabic for 'good/handsome') Obama is right to be cautious. I don't see Hillary DIANE (Moon Goddess, I think) CLINTON bowing out anytime soon.

Posted by: JakeD | March 4, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

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