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Does Obama Have a Problem?

For the second time since signaling his plans to run for president, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is battling allegations of ethical misjudgment.

The latest incident comes courtesy of today's New York Times, which reports that shortly after arriving in the Senate Obama bought stock in two companies whose investors included several major donors to his campaign. One of the companies -- AVI Biopharma -- was developing an avian flu treatment even as Obama began work to secure increased federal funding for the disease.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton said that Obama had entered into a "trust agreement" in February 2005 whereby his stock broker neither solicited his advice on investments nor consulted him when trades were made. As a result, according to Burton, Obama was unaware that the stocks had been purchased and when he found out that he owned them in the fall of 2005 he immediately divested himself of the stocks at a financial loss.

"Obama owned stock in two companies which he did nothing to help -- an investment that lost him $13,000," Burton said in a statement released Wednesday. "At the end of a thorough examination of Senator Obama's portfolio, It's apparent that his dealings were completely above board and his decisions were proactively made in the interest of avoiding the potential for conflict."

The controversy comes on the heels of Obama's acknowledgment late last year that he made a "boneheaded" mistake in purchasing a property in Chicago on the same day that the Democratic fundraiser Tony Rezko bought an adjacent parcel of land. Less than a year later with Rezko under federal investigation Obama paid $100,000 to the fundraiser and his wife for a piece of the property.

Taken apart (or even together), neither of these incidents are terribly damaging. But, no event happens in a vacuum. Obama has made ethics the centerpiece of his presidential campaign, rejecting contributions from lobbyists and political actions committees in an attempt to show his commitment to reform. By taking on the image as dedicated reformer, Obama -- rightly or wrongly -- ensures he will be judged by a higher ethical standard. Perception -- in politics -- equals reality.

The concern for Obama is whether the Times story winds up being part of a larger story line of misjudgments. One incident can be dismissed as a simple mistake; two at least raises the possibility that there may be more ethical questions lurking out there.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 7, 2007; 3:18 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: Gaming the Money Game


US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: Best major candidate.

Posted by: anonymous | March 16, 2007 11:47 PM | Report abuse

I will never ever read washington post. IT's become un american and FOX NEWS like. There are no facts but allegations based on he said she said...I will never read Washington post and i'm going to their website all together. Dare to post this

Posted by: anonymous | March 14, 2007 7:39 PM | Report abuse

This is really working against you. Bad journalism

Posted by: anony | March 14, 2007 7:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm more disturbed about the views of Obama chanters than the way this aticle was wriiten. The name calling and shameless recontructing of the facts and the attempts to pull your attention away from the issue is unnerving. In another blog I read, anyone who didn't favor Obama was called a bigot, rascist and assumed to be a white male. I still don't know if Obama is good or bad. I'd rather read facts so I can have a reason to support him....Please someone give me some.

Posted by: Dan P | March 12, 2007 2:23 AM | Report abuse

Tyronedj? Is that you Bill? Does Hilary know your up this late? huh? does she??

Posted by: Michelle | March 12, 2007 2:00 AM | Report abuse

I not voting fo him . We share the same skin color,but thats not enough. I not voting for him because he goes on about being ethical and wags his finger at all the whiteys saying, You're not ethical.Even without all the bias wording it's plain to see the facts and what went down. Give me a break! I read his books. I remember his Senate race. I've seen. I've heard. I can make my own judgement.I might be "all" black but does he think that makes me his puppet?

Posted by: Chitownrep | March 12, 2007 1:56 AM | Report abuse

I read all the responses to this article. It seems like pro-Barack camp is scrambling to make light of the content of this article. Is that his staff members? They keep repeating the same exact words as released from his campaign staff. How desperate are they to sink this low? This is one bi-racial man that WON'T be voting for him OHB.

Posted by: TyroneDJ | March 12, 2007 1:22 AM | Report abuse

Loraine your silly comments make yourself and your canidate look moronic. If you truly want your candidate to better for him. Or keep what up what your doing....I'd prefer that

Posted by: Anonymous | March 12, 2007 1:07 AM | Report abuse

Obama is not running against Bush. Why then are these people bringing up Bush's stupidity to defend Obama's blatant misuse of his position.
In response to this article why do they make comments like this "Chris Cillizza is a pedophile? And sells crack at the playground? Chris, you should quit now. Unless you can defend yourself".....?????
One commenter wrote this ((((("Chris,

Why am I not surprised that this particular quote from the New York Times article is not in your column today?

"There is no evidence that any of his actions ended up benefiting either company during the roughly eight months that he owned the stocks.")))))
using that quote as evidence of Obama's innocents.....Obams's
spokesperson said that!!!

Posted by: Talisha | March 12, 2007 1:03 AM | Report abuse

Shawn S? Is that you Hillary Clinton?

Posted by: Lorraine | March 12, 2007 12:04 AM | Report abuse

How naive are these Obama supporters? Do they really think he sold stock at a loss because of his ethics? It was obscure and failing. I would have sold it too. To blindly accept any excuse is ( esp, the transparent ones Obama has given) truly bewildering to me.
He was personal friends to some of these people.....You don't think they ever talked shop because of ethics was the highlight of their dinner parties? C'mon now, you really believe that?
The two week timing of his taking the lead in the legislative for funding avian flu drugs and the purchase of very very obscure biotech stock should send off fireworks in any reasonable liberal mind.

Posted by: Shawn S | March 12, 2007 12:02 AM | Report abuse

I guess the best thing to come of the early horse race is early laundry-airing. By the time of the first primaries nobody will remember any of this. Perhaps by then pundits and newspapers will be focusing on the candidates' qualifications and vision.

Posted by: Amy | March 10, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Let me see if I understand....the stocks were in a blind trust, not under Obama's control, and when he found out about a possible conflict of interest, he dumped the stocks at a loss?? Is the news here that a politician actually did the right thing??????

Posted by: Nalakop | March 8, 2007 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Blah--"Lets put this in perspective. Bush has been behind more mistakes than any other president out there. Obama's made two mistakes,--"

THIS is exactly the purpose of these 'news.'

If you read the article, you know that Obama in fact does NOT have two problems. The article itself concludes that Obama comes out squeaky clean in this situation.

Then you and other people--even supportive of Obama--either by accident or out of ignorance start indicating that he indeed does have two problems by trying to justify it and from there it propagates.

THAT is why this was so shameful.

Posted by: roo | March 8, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Re Michelle Obama's job: Compare it to Bill Clinton putting the arm on McDougal to give Hillary a $20,000 retainer.

Since Hillary Clinton is running on being a woman, are we going to find out what her retinue of household servants added up to the last 25+ years (since moving to the Arkansas Governor's mansion)? She has nothing in common with the average woman except a vagina.

Posted by: Grrrr | March 8, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Chris Cillizza is a pedophile? And sells crack at the playground? Chris, you should quit now. Unless you can defend yourself...

Posted by: coffeegurrl | March 8, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh, come ON!

We have Bush who has led us down the road to perdition and royally screwed America. And you are worried about a couple of things like stocks and land purchases which Obama immediately rectified when he found out he should. Obama had the dignity to say he was wrong. Bush will never do that. Shame on you for calling attention to trivia when our entire country's well-being is at stake!

Posted by: Diana Kitch | March 8, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

' Or maybe its the people in america are just getting dumber, so to feel better about ourselves, we elect a retard for president.'

I think you're right. Did you read about the guy in Michigan who set his own genitals on fire, trying to do a stunt from some stupid movie.

It's all because cons breed too much...

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Lets put this in perspective. Bush has been behind more mistakes than any other president out there. Obama's made two mistakes, how many has Bush made? Maybe the more mistakes you make the better chance you have of becoming president. I mean come on we elected Bush for president twice. Or maybe its the people in america are just getting dumber, so to feel better about ourselves, we elect a retard for president.

Posted by: Blah | March 8, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Me: I think you will find that Obama was created by the media and now the media has to take him down just a bit. This was expected. "Listen for what they don't say".

Posted by: lylepink | March 8, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

There is nothing wrong with reporting the story - but Chris and everyone else have an OBLIGATION to put the entire truth out there and not to publicize the story as though Obama has already been tried/convicted. I realize these people have to gain the attention of the readers - but it's patently dishonest to ask "Does Obama Have a problem?" is such a way that it seems to jump to unfounded conclusions.

Posted by: Me | March 8, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Yea, whoever you are, I do like Hillary. For the record, Hillary will be the next POTUS, and you can put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Posted by: lylepink | March 8, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Waaay too many problems with Hagel for me, but he's an interesting case--at least he's been honest about the occuption. So he's been hated by the radical right for so long [like mccain] it would be hard for thm to accept him, even if his positions are all there for them.

Posted by: drindl | March 8, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Hold the phones.... reality check.

I'm unhappy about this CC post, but I'm not a Deaniac, a liberal or even an Obama supporter. But I'm quite gratified to see that most posters are keeping CC's feet to the fire... we're tired of smear jobs and we're not going to take it anymore!

Also, Chuck Hagel has announced he will hold a press conference Monday concerning his future plans. I'm not a Hagel supporter either (unless he can dispel his voting machine connection) but I do think he will shoot to the top of the GOP polls if he runs. He's a conservative dream except for his long opposition to the Iraq war which may now be the winning position.

Lastly, Dean's campaign gurus are still unattached, doing their own thing in consulting or supporting labor.... so Gore can still jump in with experienced people.

We're a long way from the finish line.

Posted by: Truth Hunter | March 8, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

About this Silly-za guy, does anyone know if he lives near children? And is the FBI already on his case about his pedophilia? Does WaPo know of his child molestation problem? Which journalism school did he attend and why hasn't it been closed by the federal government? This silly chris guy (pedophile?)is the worst thing that has happened to journalism. Lord help us!

