Obama’s Chicago, where “everyone is connected to everyone”

In an odd bit of convergence, this weekend, Time, the New York Times, and the Chicago Tribune each took a look into Obama’s Illinois roots. This sudden emphasis on Chicago reminded me of a Tuesday night tweet from Republican social media guru Patrick Ruffini: ” Over the next six months, we must mention the words Obama and Chicago and/or Daley as much as possible.”

Michael Weisskopf, in Time:

How did the man… come so far so fast? Much of the answer can be traced to the lessons of his first thumping. It was after that brief race in 2000…that Obama learned how to be a politician. He jettisoned his Harvard-tested speaking style for something more down-home. He learned how to cultivate those in power without being defined by them. And he learned how to be different things to different people: a reformer groomed by an old-fashioned machine boss, an African American heavily financed by white liberals, a Harvard lawyer whose bootstrapping life story gained traction with white ethnics. Abner Mikva, a former federal judge and Congressman from Chicago, credits Obama with figuring out “how to appeal to different constituencies without being inconsistent.”…[During the 2004 Democratic primary] while Obama couldn’t win the support of the Daleys’ political machine–he knew they would back Hynes–he shrewdly planted some political seeds. He wrote Bill Daley, a longtime Democratic wise man, saying that while it was only right for the Daleys to support a loyal friend, he hoped they would be for him if he won the primary. “I thought, that’s a very smooth move,” said the younger Daley, who now supports Obama for the White House.

In the Times, Jo Becker and Christopher Drew quote Chicago mainstay Marilyn Katz

“For better or worse, this is Chicago,” said Ms. Katz, who has held fund-raisers for Mr. Obama at her home. “Everyone is connected to everyone.”

John Kass, in the Tribune:

The presumptive Democratic presidential candidate’s politics were born in Chicago. Yet he is presented to the nation as not truly being of this place, as if he floats just above the political corruption here, uninfected, untouched by the stain of it or by any sin of commission or omission. It is all so very mystical.


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