Barack’s Here– Who Knew?

Sen. Barack Obama is in town today. His schedule says only “No Public Events”, but you can be sure that means the Senator is raising money for his bid to be the Democratic Presidential nominee.
A month ago– heck, even a week ago– the Obama campaign would have combined a behind-closed-doors fund-raiser with a public event or two, to get the Senator on the 6 PM news, expressing his concern about immigration or hurricane insurance or the Everglades. But that was then, and this is now.
The national Democrats’ ban on Florida campaigning took effect Saturday, and Obama signed the pledge that he won’t do any campaigning here.
So I’m not expecting my calls to the local Obama folks to be returned any time soon, especially after reading the St. Pete Times comical account of their attempt to ask the Senator questions aoutside his fundraiser in Tampa last night. Their very able Political Editor, Adam Smith, recounted his conversation this way:

Me: “Senator, what’s your position on a national cat fund!” (No Response) Senator, can we talk to you about the Everglades!. (No response, only uncomfortable silence from everyone in shouting distance) Senator! If you’ll only talk to people writing $1,000 checks, why should Florida Democrats support you?! (More silence) Will you take any questions!?”
Obama (shouting back): “Why are you yelling?”
Me: “Because you won’t let me talk to you! Will you talk about a national cat fund!?”
Obama: “I’m not allowed to talk to the press, guys!”
Me: “Isn’t it up to you?!”
Obama: “Nope!”
Me: “Aren’t you the guy trying to lead the country?!”
Obama: “I signed a pledge!”
Me: “Why?! (Silence) Why!?”
And then Barack Obama hopped in his SUV and departed…

Since fundraising is one area specifically exempted from the DNC’s Florida campaigning ban, I’m still expecting that some Democrats are going to hold low-dollar “fundraisers” open to media coverage. But it looks like actual Q & A on issues most vital to Floridians is out.

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