Posted by: daleys | March 8, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Gosh, Lyle, you like Hillary? Really? Who knew?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Timothy Griffin, Karl Rove's assistant, the President's pick as US Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Griffin, according to BBC Television, was the hidden hand behind a scheme to wipe out the voting rights of 70,000 citizens prior to the 2004 election.

Key voters on Griffin's hit list: Black soldiers and homeless men and women. Nice guy, eh? Naughty or nice, however, is not the issue. Targeting voters where race is a factor is a felony crime under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Posted by: how about a story on this? | March 8, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse


Are you just a mouth piece for the Hillary campaign? You certainly know that it was her campaign that got this story to the NY Times. This is how these things work. I have been involved in over 100 campaigns and they teach you these things right away or as soon as they trust you.

Her ethical issues could fill up the Manhattan Yellow Pages and I don't think she has a real probelms with those either as she has proivesn by winning her two campaigns.

Chris...what are you coverning up under that toupe? That is the real question.

Posted by: Lawrence Frogg | March 8, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

The fact is that you cannot "win" an occupation, just as there is no way for the United States to "win" an Iraqi civil war.

The Bush administration understands this, just as they understand that there are no pretty or clean options for bringing a responsible end to our policy there. They are content to mouth the words of victory while they try to run out the clock, playing a cynical game of political "chicken," where whoever acts to bring a responsible end to their failed policy will be accused of having lost Iraq....

But we must consider the very real cost of not acting. We are spending $8 billion a month occupying Iraq, with an average of 67 U.S. troops being killed and 500 being wounded. The cost to our security of having our military bogged down in Iraq indefinitely is unsustainable, and is not only sapping vital funds from efforts to fight global terrorism, but is strengthening jihadist recruitment efforts internationally. The longer we allow the administration to delay meaningful movement, and the longer we fail to extract ourselves from this quagmire, the more dangerous this failed foreign policy becomes to America and the rest of the world....

Posted by: cynicism kills | March 8, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Congress must keep demanding answers. It must find out who decided to fire these prosecutors and why, and who may have authorized putting pressure on Mr. Cummins. And it must look into whether Senator Domenici and Representatives Wilson and Hastings violated ethics rules that forbid this sort of interference. We hope the House committee will not be deterred by the fact that Mr. Hastings is its ranking Republican. The Justice Department also needs to open its own investigation. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's claim that these prosecutors were fired for poor performance was always difficult to believe. Now it's impossible.

Posted by: Dale | March 8, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Jesus Christ almighty, in the Abramoff case you managed to miss altogether for 10 years the greatest corruption scandal in the history of American government right in front of your nose -- and even when indictments were already flying even the Post Ombudsman was hysterically refusing to acknowledge this partisan scandal for what it was.

The Post writers have become shameless right-wing propagandists and character assassins.

The Libby trial proved beyond doubt what we all suspected already: the DC journalistic class have become nothing more than abjectly craven boot-lickers of the Republican powers-that-be.

Posted by: hear, hear | March 8, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

The latest Quinnipiac Poll has more info on the 2000 race that I have seen anywhere. I've been going over it these past few days and Hillary still is looking good. Romney didn't fare to well compared to the CPAC straw poll this past weekend. McCain is just about gone. Rudy keeps gaining. Based on recent developments, at this time it looks like Hillary v Rudy.

Posted by: lylepink | March 8, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

'Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, Army Chief of Staff, on captruing Osama bin Laden:

"I don't know that it's all that important, frankly."
Dick Cheney downplaying the importance of capturing Osama bin Laden:

"He's not the source of the problem, obviously. . ".

President Bush on how important he thinks capturing Osama bin Laden is:

"So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him. ... And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."
ll...I just don't spend much time on it, really, to be honest with you."

President Bush also shut down the CIA operation trying to capture Osama bin Laden. And let him escape in Tora Bora.'

Posted by: remember 'dead or alive' | March 8, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Those regulations, which are discussed on the Justice Department Web site at, would seem to make a Libby pardon a nonstarter in George W. Bush's White House. They "require a petitioner to wait a period of at least five years after conviction or release from confinement (whichever is later) before filing a pardon application," according to the Justice Web site.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Did you hear about Karen and the kids and crack? Stop that Karen!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

'March 7, 2007 - The pardon campaign began almost immediately. No sooner had word come down in federal court that I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby had been convicted on four felony counts than conservative allies began pressuring President Bush to step in and effectively overturn the verdict. The National Review Online was first off the block, publishing a "Pardon Libby" editorial barely two hours after the verdict was announced; the piece denounced the entire CIA-leak case as a "travesty" and the product of "media scandal-mongering." The Wall Street Journal followed suit Wednesday, saying Bush shouldn't even wait for Libby to file his appeal. "The time for a pardon is now," the Journal declared. (The Web site of the Libby Defense Trust,, linked to those and other editorials calling for a pardon Wednesday.)

But there's one significant roadblock on the path to Libby's salvation: Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff does not qualify to even be considered for a presidential pardon under Justice Department guidelines.'

Posted by: nro who*es | March 8, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Faux News, they ran a segment on - surprise! - Obama's parking tickets at Harvard. Ooooooooh, that's SO much worse than voting for >3,000 Americans dead for no specific reason. Go straight to your room, Obama, and don't you dare ask about dinner!

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | March 8, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

How does this compare with Hillary Clinton making $110,000 on cattle futures trading? When she was first questioned about it she outright lied that she did it by reading the Wall St. Journal. She has never had to come up with a real explanation and booking commodity profits to a politician's account is a known form of bribery.

Posted by: Karen | March 8, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Guys, I think all of you have to take a break. Ok, we've seen far better posts on this blog but is that worth this pointless discussion?

Posted by: Pierre | March 8, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

'Since this blog spent so much time hectoring The Politico for letting Dan Gerstein write a piece attacking Joe Lieberman's high-profile critics without disclosing that he was on Lieberman's payroll at the same time, it seems only fair to note that The Politico's editors have finally responded.

In the course of a very spirited public debate The Politico is now having with Media Matters, Politico bigs John Harris and Jim VandeHei, along with Politico writer Ben Smith, all weighed in on the Gerstein flap. The response, in essence, was to concede that they'd screwed up, while maintaining that their good intentions were revealed by the fact that they'd noted a less direct link between Lieberman and Gerstein. As Harris puts it, this was a "misdemeanor."

Anyway, their full responses are here. Here are some excerpts.

Jim VandeHei:

On Gerstein: Yes, we muffed it. We should have clearly stated Gerstein is a paid adviser to Sen. Joe Lieberman. It was wrong to assume our readers would know Gerstein is not only a Liebermaniac but a paid one at that!'

Posted by: hacks like you | March 8, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Been neglecting this subject, but good for him for saying he won't participate in Fox News' Democrat Party debate. The problem with Fox isn't that it's conservative, it's that it's basically a propaganda outlet for the GOP. The difference is an important one. Back when Clinton was in power, their true nature was somewhat obscured by the fact that were doing what media should be doing at least in broad terms, which is be skeptical about the actions of the powerful. Back when Bush was popular, it was also easier for people to fail to understand just what Fox does on a daily basis. But now that they spend 24/7 propping up Mr. 30% and his gang of incompetents, the absurdity of considering them to be a "news channel" should be apparent.

Posted by: good for edwards | March 8, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Magically, it's back in vogue. Stories which hint at corruption for Democrats, even though there's clearly no there actually there. As Digby writes:

These are patented Whitewater-style "smell test" stories. They are based on complicated details that make the casual reader's eyes glaze over and about which the subject has to issue long confusing explanations in return. They feature colorful and unsavory political characters in some way. They often happened in the past and they tend to be written in such a way as to say that even if they aren't illegal they "look bad." The underlying theme is hypocrisy because the subjects are portrayed as making a dishonest buck while pretending to represent the average working man. Oh, and they always feature a Democrat. Republicans are not subject to such scrutiny because a craven, opportunistic Republican isn't "news." (Neat trick huh?)

No single story will bring down a candidate because they have no substance to them. It's the combined effect they are looking for to build a sense overall sleaziness. "Where there's smoke there's fire" right?

These nonstories are being front paged on the Post and the Times, which leads to TV news covering them and taking them seriously. The fact that, for example, in the Obama story the money involved was a tiny amount of money both brings it down to a human scale people can understand and makes people believe that if an important newspaper like the New York Times is writing about what seems to be a trivial matter it somehow must be important. Even when Obama loses money! The mindless jerks at the Note led with the Obama story and gave it more coverage than the Libby verdict.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

What's this I hear about CC being a crack addict and pedophiile? Tsk, tsk. Never can tell these days.

Posted by: Deb Howell | March 8, 2007 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Was Hillary behind the smear on Obama:

Posted by: William | March 8, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

What's the story with Chris Cillizza's problem with pedophilia that everyone is asking about? Why are people asking whether Chris Cillizza is a pedophile?

Posted by: D. Howell | March 8, 2007 8:08 AM | Report abuse

By the way, I think one can see in Chris's post the seeds of a smart anti-Obama strategy. The smart strategy would be to spend some time building up expectations for Obama to unreasonable levels. The hope would be that Obama would then fail to satisfy those expectations, and the resulting disappointment would create a net loss of support.

The problem is that this strategy requires some patience: you can't both try to inflate expectations for Obama and dash them at the same time without your strategy becoming transparent (which, intentional or not, is what people saw happening with Chris's post). And unfortunately, with a lot of players in the field, your patience may be for naught if one of the other competitors jumps the gun.

And I somewhat wonder if this is happening right now to Edwards: it seems to me he is playing a very patient game right now, and I suspect he is unhappy with those going after Obama so soon.

