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Obama: Covering Obama

The Los Angeles Times notes the lack of access the press has had in covering Obama. "First Clinton, then John McCain made the argument that Obama is someone we don't really know. Obama's supporters counter that we have his record in the U.S. and Illinois senates, two memoirs that reveal his inner thinking and a vast trove of public speaking. Ironically, those of us who were sent out to take his measure in person can't offer much help in answering who he is, or if he is ready. The barriers set in place between us and him were just too great."

The New York Times profiles Michelle Obama. "While some of Senator Barack Obama's advisers once viewed Mrs. Obama as an unpredictable force who sometimes spoke her mind a little too much, she is now regarded within the campaign as a disciplined and effective advocate for her husband. She has also, advisers believe, gone a long way toward addressing her greatest unstated challenge: making more voters comfortable with the idea of a black first lady."

Meanwhile, the Chicago Sun-Times profiles Obama adviser and hoops pal Eric Whitaker. "Five years ago, Obama, then an Illinois state senator, gave a 'glowing' reference for Whitaker to Tony Rezko, the now-convicted political fixer who helped Gov. Blagojevich find people to run state agencies. Blagojevich hired Whitaker to be the state's public health director. Obama has said that's the only time he can recall talking to Rezko -- who was a major campaign fund-raiser for him and for Blagojevich -- about getting anyone a state job." Dr. Whitaker has a master's in public health from Harvard."
"As state health chief, Whitaker spent millions on programs that used churches to educate minorities about AIDS, breast cancer and preparing for public health emergencies, a program hailed nationwide. Whitaker's agency also got caught up in scandal. He oversaw the budget of the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, which approves medical construction projects. Rezko and his associates controlled that board, which they used to solicit kickbacks and payoffs, according to testimony at Rezko's trial. Rezko was convicted. Whitaker, who said he wasn't involved in the board's day-to-day operations, was never accused of any wrongdoing." Whitaker was hired on at the University of Chicago where he worked with Michelle Obama and could be in line for a federal position, if Obama wins.