|Sweet column: Obama's gaffes start to pile up.|
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign, 46 days old on Tuesday, has run into some speed bumps, created because of a series of missteps magnified because he is under microscopic scrutiny.
It's too early to say whether the gaffes slow Obama's momentum -- or if they become barricades, extracting a more significant price for the Illinois Democrat's White House bid. They are getting noticed.
Consider the items that have been accumulating since Obama announced on Feb. 10:
• Marking the anniversary of the March 1965 "Bloody Sunday" in Selma, Ala., Obama, speaking at a church, said his parents got together "because of what happened in Selma." Obama was born in 1961.
• Obama told Larry King on CNN -- asked about that anti-Hillary Rodham Clinton YouTube ad, a doctored version of a spot created for Apple computers -- "We don't have the technical capacity to create something like that."
Obama did not know what he was talking about. Any professional media consultant can manipulate images on video. Turns out the creator -- unmasked last week as a political operative who worked for a firm overseeing the technical side of Obama's Web site -- made it at home on a Mac.
• Obama, asked if homosexuality was immoral, in the wake of comments by Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Peter Pace, sidestepped the question. After pressure from gay groups, Obama issued a statement stating he did not agree with Pace "that homosexuality is immoral."
Cynicism is like terrorism?
• One of Obama's stump lines is that the biggest obstacle he fights is not any of his rivals, it is cynicism. He used a variation of it during a reception he hosted at a conference here sponsored by AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Displaying a tin ear, Obama said that one of the enemies is not "just terrorists" or "just Hezbollah" or "just Hamas" -- "it's also cynicism."
• The Tribune dug this up: Obama, in his memoir, Dreams of My Father, writes of a story in Life magazine that influenced him -- about a black man trying to bleach his skin white. No such article could be found in Life or Ebony.
Insider or outsider?
• Another Obama stump line -- he said it again Tuesday morning to the Communications Workers of America here -- is that "I've been long enough in Washington to know that Washington needs to change." He is running against Washington yet his campaign is populated with political professionals who are Washington insiders.
• Obama's embrace of some rhetoric used by rival John Edwards is getting attention. Edwards, in a 2003 speech made for his first presidential run said, "I've spent enough time in Washington to know how much we need to change Washington."
Bill Burton, an Obama spokesman, said in reaction to the Obama stumbles: "If there are people looking for a candidate running to be the darling of the Washington insider crowd, this campaign is not for them. We are encouraged by the growing, unflinching support of Americans who believe we can transform our country by changing our politics."
Posted by Lynn Sweet on March 28, 2007 08:04 AM