Posted by: DTM | March 8, 2007 8:06 AM | Report abuse

The NYT fronts all the pardon talk and mentions that traders at have so far predicted a 23 percent chance that Libby will be pardoned by the end of the year, and a 63 percent chance that it will happen before Bush leaves office.
Everybody goes inside with the continuing attacks on Shiite pilgrims in Iraq, which claimed the lives of at least 30 more people yesterday. According to the LAT's count, 188 Shiite pilgrims have been killed in three straight days of attacks. The U.S. military announced that a roadside bomb killed three soldiers.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Odierno provided the confidential assessment about how long troops should stay in Iraq to his superior, Gen David H. Petraeus, and the Pentagon insists no decision has been made. The Times makes clear that despite all the hoopla, so far the "surge" is "really more of a trickle" because only two of the five brigades are actually in Iraq.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 7:59 AM | Report abuse

The Wall Street Journal tops its worldwide newsbox with a look at how President Bush's low approval rating and an unpopular war could add up to make 2008 the worst election in 30 years to be "the candidate of the Republican establishment." Bad news for the establishment means bad news for Sen. John McCain who has been waiting and campaigning for the last several years. A new poll shows he is currently 20 percentage points behind Rudy Giuliani.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 7:58 AM | Report abuse

USA Today leads with a memo that reveals the Pentagon doesn't have a plan to spot and treat thousands of troops who may be suffering from traumatic brain injury.

Posted by: supporting the troops? | March 8, 2007 7:57 AM | Report abuse

ASHINGTON (CNN) -- A top White House aide from past administrations speculates that some of the facts in the CIA leak case may never come to light, even with the conclusion of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's perjury trial.

"What I do think is clear is that there's a lot more to know," White House veteran David Gergen said Tuesday. "And there had to be a reason why the defense attorney did not put Scooter Libby and the vice president on the stand."

Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was convicted Tuesday of lying and obstructing an investigation into the Bush administration's actions leading into the Iraq war. (Full story)

"Perhaps [defense attorney] Ted Wells never even knew why Scooter Libby didn't want to go on the stand. But clearly, there's something behind this case," Gergen, a former adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton, told CNN's "Larry King Live."

"Why would Scooter Libby lie, as the jury determined? Why would he not take the stand? Why would the vice president not take the stand? There's clearly something they do not wish to discuss. And I don't know what that is."

Appearing with Gergen, former White House press secretary Scott McClellan said, "It will be interesting to see if the White House can sustain not talking about this through the appeals process."

Posted by: even repugs admit the stench | March 8, 2007 7:52 AM | Report abuse

'BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) -- U.S. and Iraqi security forces cannot solve the problem of violence in Iraq without political action and reconciliation with some militant groups, the U.S. commander in Iraq said on Thursday.

General David Petraeus, in his first news conference in Baghdad since he took command last month, also said he saw no immediate need to request more U.S. troops, but reinforcements already requested would likely stay "well beyond the summer."

"There is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to the insurgency of Iraq," Petraeus said.'

Posted by: Anonymous | March 8, 2007 7:50 AM | Report abuse

I'm always amused when people describe Michelle Obama's promotion as a "problem".

In case you don't know, she is a cum laude graduate of Princeton University and a graduate of Harvard Law School. She then worked for a top law firm in Chicago, specializing in marketing and intellectual property. In 1991 she left corporate law and went to work with Mayor Daley. In 1993 she became the founding executive director of the Chicago office of Public Allies (part of Americorps). In 1996 she became an associate dean at the University of Chicago, where she was director of the University Community Service Center. In 2002 she started with the University of Chicago Hospitals as executive director of community affairs. In 2005 the University of Chicago Hospitals promoted her to vice president for external affairs and community relations.

That latest promotion is what people are calling a "problem". But in light of her actual resume and career path, I think people are going to have a hard time claiming that was an unearned promotion. And as usual, I think drawing attention to Michelle Obama is not exactly going to work out poorly for Obama's campaign.

By the way, I am in no way affiliated with Obama's campaign. But it is indeed interesting to me that a lot of people seem to get mad when others try to play dirty politics with Obama. I'm not sure why that is the case, but it is not unprecedented: the American voters sometimes just take a liking to a politician, and with such politicians attempts to attack them personally often backfire. Indeed, that was the case with both Reagan and Bill Clinton, and it seems to be true for Obama as well. So, I think Obama's opponents will need to be careful about how they play the game, because some of their favorite tricks may not work as they would ordinarily expect.

Posted by: DTM | March 8, 2007 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Hey Chris -- when are you going to address the rumours that you are a pedophile? This is a very serious allegation, and the perception is out there.

Posted by: peter | March 8, 2007 7:04 AM | Report abuse

I generally respect your opinion whether I agree or not but is it not misleading - to put it kindly - to characterize actions of a broker in a blind trust as a "second mistake," i.e., ethical lapse?

Best, Terry

Posted by: terry hallinan | March 8, 2007 6:26 AM | Report abuse

this is actually quite a serious issue. Obama has not handled this well so far and he did not handle his affairs appropriately when he took office. To go on about chris is the height of unfairness, he's a political reporter and blogger and like it or not this is news. So typical of everyone attacking the messenger oh and also attacking hillary for that matter. Get a grip.

Posted by: thomas | March 8, 2007 4:50 AM | Report abuse

Boy, oh boy, where is Shakespeare when you really need him?

Chris Cilliza, you should know that this is really much ado about nothing.

Posted by: Eric Omolo Otiende | March 8, 2007 3:12 AM | Report abuse

I checked in as I often do to read some interesting political thoughts. Guess it was the wrong day. For the record, I support Obama and don't think this will harm him much, but I may not read this blog too much anymore. It was much better when people were actually discussing and debating issues, rather than letting their egos and dubious senses of humor range freely.

Posted by: this is ridiculous | March 8, 2007 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Chris, slow news day? If you have nothing to say, just skip a day of writing, ok Chris?

Posted by: Robert* | March 8, 2007 1:14 AM | Report abuse

If Obama is this bad at managing his money what makes you think he could run a country?

Posted by: VAis4lovers | March 8, 2007 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Please, let's keep the focus on Chandra

Posted by: Gary C. | March 8, 2007 12:34 AM | Report abuse

This story is a smoke screen. The real story today is a BIG WIN for OBAMA. The South Carolina Black Caucus has invited him to keynote their major fundraiser next month. They told Hillary she was invited to attend but would have to buy a ticket!

Posted by: er | March 8, 2007 12:26 AM | Report abuse

If this is such a non-story why are all you deaniacks screaming bloody murder?

Posted by: mountain man | March 8, 2007 12:24 AM | Report abuse

This is a non-story. Just like the Whitewater nonsense the Washington Post flogged and flogged. However, we have daily examples of outrageous criminality coming out of the Bush Administration. How many departments are under investigation for no-bid contracts, lobbyists funneling money to their previous employers (not just Halliburton)? Time for the Washington Post to quit trying to make mountains out of thin air and start with the difficult work of exposing your friends, the people you golf with, risk getting uninvited to the Crawford picnic. You people are becoming as crooked as the Mob.

Posted by: Terry Green | March 7, 2007 11:56 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: G | March 7, 2007 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Yes, this is a non-issue. The dissenting opinion is that Obama is not experienced enough to run a presidential campaign. I would like to say something to these people. That is the entire point! No one, including you, cares about this story. Obama is running on the platform that he is different than other politicians because he is. Obama hasn't looked back to cover up his past because he doesn't think there are any to cover up. You shouldn't have to be experienced at going over your past with a fine toothed comb to be president and the American people agree. Obama and Romney are both trying to send this message: "vote for me, I'm not a sleazzy hypocrite."

Posted by: Scott W. | March 7, 2007 11:46 PM | Report abuse

is someone suggesting the obama was trying to curry favor with his donors? doesn't corruption work the other way around? and hey btw, did he and his donors both use the same cellular service? some reporter should look into it.

Posted by: jethro | March 7, 2007 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Stay strong Chris your story was fine these Deaniacks are just scared cause they know their candidate's days are numbered.

Posted by: VAis4lovers | March 7, 2007 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Don't send Obama or Hillary up here. We're overrun with leftist morons!

Posted by: Canadian | March 7, 2007 11:37 PM | Report abuse

WOW you Obama fans need to grow up! If yall are this sensitive over this lil story then yall will probably need to take a nap or time out when the campaign really heats up cause this is just the begining.

Also I don't the Obama campaign would be wipping out these attack talking points if there weren't some truth to the charges or they were scared about the charge.

Posted by: mountain man | March 7, 2007 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Oh no, what happened to your bar? I tried to be gentle.

Posted by: Monica Lewinsky | March 7, 2007 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Call me. I haven't seen you since I was disbarred.

Posted by: Bill Clinton | March 7, 2007 11:32 PM | Report abuse

I'd love one!

Posted by: Monica L | March 7, 2007 11:30 PM | Report abuse

I'd love one!

Posted by: Monica Lewinsky | March 7, 2007 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Cigar anyone?

Posted by: Bill Clinton | March 7, 2007 11:28 PM | Report abuse

I've printed this article and stuffed it down my pants. I wouldn't want anything embarrasing to get out.

Posted by: Sandy Berger | March 7, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Obama is sooo cute! I'm definitely voting for him.

Posted by: Sally | March 7, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Go Obama, Go! Canada, and take Hillary with you! Please close the door when you leave!

Posted by: Obamaniac | March 7, 2007 11:23 PM | Report abuse

The whole cast of Democrat candidates is depressing and pathetic. Hillary and Obama both trying hard to be black on command are almost as creepy as Joe Biden's implants. God, how I miss Al Sharpton!

Posted by: Lunchmeat | March 7, 2007 11:20 PM | Report abuse

B. Hussein Obama, what are you doing? And here I was thinking you were too inexperienced to be POTUS. However, you seem to have politics figured out. Act on inside information from supporters and then use your political influence to benefit your investment. Good stuff! We Americans appreciate what you and Mr. Jefferson have done to clean up after those corrupt Republicans! You and Harry Reid should start an investment company!

