1. Muslims barred from picture at Obama event:
Two Muslim women at Barack Obama's rally in Detroit on Monday were barred from sitting behind the podium by campaign volunteers seeking to prevent the women's headscarves from appearing in photographs or on television with the candidate.2. Obama Forgoes Public Funds in First for Major Candidate:
The campaign has apologized to the women, both Obama supporters who said they felt betrayed by their treatment at the rally.
"This is of course not the policy of the campaign. It is offensive and counter to Obama's commitment to bring Americans together and simply not the kind of campaign we run," said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. "We sincerely apologize for the behavior of these volunteers."
Building a human backdrop to a political candidate, a set of faces to appear on television and in photographs, is always a delicate exercise in demographics and political correctness. Advance staffers typically pick supporters out of a crowd to reflect the candidate's message.
Senator Barack Obama announced Thursday that he would not participate in the public financing system for presidential campaigns. He argued that the system had collapsed, and would put him at a disadvantage running against Senator John McCain, his likely Republican opponent.To be quite honest, I don't really have anything in particular to say about either of these items. They both strike me as completely predictable from a middle-of-the-road, mainstream, establishment Democrat, which is what Obama is (and always has been) and are therefore predictably sigh-inducing, at least from this non-partisan progressive. But, ya know, SNAFU and shit. I'm not in the mood to write an entire dissertation on how the entire system's fucked up at the moment. But it is. And these things reflect that.
With his decision, Mr. Obama became the first candidate of a major party to decline public financing — and the spending limits that go with it — since the system was created in 1976, after the Watergate scandals.
…"The public financing of presidential elections as it exists today is broken, and we face opponents who've become masters at gaming this broken system," he said. "John McCain's campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs. And we've already seen that he's not going to stop the smears and attacks from his allies running so-called 527 groups, who will spend millions and millions of dollars in unlimited donations."
[Insert your own snark about ChangeTM here, should you be so inclined.]
I'm going to need a macro for that.
[My friend Steve Benen's got a good post explaining why he thinks Obama made the right decision to opt out of public financing, which I recommend reading even if you're not inclined to agree, just to get the context of the decision.]