If small donors are going to be the fuel that powers campaigns from here on out, then the disclosure laws are probably going to have to change because there is a GIANT loophole. "An analysis of campaign finance records by The New York Times this week found nearly 3,000 donations to Mr. Obama, the Democratic nominee, from more than a dozen people with apparently fictitious donor information. The contributions represent a tiny fraction of the record $450 million Mr. Obama has raised. But the questionable donations — some donors were listed simply with gibberish for their names — raise concerns about whether the Obama campaign is adequately vetting its unprecedented flood of donors."
"It is unclear why someone making a political donation would want to enter a false name. Some perhaps did it for privacy reasons. Another, more ominous possibility, of course, is fraud, perhaps in order to donate beyond the maximum limits. There is no evidence that questionable contributions amount to anything more than a small portion of Mr. Obama's fund-raising haul. The Times's analysis, conducted over a few days and looking for obvious anomalies, like names or addresses with all consonants, identified about $40,000 in suspect contributions that had not been refunded by the campaign as of its last filing with the Federal Election Commission, in September."
Per the Wall Street Journal, "The Obama campaign said it was a mistake for an outreach coordinator to join a meeting last month attended by leaders of two controversial Muslim groups as it seeks votes from large Muslim populations in swing states. Minha Husaini, newly named as head of the campaign's outreach coordinator to Muslims, attended a discussion session Sept. 15 with about 30 Muslim leaders and community members in suburban Washington, the Obama campaign confirmed. Participants included leaders of the Council of American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim American Society, which have been cited by the government in the past for ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas."
"The Obama campaign's Muslim outreach director participated in a meeting in mid September that was attended by several controversial Muslim activists," NBC News' Jim Popkin adds on the NBC Deep Background blog. "The Obama campaign now concedes that was a misjudgment, and that its top Muslim staffer would not have attended the meeting if she had known the full participant list beforehand. 'Would a campaign staffer have attended if they were aware of the complete list of attendees? No,' said Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt in an email statement to NBC."
This also will be BIG on talk radio today. A Washington Times report essentially accuses Obama of doing something the Dems accused Reagan of doing in 1980. "At the same time the Bush administration was negotiating a still elusive agreement to keep the U.S. military in Iraq, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama tried to convince Iraqi leaders in private conversations that the president shouldn't be allowed to enact the deal without congressional approval. Mr. Obama's conversations with the Iraqi leaders, confirmed to The Washington Times by his campaign aides, began just two weeks after he clinched the Democratic presidential nomination in June and stirred controversy over the appropriateness of a White House candidate's contacts with foreign governments while the sitting president is conducting a war."
"Some of the specifics of the conversations remain the subject of dispute. Iraqi leaders purported to The Times that Mr. Obama urged Baghdad to delay an agreement with Mr. Bush until next year when a new president will be in office - a charge the Democratic campaign denies."
Speaking of (in a way)… The Boston Globe's Lehigh is the latest to draw the Obama-Reagan comparison. "I don't mean to suggest that Obama is like Reagan in policy terms. Heaven forfend. That would appall both Reagan and Obama fans. But Obama does seem to be creating the Democratic equivalent of the Gipper Gestalt, the Dutch Dynamic, which led to . . . the Ronnie Tsunami. Folksy, funny, and infectiously optimistic, Reagan was an accomplished communicator. Less witty but more cerebral, Obama is also a compelling speaker, with a Reagan-like faith in the power of ideas. Just as the charismatic Reagan did in running against an opponent with a nasty streak, Obama radiates a basic likeability. And certainly 2008 is starting to look a lot like 1980, the year Reagan beat Jimmy Carter."