Posted by: FaveRite | March 7, 2007 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Obama is a slimey politician, just like the rest of them. Go Hillary! Time to restore dignity and ethics in the White House! Only Hillary can make it happen!

Posted by: Chris | March 7, 2007 11:11 PM | Report abuse

it's amusing to see the Obama fans getting their collective panties in an uproar over someone questioning his squeaky clean image

a politician doesn't reach the US Senate in this day and age, especially from Illinois, without getting his hands a bit dirty

Posted by: theodaddy | March 7, 2007 10:58 PM | Report abuse

There are a number of troubling details emerging about Obama. Some of his moves and subsequent explanations don't pass the smell test. I'd say Chris was TOO coy, not too harsh.

For one, a major campaign contributor bought a parcel of land that in effect made Obama's adjacent piece artificially cheaper.

He does no speculative investing except for these two stocks which just happen to be linked to his contributors, then lobbies on behalf of one of them.

The actual amount of his contribution in one of the companies jumped from $50,000 in today's Times to $90,000 in tomorrow's.

He claims they were in a blind trust, but he received a prospectus in the mail about the stocks. How did he immediately know from a basic prospectus to sell? That is weird.

He took money from a Swift boat funder. Not something that will help his campaign. Perfect issue for a primary opponent to pose indignantly about.

Also, politically, stories of his extreme, sudden wealth don't help him win votes from Joe Voter or the African American community.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2007 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Obama already admitted his cocaine problem and Black Panther-like attitude toward whites when he was young. What else are they supposed to write about? Then again, he is so new there are a lot of closets yet to open, aren't there? Don't worry, those of us in Illinois can vouch for the fact that there will be more skeletons found. We locals all know more about our home politicians than the national media will ever know.

Posted by: BaLance | March 7, 2007 10:57 PM | Report abuse

My take is that someone is scared, really scared of Barack Obama. I don't really know if it is the RIGHT or the LEFT, but I can see it as only the begining. But those of us who are upset are so because we believe this man when he speaks. And we believe him when is asks us to get back into the political process. And believe me when I say some of us will make dam sure we have a voice this time. And more young, old and OMG different nationalities are working together. There are just those that wish to keep us divided over many issues. Not Again!

Posted by: justmytakeonit | March 7, 2007 10:52 PM | Report abuse

neither (of these incidents) are terribly damaging.

I read only about 2/3 of your pan-mail (to which I would have added if the others hadn't been so thorough), so I might have missed it--but you should know this: either and neither are SINGULAR. So it should be ". . . neither of these incidents IS terribly damaging."

Posted by: Morpheus | March 7, 2007 10:51 PM | Report abuse

neither (of these incidents) are terribly damaging.

I read only about 2/3 of your pan-mail (to which I would have added if the others hadn't been so thorough), so I might have missed it--but you should know this: either and neither are SINGULAR. So it should be ". . . neither of these incidents IS terribly damaging."

Posted by: Morpheus | March 7, 2007 10:50 PM | Report abuse

How is using a blind trust so that you do not know what your money is in, so you cannot affect your investments' share prices a "misjudgement"?

The Post has, it's sad to say, become the leading mouthpiece of wingnuttery.

Posted by: Dr Zen | March 7, 2007 10:19 PM | Report abuse

The storm flags on Barack Obama were out long before he announced his intention to enter the presidential race. More and more folks just now are beginning to take note. A perfect storm indeed is brewing.

It's not the time to set sail -- not aboard this boat, at least.

Posted by: james | March 7, 2007 10:16 PM | Report abuse

As has been pointed out, The Times story was not exclusively about ethical lapses.

There is the matter of campaign contributions by a leading Republican Party financial backer and Swift Boat donor Jared Abbruzzese, now at the center of an FBI inquiry into public corruption.

Not a word of comment on this matter.

And then there is the problem of a hefty pay raise recently for Obama's wife.

Not a word of comment on this matter.


Posted by: george | March 7, 2007 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Silly Man, Cizilla, have a sound the name right.

Posted by: Gil | March 7, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

This article is complete yellow journalism. There are no real facts to backup claims that Obama has made unethical decisions. To insinuate this from the given facts is ridiculous. The title of this article looks like something you would see on the Fox News roller. I am disapointed that this kind of sensationalism would find itself on Lets report the facts in a truthful and honest way, Chris.

Posted by: Tony | March 7, 2007 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it remarkable that Obama has such passionate, loyal supporters! That's something few politicians ever achieve. The thing is, I read all the comments so far, and no one saw the video today of Obama explaining the whole thing. You should watch it. He was in no way evasive or suspicious, but he did display a manner of uncertainty about what words to use and how to tell the story. Go watch it online. He didn't have anyone write it, nor did he write it himself. I think that's a very serious mistake for a Presidential contender. I'll tell you this: at this moment, in debates with Giuliani, he would get slaughtered. And I'm a New York City person who thinks Rudy did a good job as mayor, although he's pretty nasty, but I'd NEVER vote for him. Obama needs to grow big time before becoming American Idol.

Posted by: Aldert Dentady | March 7, 2007 9:40 PM | Report abuse

It it obvious that you guys are so scared of a clean guy like Barak Obama, that you can't even wait till the real race begins to try to assinate his character. Your time is over; the time of corruption and vile. Real people are going to take back the government and represent the people, not business and money interests. A CHILD can see your game. Have you NO shame? I wonder if your children know about you. Poor things.

Posted by: gee on whidbey | March 7, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps this is more for Howie Kurtz, but had this story first on Monday morning as part of their candidate finances series:
I hate that smaller outlets post stories and a few days later when someone like NYT or WaPost puts it up, it's an enormous story. Maybe Mike McIntyre and Chris Drew (who wrote the NYT story) had been doing research on Obama's finances before the thestreet piece, but the story came out 2 days after it - not the next day which it probably would have if they were already working on it and saw the Monday piece. They did add a few bits, like the George Haywood part, but that's about it. And they get all the credit, leading The Note as a must-read, and igniting the firestorm that led to Chris' post.

And as a sidethought from the main purpose of this comment, I feel compelled to talk to every single other commenter so far: People, if you think this story is small and disgusting and slimy (and I'm not even talking to the partisans), don't read The Fix or pay attention to campaign news a year and a half before the election. This is what it's going to be for quite a while, so if you don't like it, don't listen.

Posted by: Midnight | March 7, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

So, has anyone else heard about Chris selling crack cocaine to school children?

There is probably nothing to the pedophilia rumor, and probably nothing to this rumor about Chris dealing crack to school children. But, nothing happens in a vacuum, and the concern for Chris has to be whether this all ends up being part of a larger story line about his misjudgments involving children. And two incidents at least raises the possibility that he has done even worse things to children (maybe genocide?).

Anyway, perception is reality.

Posted by: Perception I. Reality | March 7, 2007 8:59 PM | Report abuse

I would like to make an argument in defense of Sen. Pete Domenici and Congresswoman Heather Wilson and all the people who got caught in the mess of the fired prosecutors.

Over the last few days I was thinking to myself "how is it possible that the republicans are out of power, but still have so many ethical problems"?

To answer the question, I have to go back to communication...

When the democrats have a problem with an elected official they do their research. They find a small thing they can pin on him, and then make a big noise. They demand an investigation. They demand that the Department of Justice should appoint a 'special' prosecutor.

A nice fellow sits at home one night listening to the news, and he hears that Sen. Someone Democrat... is demanding an investigation into Somobody Republican, and not just an investigation, but the Attorney General should appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the alleged crime. What is the first thing that crossed his mind? "A special prosecutor....This is a serious crime". Now you can come and knock on his door and tell him that the special prosecutor came up with nothing but the only thing he will now likely remember is "this guy is a criminal". The Republican, under suspicion, is already a shade grey in everyone's mind. So the democrats get the job done.

What happens if it's vice versa, and the Democrat is under suspicion?

The Republicans hear that there is a criminal investigation going on involving a Democrat. What do they do? They call (the arrogant, selfish) prosecutor, and ask him (not demand him to investigate) about the investigation... Don't you think that a phone call to a news reporter is worth more money then to call a prosecutor?

Ultimately, the voters decide who is eligible for office, largely based on ethical behavior. The republican lack of conveying misconduct to the public is a major factor in their current political status, which doesn't seem to be bettering.

Posted by: the zoooom | March 7, 2007 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Wow- this really hit a nerve- Most of you need to get a life- Hillary is constantly being demonized by the press and by other Democrats (so many Obama supporters have flipped out on her) It would be smart to check out her bio-this lady has a long history of hard work and public service-Her approval rating in NY is soaring -even among Republicans- her once toughest critics in the Senate speak kindly about her -She is known to be one of the hardest working members of bias is not in her favor-I know you can't see it or won't admit it but Obama is the one who has been getting the free ride-Ignorance of the facts and name calling is not attractive in either party- - Could the Obama fanatics try to let the process work- Let's see who can handle the issues-let's see who has the concrete plans and knowledge to implement them. This is not a sporting event- you're all beginning to sound like Swift boaters- If Obama is meant to be our candidate-great- If he can't handle the heat -
and this still luke warm-then he's can't be the one. Immature name calling is just plain stupid and should be beneath the Democrats- Don't embarrass us or your candidate- Keep open minds- This is far too important an election to be divided-we will defeat ourselves -let's try not to do that again-

Posted by: bberger | March 7, 2007 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to pile on, Chris, but I totally agree with the commenter who talked about this being an example of the media "crying wolf."

I know you are not the only or worst offender to blow this thing out of proportion, but this entire non-story being referenced by pretty much every political blog in the country is some of the laziest, sorriest "gotcha" journalism I've seen in a while.

It makes me sad. Not sad as an Obama supporter, but sad as a fellow journalist who has covered politics and politicians (including Obama) in the past who has worked to expose REAL corruption and unethical behavior in politicians only to find my work having no impact because stories like this fuel the idea that a) all politicians are scum so why should we care? or b) the political media oversensationalizes stuff like this all the time so why should we care?

