The [Thursday] Papers
And a different view of Obama's California splash, from the Los Angeles Times:
"But, truth be told, there was little that was really new or different about the issues Obama raised in his maiden swing as a formal presidential candidate.
"Washington gridlock. Poison politics. Overweening special interests. Poverty, poor schools and an exorbitantly expensive healthcare system. Candidates cluck over them every presidential election.
"Obama offered little in the way of concrete solutions. And most of the proposals he did throw out, like harnessing technology to bring greater efficiencies to the healthcare system, were hardly novel . . .
"'Every campaign evolves,' said David Axelrod, chief strategist of the Obama campaign. 'Of course we'll address specific issues in detail along the way.'
"But, he went on, 'This thing is not going to turn on whether his 10-point plan is better than someone else's 10-point plan.' Rather, the presidential contest will be about leadership and the ability to inspire and motivate - demonstrated, Axelrod said, by the ability 'to get 7,000 people to come out to an arena in Ames, Iowa' nearly a year before the first vote of the 2008 campaign."
Maybe so. But then, what of this?
"On Saturday night, in Waterloo, Iowa, Obama urged voters to demand of each candidate: 'What is your plan? It's not enough to simply say, 'I'm going to end the war.' You've got to suggest how you're going to end the war.'"
I'm not sure if my favorite part was the way she sidestepped talking about her legal troubles by saying "I thought we were here to talk about the race and the ward" or when she declared "Truth is verifiable and glorious to the righteous, and I am one of the righteous individuals."
It was also creepy how she frequently chose to speak directly to the camera. I thought we might see a meltdown right there in the WTTW studio.
Challenger Willie Cochran, on the other hand, was calm and composed sitting next to Troutman and stating "The most urgent issue is the replacement of the currrent alderman."
On the issues, Cochran allowed that while "most people" in the ward are encouraged by plans for bringing Olympic events to the ward, "they are also suspicious of the Olympics coming to Washington Park."
Moderator Carol Marin asked Troutman if she supported the Washington Park plan.
"I'm for what the people are for," she said.
Well, do you think the people are for it? Marin asked.
"I don't know."
Later, Marin asked if she was "in or out" with the mayor.
"I'm in with those that are in with me," she said, looking at the camera with a firm nod of the head and smile that said she was very pleased with her formulation.
Aren't these stories supposed to appear at the beginning of the campaign, instead of the end? It's the damndest thing how baffled and bored the Chicago media is by city elections.
I was also disappointed with Phil Ponce's interview with Walls. Why ask the same questions that Walls has faced a million times? Why do reporters all work form the same script? Instead of recounting the controversy, for example, over whether Walls was an influential advisor to Harold Washington or merely a coat-holder, why not go beyond asking Walls to "respond," and ask, say, "So, what was the best appointment you helped Harold Washington make? Which issue were you most involved with? Name the best piece of advice you gave him. What was your biggest accomplishment in that administration?"
Now, poor Dock Walls ain't goin' anywhere. This isn't about him. But extrapolate. What if you said to the mayor at his daily dog-and-pony show, "Hey, I found out who hired Angelo Torres! Do you want me to tell you? Or do you still not wanna know?" Or, "Mr. Mayor, seeing as how questions still linger about what you did or did not know about police torture under Jon Burge, and seeing as how the city's settlement reportedly includes an agreement that you will not be deposed or even have ill spoken of you, will you submit to a 30- or 60-minute media interview about the subject?" Or maybe more simply," Mr. Mayor, what are you afraid of?"
If the campaign was Brown vs. Daley, she would still likely lose, but I bet the media would have treated her more seriously given a one-on-one frame.
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Posted on February 22, 2007
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