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The [Monday] Papers

BREAKING 12:40 P.M.: Robert Novak diagnosed with brain tumor.

"If you thought Sen. Barack Obama would have an easy time before an audience of journalists of color Sunday, think again," Mary Mitchell writes this morning. "[I]t looks like the honeymoon - if there ever was such a thing - is over."

If the honeymoon is over, it's only because the marriage has been consummated.

"Sporting a beige suit and a U.S. flag lapel pin, Obama found a receptive audience among the minority journalists and students at McCormick Place, who gave him standing ovations, 10 rounds of applause and a rush of cell phone picture-taking," Sun-Times political reporter Abdon Pallasch reports.

It's true that Pallasch also writes next that "they did not hold back on tough questions." And Obama did not hold back on evading them, as I will show.

But c'mon!

"As it happened, Obama received a standing ovation from much of the audience at the start and end of his appearance," the Tribune reports.

That's all you get in the online version, which is curious because my print edition ends like this:

"One journalist was also overheard wishing him luck, while another exclaimed, 'He touched me!' as she left the ballroom."

(I wonder if that was Sun-Times editorial writer Deborah Douglas, who once said on Chicago Tonight after Obama met with the editorial board to address lingering issues about Tony Rezko that "You could listen to him all day . . . it was really refreshing to have that experience . . . only the malcontents and Obama-haters will keep this alive.")

And here were the questions the Trib's Mike Dorning put to Obama on the flight home:

* After making this trip, can you visualize yourself making the case for America abroad as president?

* Can you change the way America is viewed?

* How quickly?

* Did you pick up hostility to the U.S. in this trip?

* Was this trip presumptuous?

* What was the political value of the trip?

* What happens if the U.S. or Israel attacks Iran after the election but before the inauguration? Should the president-elect have a role in a decision like that?

* Can I have a hug?

Okay, not the last one, but all the rest.

Meanwhile, the Trib's Sunday magazine mails in a cover story about Daley crony Valerie Jarrett titled "Insider Has Obama's Ear: What's She Telling Him?" without ever answering the question.

For starters, what did Michelle Obama do exactly when she worked for Richard M. Daley? What kind of discussions led to Barack Obama's endorsement of the scandal-laden mayor? Name three things Obama did that challenged politics as usual in Chicago. And what kind of discussions did you have with other campaign officials about race-baiting in South Carolina? I mean, I could think of others, but I guess that's why I don't write for the Tribune Sunday magazine.

Asking Obama
"Obama bristled at questions about whether meeting with foreign leaders before he's elected president was presumptuous - and about whether he should admit that his opposition to the Iraq troop 'surge' was a mistake," Pallasch reports.

"'I basically met with these same folks John McCain met with after he won the nomination, and nobody suggested that was audacious,' Obama said, evoking applause."

Yes, but John McCain has been traveling overseas for years as part of his duties as a United States Senator. Obama has yet to report to duty as a Senator and instead choreographed a campaign swing through Europe as a political stunt.

"Obama said he had not heard journalists press McCain about whether it was a mistake to authorize the war - though they have."

Well, just because they have doesn't mean Obama has heard it.

"Obama said the surge helped bring down violence in Iraq, but the troops are more urgently needed in Afghanistan."

So he was wrong to oppose the surge? He doesn't say.

"Obama did not rule out an apology from the U.S. government to Native Americans but said, 'I'm more concerned about delivering a better life and developing a better relationship with Native Americans'."

This is classic Obama fuzziness. So you're against an apology? Why?

"He gave a similar answer to the issue of reparations for descendants of slaves, saying the best reparations would be the chance of a decent job and a good education."

So is that a No?

(Robert Novak recalls today that in Jordan last week Katie Couric "asked four different times whether the troop surge he had opposed was instrumental in reducing violence in Iraq. Each time, Obama answered straight from talking points by citing 'the great effort of our young men and women in uniform'.'')

Finally, in the Trib account, Obama responds to a question about whether his disavowals of being Muslim are offensive to Muslims this way: "I just don't like the idea of somebody falsifying my religion."

Um, right.

The Sun-Times is selling Obama posters for $8 (20 percent off - regularly $10). I saw that in an ad in the print edition. I can't find it online because, you know, nobody buys anything online these days.

Committing Journalism
I'm not sure a permalink for today's Doonesbury is available so I'll just do it this way . . .

First panel:

"Have to go, honey. I'm picking up Rick at the airport."

"How'd the trip go?"

Second panel:

"Great, I guess. I mean, it was pretty historic . . . "

Third panel:

"No one's ever campaigned for president in Europe before."

Fourth panel cuts to Rick on the campaign plane:

"So what's the takeaway, Senator?"

"The people of Germany want change."

UPDATE 12:48 P.M.: Here it is!

In Today's Beachwood
Lots of great stuff. Consult the "Today's Beachwood" box in the upper right rail for assistance.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Giddyup.


Posted on July 28, 2008

MUSIC - Holiday Hullabaloo.
POLITICS - Bank Profits Soaring.
SPORTS - Chicago vs. Michigan, 1903.

BOOKS - Dia De Los Muertos Stories.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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