Let's recap the evolution of this non-story:
1) provided valuable public affairs reporting in examining Obama's financial disclosures as part as ongoing series looking at all the candidates' finances.
2)The New York Times then appears with an A1 story basically regurgitating TheStreet's findings on Obama, but use a more ominous tone because of the hundreds of campaign contributors to Obama one of them happens to be a Swift Boat donor and slap it on A1.
3)Drudge refers to this piece as a "NY Times $$$ hit on Obama" sending the Gang of 500 into hyperventilation as if this is as important a story as a vice presidential chief of staff and special counsel to the president being convicted of lying to the FBI.
4)The rest of the Washington media establishment go off of the New York Times story to report about these latest "allegations of ethical misjudgment" without any of them or any political opponents actually alleging he acted unethically yet still inexplicably reporting these ethical questions exist.
5)Obama offers in-depth explanations for the stock deal and the steps he took to avoid conflict of interest with his finances several months before any reporters started looking into them but this goes unlinked on Chris' blog until I post it here:

Sorry, Chris. But this whole thing is pathetic pack journalism at its worst. Washington media elite, please stop giving our profession a bad name!

Posted by: his girl friday | March 7, 2007 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Oops. Chris hurt his career. Bad story. Non issue.

Posted by: mcguffin | March 7, 2007 8:55 PM | Report abuse

This story is like when you poop too hard and you crap a red rose.

Posted by: Nicolas | March 7, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Let's be a little restrained about Chris' pedophilia problem. This is the first I've heard of it. Now, should it happen again... I don't know.

Posted by: Phil in Walnut Creek | March 7, 2007 8:44 PM | Report abuse

I guess it's no surprise that this sort of nonsense is comming out as Obama is gaining ground- and fast - over Hillary Clinton. So like her - and Bill.

The good news is, it's not going to hurt him.

Compare that to a husband who was impeached.....

And yes, by the way, really pathetic journalism on the part of the NYT and the Washington Post.

Posted by: Mary | March 7, 2007 8:41 PM | Report abuse


Your analysis is dumb. Your headline is dumb. And just about everyone above seems to agree. The only reason you're reaching so early in the game is because you have a formidable candidate with a formidable message. Folks like you have been in the corrupt, soul-less, profit-driven landscape of GOP-landia -- you just don't know what to do with a real person (much less one running for President).

Go ahead. Roll your eyes. It's what folks like you do best.

Posted by: Anthony | March 7, 2007 8:36 PM | Report abuse

This reminds me of 2004 when the media created Howard Dean gaffes out of whole cloth. Even when he didn't do anything, even when he didn't say anything, even when he said the exact same thing as Kerry, even when he took the exact same position as Kerry, he was semi-assassinated by gaffe charges and "gotcha" questions. And, they repeated their routine in 2005 when Dean ran for DNC Chair. Wonder why? "They" want a "centrist" candidate, meaning pro-war, meaning Hillary. Read my lips because I can see the future - Obama will be the 2008 shooting star who flames out in the Iowa caucuses.

Posted by: Carol | March 7, 2007 8:13 PM | Report abuse

So when Mike complains about the right wing trolls, I suppose those are the same ones that were part of HRC's "vast right wing conspiricy"???

Posted by: Jim | March 7, 2007 8:10 PM | Report abuse

I am actually starting to feel bad for Chris. I think this was just shoddy and thoughtless journalism, not an intentional attempt to undermine Obama (although Chris obviously has his favorite in the Democratic field, namely Edwards).

Posted by: DTM | March 7, 2007 8:00 PM | Report abuse

WAPO states; "comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other INAPPROPRIATE COMMENTS OR MATERIAL will be removed from the site." So you will be removing Chris's garbage, right?

Posted by: Mike Dougherty | March 7, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

I too have been hearing disturbing reports about Chris Cillizza's pedophilia problem and will feature him on my next show if I can or can't verify these rumors.

Posted by: John Walsh | March 7, 2007 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Many Americans don't read past the headlines! It is at the third or so paragraph it is disclosed that Obama delegated complete control for his ivestments and he sold the stock at $13K loss as soon as he knew of the conflict. This sort of thing just happens.

Posted by: pradwastes | March 7, 2007 7:50 PM | Report abuse

What a disgusting attempt to tarnish someone wth an utter non story of innuendo and suggestion of wrong doing. Then follow by saying:
there's no suggestion of any wrongdoing...BUT
Let's put it this way...this story TRIED to be a story but along the way it became GARBAGE.

Posted by: citidwell | March 7, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Wow, you're weak Chris. Next time actually investigate the issue and only report it to us if it really is an issue. Don't waste our time.

Posted by: Jacob Johnson | March 7, 2007 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Dear WaPo,

Fire Chris Cillizza for irresponsible slander.

A former reader

Posted by: A former reader | March 7, 2007 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Impeach Bush, let the dems do their job and get rid of Rove

Posted by: prod | March 7, 2007 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I see the right-wing trolls are out in force trying to pin this on Clinton. Usual operating procedure.

It's particularly shameless in this case, since the source for this slander (that Cillizza gleefully propagates) are the same people that brought us the fake Whitewater stories.

The right-wing slime machine at its dirtiest -- slandering Democratic candidates, then pinning it on other candidates to slander them as well while conveniently covering its tracks. And Cillizza is just another cog in the right-wing slime machine.

Posted by: mike | March 7, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

The real question here for the author to answer and for everyone commenting here to consider is: Who in the Clinton machine pitched this "story" to you and why did you decide to run with it????

Posted by: Jim | March 7, 2007 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Chris I read your blog all the time and normally enjoy it. But these baseless attempts to slander a politican for the sole sake of having something to talk about has made me decide to stop reading your blog and the washingtonpost altogether. If I want baseless biased "journalism" I will just listen to talk radio or read forums at

Posted by: Dave | March 7, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Since so many people are asking this, and "perception is reality", it can no longer be denied: Chris Cillizza has a pedophilia problem.

Posted by: mz | March 7, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Thanks my little stud muffin Chris.Now come to momma and let me spank my bad boy.

Posted by: HRC | March 7, 2007 7:31 PM | Report abuse

WaPo hitched its wagon to Hillary a long time ago. It will do, say, and print anything to provide her an edge. This article is pathetic.

Posted by: BigBob | March 7, 2007 7:26 PM | Report abuse

They keep trying to find something, anything to get to Obama and still find only nonstories. how many people have had their broker make a stupid investment.
And the fact that he - gasp - lost money in it should really be the story. He's lousy at investments.
Let's run him out on the rails.
Now, let's look into Hillary's money story since leaving the white house.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2007 7:24 PM | Report abuse

i wonder if obama's got bloggers scouring the net to clean off the mud after a media attack

Posted by: mason | March 7, 2007 7:24 PM | Report abuse

I am so glad I am on the west coast. You dolts can just rave on about this idiotic process till your faces are blue. And what will it get you ,, a fixed vote in the end.
And it all started with a rock .

Posted by: Chuck in Oregon | March 7, 2007 7:20 PM | Report abuse

In reply to MIKE McINTIRE:

I've seen that question asked as well. Some people seem to be wondering if Chris Cillizza is a pedophile.

Of course, as someone with such a public profession, Cillizza will be "judged by higher standards".

And, since "perception is reality", even if nothing is proven, Chris Cillizza may indeed have a pedophilia problem.

Posted by: CHRISTOPHER DREW | March 7, 2007 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Great job on the unsuccessful attempt at creating Obama drama. You pink puffers are going to have to try a lttle harder than that.

Posted by: Donkeyshow | March 7, 2007 7:19 PM | Report abuse

this story is one of the biggest pieces of garbage that I have read. pure insinuation without any actual facts. this is a disgrace to an otherwise good newspaper.

Posted by: Bryan | March 7, 2007 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Talk about ethics? Hmmm?
Let's see here what exactly has the "press" reported about the old Bin Laden-Bush connections?
How about Cheney-Halliburton?
Maybe DeLay or Ney or Cunningham or the list goes on and on?
How about Jeb Bush and the Florida voting fiasco?
9-11 and the magical 19 terrorists?

Main stream news is dead!! Put a fork in it and call it done.
Get the truth from the web faster. Because it's ever more and more apparent that the WP has lost all ethics and has no business owning "press" credentials.
Good Riddance.
And I'll continue to watch as your readership and stock bottoms out.
bye bye

Posted by: Stormkrow | March 7, 2007 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Do the words "blind trust" mean anything to Chris?

Posted by: MysteriousTraveler | March 7, 2007 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Is it true that Chris Cillizza has a pedophilia problem?

I hear people are asking, and "perception is reality".

Posted by: MIKE McINTIRE | March 7, 2007 7:16 PM | Report abuse


I can only hope you read all of these comments and strive to do better next time. I, for one, have lost significant respect for a paper that would feature this baseless article.

You were looking for a sensational article... well, you sure got it. Unfortunately, you have shattered your credibility in the process.

Posted by: MM | March 7, 2007 7:15 PM | Report abuse


Hey buddy what is your definition of controversy?

Posted by: Ken | March 7, 2007 7:14 PM | Report abuse

So we have an entire regime in the White House quite possibly guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, treason even...and we still have bloggers who can't see the elephant in the room.

News Alert! The story is somewhere else!

Posted by: Dr. David Robbins | March 7, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I hear someone has asked whether Chris Cillizza is a pedophile. Is there anything to this?

Posted by: mike | March 7, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

What a waste, and the sad thing is that this non-story made it to Google News rather than the bottom of a parakeet's cage. It shows there is tremendous interest in Obama and newspapers and journalists will even try to CREATE NEWS to capitalize. Obviously, if you write about the "possible story line" in the right way and places then you may end up with a "story." Pathetic.

Posted by: Andy | March 7, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Is Chris Cillizza a pedophile?

