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Sunday, July 25, 2004

Barack Obama: Robotically on Message

I had my first extended exposure to Barack Obama on Meet the Press, and I found him articulate and engaging, so good. I also found it a touch disturbing how he managed to work in a positive reference to John Kerry no matter what question he was answering from Russert. To wit:

RUSSERT: What was it like being someone who was part African-American being raised by white parents? ...

[OBAMA]: ... And that's what I think John Kerry and John Edwards are going to be talking about during this convention. ...

RUSSERT: That's what Cosby said. It's the parents. He said they're buying their kids $500 sneakers but won't spend $200 for Hooked On Phonics. ...

[OBAMA]: ... John Kerry cares about the values of America. He has faith in communities and their ability to work to better themselves, but he also knows that government has a role to play in making America strong. ...

[RUSSERT]: You seem to say that George Bush took a country to war, lost nearly 900 Americans, 5,000 wounded and injured on politics? ...

[OBAMA]: ... And I think that John Kerry is going to be establishing those relationships that allow us now, looking forward, to execute in Iraq and make sure that we are respected abroad and succeed in the difficult but now bipartisan process of making sure that we have a stable Iraqi government. ...

[RUSSERT]: A hundred and fifty donors gave $40 million to this convention. It's worse than Chicago, using your standards. Are you offended by that, and what message does that send the average voter? ...

[OBAMA]: ... One of the things I'm proud about, though, is that when you look at John Kerry's record, what you know is here's a person who is consistently voting on behalf of what he thinks is best for America and the country. ...

RUSSERT: Are you going to be a liberal Democratic senator? ...

[OBAMA]: ... I think one of the most encouraging things about John Kerry's campaign is the degree of hopefulness, reflected in his choice of vice president. ...

By the time the interview was ending, I expected Obama to work in an endorsement of Kerry if he were asked about his favorite color or what he thought of the weather ("John Kerry will remove the storm clouds and bring clear blue skies to America..."). Good speaker, but maybe let's try to seem a little less determined to get the talking points out in future TV appearances.