Right on Cue: Obama Media Minions Focus on McCain's Divorce

It can be argued that Barack Obama won his Senate seat in 2004 on the back of his opposition's divorce files. While much ado was made nationally of the contents of his Republican Senate opponent Jack Ryan's files, the release of which caused Ryan to drop out of the race against Obama, divorce files were also critical to Obama's win in that year's Democratic Senate Primary. Is Obama now going to try to use Senator John McCain's divorce files to win the Presidency?

The New York Times recalled in April of 2007 that Team Obama, running for an open Illinois Senate seat in 2004, was locked in a two man race against millionaire Democratic liberal Blair Hull - and losing. The following account about that race is contained in a fascinating NYT profile of David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist - Obama's Narrator:

As the 2004 Senate primary neared, it was clear that it was a contest between two people: the millionaire liberal, Hull, who was leading in the polls, and Obama, who had built an impressive grass-roots campaign. About a month before the vote, The Chicago Tribune revealed, near the bottom of a long profile of Hull, that during a divorce proceeding, Hull's second wife filed for an order of protection. In the following few days, the matter erupted into a full-fledged scandal that ended up destroying the Hull campaign and handing Obama an easy primary victory. The Tribune reporter who wrote the original piece later acknowledged in print that the Obama camp had "worked aggressively behind the scenes" to push the story. But there are those in Chicago who believe that Axelrod had an even more significant role - that he leaked the initial story. They note that before signing on with Obama, Axelrod interviewed with Hull. They also point out that Obama's TV ad campaign started at almost the same time.

Notice the method - Axelrod and Obama worked behind the scenes to force a newspaper to do their dirty work, much the same way they drove the coverage demanding the release of Jack Ryan's files.

Therefore, it's not surprising that this morning we wake up to see the following article on the front page (top left) of the Los Angeles Times: McCain's broken marriage and fractured Reagan friendship. The article is breathlessly subtitled "The nature and timing of his divorce from Carol Shepp alienated key friends -- and his version doesn't always match that in court documents."

The Los Angeles Times is the same newspaper that tried to torpedo Arnold Schwarzenegger's bid to be California's Governor at the last minute in 2003 with allegations of past groping incidents involving several women, none of whom registered any complaints when the actions allegedly occurred (they also sold their stories to tabloids to make a quick buck). So the Times seems to be the perfect venue for Obama's team to shop this story to.

The LA Times story on Arnold seemed to backfire on them in 2003 - Schwarzenegger won the election by almost 20 points. Let's see how the paper fares with this.

N.B. I encourage everyone to read the New York Times profile of David Axelrod, Obama's Narrator, who is mentioned above. That particular article, along with an article in the Houston Press by Todd Spivak, Barack Obama & Me, should put to rest permanently the suggestion that Team Obama is anything other than a group of the same old-style Chicago politicians -- complete with all of the negative connotations that such a label implies --  attempting to mask their liberal brand (and its faults) behind a youthful and eloquent new package.