There is no evidence for this whatsover, but since I'm suggestively asking the question in the title of my comment -- and since a couple more people will surely repeat the question or note that somebody has asked it -- a public perception may develop that Chris Cillizza is a pedophile.

Since he is a journalist and in the public eye, Cilliza will be "judged by higher standards", and "perception is reality".

Will such a perception that Cillizza is a pedophile lead to him being fired by the Post and become unhireable in the profession?

Posted by: mz | March 7, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe this garbage is from the washington post.

Posted by: jazon | March 7, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

It's true that in politics, perception translates to reality. But the media plays a huge role in which perceptions become prevalent, and Mr. Cillizza should recognize that the very act of publishing this (non)story contributes to the perception that Senator Obama isn't as ethical as he claims to be. If the evidence presented here is all there is, then this kind of journalism seems pretty irresponsible because it will definitely reinforce the connection between Obama and questionable ethics in voters' minds, a connection which as yet seems undeserved. Obama's real "concern" is that all journalists have to do to attract readers is raise the POSSIBILITY that he's committed secret sins in the past, even if he hasn't.

Posted by: becki | March 7, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

By the way, if these standards for character assassination by insinuation, distortion and suggestive headlines applied to your Republican DC-cocktail-party-circuit friends, and if you were to devote the same amount of space to equivalent issues re. stock ownership that could be raised about them, there would be no space left on the Post for anything else whatsoever, not even for the occasional rant of one of your endless parade of extreme-right-wing columnists.

Jesus Christ almighty, in the Abramoff case you managed to miss altogether for 10 years the greatest corruption scandal in the history of American government right in front of your nose -- and even when indictments were already flying even the Post Ombudsman was hysterically refusing to acknowledge this partisan scandal for what it was.

The Post have become shameless right-wing propagandists and character assassins.

The Libby trial proved beyond doubt what we all suspected already: the DC journalistic class have become nothing more than abjectly craven boot-lickers of the Republican powers-that-be.

Posted by: mz | March 7, 2007 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Now folks, for a REAL story...

'Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.) has hired a top defense attorney to handle the pending ethics investigation into allegations that he pressured a federal prosecutor to bring indictments against New Mexico Democrats on the eve of the 2006 elections.

Lee Blalack, who recently represented former congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.), who is now serving time in prison for bribery and other offenses, said today that he has signed on as Domenici's attorney in the wake of allegations from fired U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias. Iglesias alleged that Domenici phoned him at his home and asked about a pending public corruption investigation.'

yeah, good choice of a lawyer there. cause that worked out so well for Duke...

Posted by: drindl | March 7, 2007 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Why all the fuss? There are no ethical politicians. The life form does not exist. Never has. Never will.

Posted by: Bear | March 7, 2007 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Sure seems like Obama has his troops locked and loaded for rapid response.

This whole thread is one big "save Obama" party.

Disgustingly transparent kiddies.

Every time a republican walks down the same sidewalk as somebody who gets popped for some unethical move, that republican gets smeared and smashed.

Obama isnt special. He is a rookie making rookie mistakes. I wouldnt go so far as to say its a hatchet job for reporting this somewhat dubious connection, but the dude bought stocks in a company that he later went to bat for in congress. Whether he knew it or not is immaterial. He is either too stupid to not cover his ass, or he was complicit.

The 3rd option, played out here by his volunteers, is that it was just a big coincidence and its his stock brokers fault.

Ha. Weak sauce.

Posted by: Volunteers are Hacks | March 7, 2007 6:48 PM | Report abuse

He definitely should not have dumped that Harken stock right before it tanked.

Posted by: branfo4 | March 7, 2007 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Dear Chris Cillizza: you are the very reason our political system is in such a disastrous mess. There is simply no excuse for this hackery and gleeful collaboration in the right-wing's character assassination campaigns. You are unprofessional and unworthy of being called a journalist. Coming at the same time as Hyatt's scandalous and shameless lies regarding the four criminal convictions of Cheney's chief of staff, this only confirms that the Post has truly become the Pravda on the Potomac, willful purveyor of right-wing propaganda and lies.

Posted by: mz | March 7, 2007 6:43 PM | Report abuse

So Obama has a problem or two! It looks like Hillary's attack dogs, mud rakers, and enablers, like the NYT and Wash Post, are primed to do battle for their annointed queen. Better be careful Obama, you up against the most ruthless gang of political operatives ever assembled and their main goal is to savage anyone who dares to oppose their darling phoney Hillary.

Posted by: Tom Parrott | March 7, 2007 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Good work Chris. If I didn't know better you were playing the oldest game in the book. Divide and conquer. Watch this hand while the other hand does the dirty work... that sort of thing. Say something bad about Obama so people will come to his rescue and abandon the bigger threat (ie. HRC). LOL! Good job.

Posted by: SC Votes First | March 7, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if G.W. Bush has owned any stock in companies owned by donors to the Republican Party.

Oil Companies?

Arms Manufacturers?

I don't even think the issue was ever brought up by mainstream media, during the last six years.

Posted by: Daniesha L. | March 7, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

You guys just got blocked. Talking with my grandma had more importance than your bs.

Posted by: Vander | March 7, 2007 6:30 PM | Report abuse

I've never seen such a unified response to a political story... how encouraging to see a unanimous rejection of this garbage story!

Posted by: nathan | March 7, 2007 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Poor Chris, Poor judgement. Obama is exemplary.

Posted by: OliverT | March 7, 2007 6:26 PM | Report abuse

So Obama has a problem or two! Looks like Hillary's attack dogs, mud rakers and enablers, like the NYT and Wash Post, are primed and ready to do battle for their self annointed queen. Better be careful Obama, you are up against a ruthless political machine that will savage anyone who dares to oppose their phoney baloney Hillary,

Posted by: Tom T | March 7, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree with most of the posts. This is a non-story and it does seem like someone/something clearly has an agenda. And I'm a McCain supporter.

Posted by: Peter B | March 7, 2007 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Chris is UGLY!!!

Posted by: dick | March 7, 2007 6:23 PM | Report abuse

this is realpolitic...this two-year race will destory him and anyone who is foolish enough to toss their hats into the ring so early!! in the end we will end up with two dummy-down candidates from both parties. is it any wonder that the majority of us won't participate in the process? i see nothing but trouble time ahead.

Posted by: jorge | March 7, 2007 6:22 PM | Report abuse

What are you complaining about the Hillary machine is in full attack mode and be glad he isn't a Republican or they would plant a dead body in his trunk This is democratic politics the game has never changed, it just hit you this time. Remember all thost times you laughed at someone else getting it it's your I mean his turn judtified or not. As in football this is a contact sport.

Posted by: manny | March 7, 2007 6:22 PM | Report abuse

So let's get this straight - you've just debunked your own suggestion that one of these two points was a 'lapse' (and in fact demonstrated a reflexive morality in Obama's handling of the situation).

But then you ignore your own assessment, and go on to suggest that there were still two lapses, and "this raises questions about what else may be out there."

Let's be clear - if Obama rises above the fray, it's muck like you he'll be trying to keep off his shoes.

Posted by: Maxwell | March 7, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Politics/Politicians as usual. Please give us a real leader and hero.

Posted by: Jeff | March 7, 2007 6:18 PM | Report abuse

I have never heard of this guy before, I will be sure to bypass
next time. That name... it rhymes with silly and sleeza! Totally did he ever get to write for the Post?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2007 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations Chris! You just tarnished your credibility. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

Posted by: Jake | March 7, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse


April Fools day is not for a couple more weeks, you should check your calendar again.

Wait, this wasn't a joke?


Posted by: Columbia Heights | March 7, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse

No matter how many people get involved with
this useless piece of dribble it all comes
down to the same thing. Politics is big
money. No matter how many articles are written and responded to the "Little People"
will never have a voice because we don't have
the money to make someone listen. Isn't
that a shame. Our nation is in serious
serious trouble. We have lost our pride in
our country and most importantly..for the
people who run it. Pick your articles wisely. More importantly...get involved...
think about how many people you have the
potential to give them the truth instead of
this kind of stuff - Thankyou

Posted by: Joyce | March 7, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

It really upsets me to see the Washington Post engage in this type of shoddy journalism. This story reminds me of the John Solomon story about John Edwards in which he insinuated that Edwards had done something wrong when the facts clearly indicated otherwise. The Post's own ombudsman agreed that there was a problem with that article.

This article fits the same pattern. The facts of this story clearly demonstrate that Senator Obama did nothing wrong, yet the story says that he may have. The fact that he used a broker recommended to him by a supporter is completely unremarkable. The fact that Obama didn't know what stocks the broker was investing in, and that when he subsequently found out he immediately sold them at a loss because he wanted to avoid any potential confict is also completely above-board and unremarkable. The only "issue" here seems to be that the broker invested in stocks that could have potentially presented Senator Obama with a conflict of interest. However, the fact that the broker was also investing his other client's funds in these stocks clearly indicates that these purchasing decisions weren't specific to Obama.

The article suggests that Obama's judgement is somehow an issue here, but I fail to see what the misjudgement was, given that Obama had set up a blind trust and was unaware of the purchases. What exactly is the ethical judgement lapse here? The article doesn't say, presicely because there was none. If anything, the fact that he sold the stocks at a loss as soon as he inadvertently became aware of them suggests sound judgement and a desire to go out of his way to do the right thing. I hope the Post's ombudsman takes a critical look at this article in order to prevent this type of "Drudge" journalism from creeping onto the pages of the Post in the future. If anything, this article creates the impression that the Post is going out of it's way to produce a negative "story" about Obama in order to counterbalance all the recent stories and opinion articles that have been favorable to Obama.

Posted by: Carrie | March 7, 2007 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Some of the anger levied at the author of this column seems misdirected; I don't think he meant to imply that Mr. Obama is indeed guilty of ethical misdemeanors. Rather, he speculates on what the public's perception of Obama will be if the media takes this non-issue to the next level. It's a good piece simply because Mr. Cillizza demonstrates the fragility of Barack Obama's entire reform agenda. As he says in his article, perception is reality. If enough people believe he's crooked, then he might as well be. If Obama is not more careful the next time around it can all come crumbling down.

Posted by: Ed Ferrusquia | March 7, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I generally enjoy your work, but this - headline and all seems more the work of the Washington Times not the Post.

Posted by: Silas | March 7, 2007 6:08 PM | Report abuse

This article is a joke ! C'mon man !

Posted by: Detroit Dude | March 7, 2007 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. If Obama is soooo "ethical", then why are so many corporations lining up and backing him ?? (unless there's of course something in it for them)

He's just another crooked politician just waiting to jump onto the "good old boy in Washington bandwagon".

I say we elect some CPA and not an attorney for a change and watch how fast we have a true "balanced budget"

Posted by: Me & myself | March 7, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

The story of inappropriate use of political power for personal gain begins and ends with all the no bid contracts being awarded to Halliburton. The corruption in the current administration is so blatant and egregious that it becomes invisible. It becomes invisible because the level of self serving wrong doing is beyond most people's ability to fathom.
Who wants to bet that if elected Obama gets the Clinton treatment, a six year fishing expedition that costs hundreds of millions of tax dollars and will turn up something so private and inconsequential as to be a criminal in its waste of money. Remember Republicans spent $500 million (how many body armour suits does that buy to "support our troops" ) to eventually impeach the man for lying about sex. This is a non-story.

Posted by: DI | March 7, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Is this the best you got, Saruman?

Posted by: Mercuras | March 7, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Wow, this is sleazy, even for wapo blogger standards.

Posted by: brian | March 7, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Nothing to see here folks.

Posted by: dpt01 | March 7, 2007 5:56 PM | Report abuse

So to condense this story to its essence:

We've got nothin on Obama. But just the fact our suspicous minds have been brought to wonder is something we can hold against him. He's given us license to hold anything at all against him: that's the cost of running as the "ethics" candidate. With other candidates, it would be the job of the journalist to decide whether the facts at hand justify suspicion. In Obama's case, it's HIS fault that they got suspicious in the first place, so every suspicion is automatically justified.

Come on, Washington Post! Do you even *have* editors anymore?

Posted by: Huh? | March 7, 2007 5:56 PM | Report abuse

From the outrage and similiarity of these posts, it looks like the Obama campaign is doing a fine job of damage control on the web. Keep it up guys!

Posted by: Vik | March 7, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me? Give it a rest you stupid meat head.

Posted by: Sean John | March 7, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Gee, since when do "politician" and "ethics" ever belong in the same sentence ???

That is unless youm follow it up with the words "LACK OF"... Each and everyone of them are liars, thieves, cheats and crooks worthy of nothing but being stoned and then hung in public.

Posted by: Billy | March 7, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Does THE FIX have a problem with finding real stories?
Seems like you could be using your "talent" to uncover something of more interest and more enlightening than this stuff.

Posted by: new guy | March 7, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

you know its is so nice to see that there are alot of smart people in this country who can recognize what is news and what is not news better than a journalist. Chris, go back to college and learn what real journalism is.

Posted by: chadi | March 7, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

And don't forget the white girlfriend he dumped and all the other women he had sex with before he met his wife.

Posted by: xango | March 7, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

This isn't a story. What a joke! Why do you have a job?

Posted by: This is a "Top Story" from Google? | March 7, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

This is ugly journalism.

Posted by: JK | March 7, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Does Obama have a problem? Yes he does and its the media's mud slinging. Get a life Chris and start reporting something that matters like the North American Union!!!!!

Posted by: Joe | March 7, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

You forgot to mention the unpaid parking tickets at Harvard....if you are going to dump then go all the way.

Posted by: heather | March 7, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Tarheel: yes but how many times are you going to post the same stuff on different offerings of the same blog? That is more Che-like than the length of what you post.

At least you don't sit around waiting for CC to generate a new topic so you can be the first two entries. If that doesn't say "I have no life" then I don't know what does.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | March 7, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for putting the truth out there Chris. Too bad those on the Obama bandwagon decide to whine instead of give any kind of argument for his innocence. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: JC | March 7, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Wow, you are an extremely sad individual if this is all you have against Obama.

Posted by: zyoose | March 7, 2007 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama's supporters might want to ask a few questions:
1. Why is Mr. Abbruzzese supporting and contributing to Barack
Obama? Mr. Abbruzzese contributed money to the Swift Boaters
who went after John Kerry. Mr. Abbruzzese also gave one hundred
thousand dollars to the Republican National Committee over
the past two years. He is a Republican. Why does Obama have
this man in his camp?

2. Why does Obama have Robert Gibbs running his campaign; when
Gibbs was the guy who helped create the anti-Howard Dean
ad - you know ... the one with the picture of Osama bin-Laden
that claimed Dean had less foreign policy experience than George
W. Bush?

3. Why does Obama mingle and receive donations from Avi
BioPharma as well as buy stock in that company and then request
billions of dollars from Bush for the stockpiling of Avian flu

4. Why does Obama's top campaign finance director, Ms. Pritzker,
contribute to George W. Bush and to Dennis Hastert? She
contributed to the re-election of Dubya in 2004.

Posted by: Sam Davis | March 7, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama's supporters might want to ask a few questions:
1. Why is Mr. Abbruzzese supporting and contributing to Barack
Obama? Mr. Abbruzzese contributed money to the Swift Boaters
who went after John Kerry. Mr. Abbruzzese also gave one hundred
thousand dollars to the Republican National Committee over
the past two years. He is a Republican. Why does Obama have
this man in his camp?

2. Why does Obama have Robert Gibbs running his campaign; when
Gibbs was the guy who helped create the anti-Howard Dean
ad - you know ... the one with the picture of Osama bin-Laden
that claimed Dean had less foreign policy experience than George
W. Bush?

3. Why does Obama mingle and receive donations from Avi
BioPharma as well as buy stock in that company and then request
billions of dollars from Bush for the stockpiling of Avian flu

4. Why does Obama's top campaign finance director, Ms. Pritzker,
contribute to George W. Bush and to Dennis Hastert? She
contributed to the re-election of Dubya in 2004.

Posted by: Sam Davis | March 7, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Just in Hagle news con. Monday. Likely run for POTUS.

Posted by: lylepink | March 7, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Judge, a Che comparision. That was a low blow. Che posted yesterday on a Princess Di conspiracy. I am afraid he has more problems than long posts.

My post looked long but that's because I intentionally made some of the run-on sentences that contained the stats into an easily readable chart. But, I'll consider links if I can find short ones that I think will open up properly. Then again, if you expect someone to consider your food for thought it is always better to serve it up yourself then tell them they have to go elsewhere to sample it.

Posted by: tarheel | March 7, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Again, I would exactly flip Chris's analysis around (I seem to being do that a lot lately).

The more time people cry "Wolf!" about Obama, and then it turns out there is nothing there, the less voters are going to pay attention the next time someone cries "Wolf!" So, I think the people currently trying to sling mud at Obama would be well-advised to chill out for a bit and wait for something remotely substantial to come along.

Posted by: DTM | March 7, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Nice try Chris. Your article sucks and your writing is baseless. Obama didn't do anything and your attempt to damage his character is typical of the media. You build a man up, then you bring him down. Why don't you focus on real issues instead of trivial, non-sensical issues that don't matter.

Posted by: William C. | March 7, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Another example of Rove-colored glasses by the media. Where is the story here?

Posted by: Gary Denton | March 7, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | March 7, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to believe that this whole thing is a coincidence. If Obama is telling the truth then he is an idiot for not taking greater precautions to prevent this from happening. Or he's covering up the truth. Either it takes him off message and is bad news for Obama.

Posted by: VAMAN | March 7, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

And how did the hard working guys at the NYT dig up this previously concealed story? Why, they read Obama's recently released Senate financial disclosure forms.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

"William, you keep forgetting the Solid Politics link. Did you change your mind about supporting that site?"


That was some other sleazeball posting under my moniker.

Makes me mad.

We really need registration on this site.

I didn't even bother visiting the solid politics site, but I would wager a guess that it is racist or something, since the person posting under my name seems determined to misrepresent me.

BTW the same person (probably) is posting under KOZ's name.

So he/she is targetting conservatives.

Posted by: William | March 7, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Obama has more problems than questionable investments. Quinnipiac University Polling Institute in New York, unveiled in a March 7 release the following poll for New Jersey:

Giuliani 44 Obama 40
Clinton 44 Giuliani 43

Giuliani 47 Clinton 42
Giuliani 48 Obama 26

Giuliani 51 Clinton 40
Giuliani 48 Obama 36

Similarly, the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania reported the following poll results:
Giuliani 53 Clinton 37
Giuliani 52 Obama 32
McCain 45 Clinton 41
McCain 43 Obama 37

Those are startling findings, since 46 percent of Pennsylvania respondents told the pollsters they believed the Republican president was doing a "poor job." Since Bush's ratings were so low the other figures are most likely accurate.

"Because of Electoral College math, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania are critical in presidential elections," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a statement. "No candidate since 1964 has taken the White House without taking at least two of these swing states. And while Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is ahead in Florida and Pennsylvania, it's early in the race and our Swing States remain very much in play." Still, "you would think Rudolph Giuliani had been mayor of Miami, Cleveland and Philadelphia by his numbers," Brown said.

Posted by: tarheel | March 7, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Rashomon: great comments. I am reminded why I read The Fix. Everybody knows that Bill Clinton is also responsible for the Great 1906 San Francisco earthquake. It's just a matter of time before the coverup is revealed.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | March 7, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

re: William

Pay Chris his $20. It was above the fold on Page 1 (right next to the Libby story).

Vince Foster's death? I thought Dan Burton cleared that up by shooting a melon in his backyard. Or was it Clinton's Cocaine dealer from Arkansas? Or Hillary's lesbian lover? I get my conspiracy stories confused.

Posted by: rashomon | March 7, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

William, you keep forgetting the Solid Politics link. Did you change your mind about supporting that site?

Posted by: Blarg | March 7, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

"Here is a sobering article about the Russian journalist who died recently. His snooping into Russian arms deals seems to have done him in."

Are you suggesting that Obama will kill people who delve too deeply into his past?

You may be right.

In either case, the Clintons are certainly willing to do so.

Vince Foster's death is STILL shrouded in mystery.

Personally, if I were a journalist digging into the Clinton's past, I would wear a bulletproof vest 24/7 and get myself a concealed carry license.

And hire Blackwater to provide bodyguards.

Posted by: William | March 7, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

re: oldschooldem

Seems like the campaign handled it pretty well...turn it around in the same news cycle (The Note agreed), strong counterstory, the candidate handles it well at the first public appearance, etc.

I don't know that you want to get in front of all your oppo at one time. If you start calling stuff on yourself too readily, that just makes people think you're hiding something.

I have a hard time believing that anyone's holding back on Obama. If you want to kill his chances, now's the time. By summer or fall it might be too late. The guy seems to learn quickly.

Posted by: rashomon | March 7, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

This is all very humorous. I laugh each time that I hear of the contastant attempts to shed a bad light on Obama. The Rezko bit, this 'incident', even the release of Obama's lineage that resulted in them being owners of slaves. Hysterical!! What will this net us next... the comedy continues.

Posted by: Chicagoan | March 7, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse


Are you kidding? This is journalism at it's worst -- a blatant attempt by you and others is the MSM to create a stroy where none exist.

Posted by: Imani | March 7, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"Does Obama have a problem"?????

Obama has many.

I am surprising the NY Slimes is actually running the story and not ignoring it or burying it in the Metro Section or Arts and Leisure.

I didn't read today's NY Slimes, but $10 says it was on page A15 or later and $20 says it was not on the front page.

Since the NYT doesn't do anything without an ulterior motive, my only conclusion is that they have realized Obama is unelectable and want to stop him early, before he turns into a Howard Dean who might win the nomination.

Apparently the Times, for the good of the liberal cause, is trying to clear the field for another candidate who can actually win.

I wonder whether the Times is backing Edwards or HRC.

Posted by: William | March 7, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

The most interesting nuggett in The Times report had to do with Obama accepting campaign donations from Jared Abbruzzese, a financial backer of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and other Republican Party causes and who currently is a central figure in a federal corruption investigation.

And then there is the miraculous and convenient tripling of his wife's salary recently.

Posted by: George | March 7, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

obama still has the moral high ground versus ANY of the dem or GOP candidates.

Posted by: bman14luck | March 7, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

really mountain man, obama's not perfect? stop the presses!

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | March 7, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I guess I'll be the odd man out here. This is a real story, and here's why: yes, it doesn't appear Obama did anything unethical, I'm not disputing that and he should be congratulated for divesting himself of the stock as soon as he did, and at a loss even. The problem is this shows how his campaign is perhaps not as disciplined as it should be. Why was this found by the press, as the previous story was, without the campaign getting it out first and controlling the story? The fact that these little mistakes keep popping up perhaps indicates that Obama isn't ready for the rigors of a full campaign, and it makes you wonder what people will find on him when things get really messy. I'm not saying he's done anything wrong, or that there is in fact anything to find, but it has to make you wonder...

Posted by: oldschooldem | March 7, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Non-issue. Non-issue. Non-issue.

And you wonder why people say the MSM is pathetic.

Posted by: Hotspur | March 7, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Wow ... no one is perfect especially anyone running for president, look at W, haha, anyway if this is worst anyone has to bring up about Obama then there will be no problem with him winning the nomination. Go. Obama. Go.

Posted by: sjxylib | March 7, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Wow I'd love to look at the world through the rose colored glasses of these obama fans here, but what you are all missing is the death by 1,000 principle. Obama has brought this on himself by claiming to be holier then thall. Chris is right its all about perception and he is begining to be perceaved as shady. Maybe you all should take your heads out of the sand and stop shooting the messanger. Obama is not perfect and there will LOTS more stories like this about him so get used to it!

Posted by: mountain man | March 7, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Uh oh, wait till they find out that Obama's a smoker. They'll crucify him.

I agree with everyone else - a non-story. At least compared to HRC's financial past and the trial lawyer, Obama looks like a priest (well, maybe that's a bad comparison these days...)

Posted by: JD | March 7, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Ok, so he had no knowledge that these stocks were bought. why is this a story? WHy is your headline "does obama have a problem?" The answer is clearly now. This is a non-story and just another example of the press's need to focus on the process and the horse race. Weak.

The "perception" and "story lines" you talk about are all inventions of the media. If you all would stop following story lines and stop reporting non-stories, and focus on actual news and not the process, you'd be doing your job.

Posted by: Marcos | March 7, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Chris: If the information about the trust is correct, then everybody above who called this a non-story is absolutely correct.

Sorry to have to say this, but if it isn't correct then this is shoddy reporting.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | March 7, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

For a look at Obama's history on ethics, take a look here:

Posted by: Illinois guy | March 7, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Ho ho ho, if this is the worst that anyone can come up with, Obama is a shoo-in to win in '08!

Posted by: Stacey | March 7, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Chris-You're smarter than this. I was going to be really mean, but come on.

Posted by: AKA | March 7, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

this is not a story about ethics. It is a story about inexperience. Look how well dirty harry reid manipulates and violates the ethics while managing to stay out of it somehow. Look how Jefferson does it.

the new kid isn't from around here and is going to learn some hard lessons about innuendo real soon. I always predicted he would suffer from the lack of experience, it was this kind of experience I was talking about. If this happened to hill guess how she would respond.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

If this is a serious charge, both Heather Wilson and Pete Dominici need to resign immediately and then be disbarred. What they did looks like mafioso breaking kneecaps compared to Obama's obscure, arcane tempest-in-a-teacup ethics 'violation.'

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | March 7, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Chris--Oh, and please remember that 'impartiality' is not synonymous to 'stenography.'

If a 'factually challenged' statement is given, it is not only an option but the responsibility of journalists to point this out.

Posted by: roo | March 7, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

What's facinating about this non-issue is that it appears that Obama himself recognized the potential for perception of conflict-of-interest and took it upon himself to fix it...over a year ago. At a financial loss to himself.

Sorry, Chris...if this is an ethical lapse, then I don't think anyone can be considered ethical.

Posted by: rashomon | March 7, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I also agree with all the above comments. Where is the story? There's no evidence that he had anything to do with the purchase of these individual stocks, nor any evidence that he profited from them. So where's the problem?

Posted by: Peter | March 7, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

agree on all fronts with the above comments.


Your one mistake, two mistake idea would be true if he had made unethical decision. But he hasn't. The fact the media has tried to make it look like he has made missteps is the media's problem not Obama's.

Posted by: dpg | March 7, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

agree on all fronts.


Your one mistake, two mistake idea would b e true if he had made unethical decision. But he hasn't. The fact the media has tried to make it look like he has made missteps is the media's problem not Obama's.

Posted by: dpg | March 7, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

"Taken apart (or even together), neither of these incidents are terribly damaging." ...And even taken together, they shouldn't be. However, with his questions Mr. Cillizza seems to do everything in his journalistic power to invent a context so that they APPEAR to be ethical lapses.

As an Illinois voter and reader, I'm quite familiar with how Mr. Rezko was able to persuade lots of respectable people, not just Senator Obama, to do things that only with 20-20 hindsight seemed to be in an ethical grey area. As for the investments, the man bought them blindly through an investment advisor, and sold them at a LOSS, for Pete's sake! What would it take to convince you something IS ethical?

Looks to me like you inside-the-Beltway pundits have too much time on your hands, and need to resort to manufacturing news through innuendo. Those of us here in the Midwest can see through it, fortunately, but I'm some of you in the Eastern time zone might take this fantasy to be reality.

Posted by: Martin Berg | March 7, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, this is going too far. It's irresponsible journalism. Bye bye for a while... if you won't take a vacation, I will.

Posted by: Golgi | March 7, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

You guys really are desparate to soil him aren't you. Well guess what it shows. This is such a non story. You have to do better than this

Posted by: Lynn | March 7, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I am sorry, what?

The lead to the story can pretty much be condensed to "OBAMA IS SLEAZY!!!1" and, if one is inclined to actually read the piece, it becomes apparent that he SPECIFICALLY INSULATED HIMSELF FROM BIASED INVESTMENTS and divested as soon as he became aware of the non-problem problem.

I am this close to swearing, Chris. This close.

How about you change the first line of your article to this:

"For the second time since signaling his plans to run for president, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is FACING APPARENTLY BASELESS allegations of ethical misjudgment."

Time to write to the NYT people again too, I guess.

Posted by: roo | March 7, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse


Why am I not surprised that this particular quote from the New York Times article is not in your column today?

"There is no evidence that any of his actions ended up benefiting either company during the roughly eight months that he owned the stocks."

Posted by: dnA | March 7, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Wow how much of a non-story is this. It is up there with Guiliani and his son not getting along because his new wife is a Skeez.

Chris why don't you and Chris Matthews and all the other political reporters take a nice two week Vaca to the bahamas. Then when y'all come back there will be tons of new non-stories to write about.

Posted by: Andy R | March 7, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Breaking news!.... Obama isn't perfect!

If it is Hillary's campaign behind the witch-hunt then she, in her big glass house of fantastical stock deals, had better be careful about hurling rocks.

Here is a sobering article about the Russian journalist who died recently. His snooping into Russian arms deals seems to have done him in.

Posted by: Truth Hunter | March 7, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

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