Obama Ups the Ante on Disclosure

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Obama went before reporters from the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times on Friday and cleared the air on the Rezko situation in a big way. Here’s the beginning of the Trib‘s write-up:

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama waited 16 months to attempt the exorcism. But when he finally sat down with the Tribune editorial board Friday, Obama offered a lengthy and, to us, plausible explanation for the presence of now-indicted businessman Tony Rezko in his personal and political lives.

The most remarkable facet of Obama’s 92-minute discussion was that, at the outset, he pledged to answer every question the three dozen Tribune journalists crammed into the room would put to him. And he did.

You can read the whole thing here. It’s pretty remarkable; it’s the closest thing to an acquittal that the press can issue. The Obama campaign tried to use it to push the Clinton-as-serial-nondiscloser story line, immediately urging the Clinton campaign to match their moment of forthrightness by releasing all of Clinton’s tax records, disclosing all of her earmarks, and making the donations to Bill Clinton’s presidential library and foundation public.

I’m guessing the Clinton campaign will reject all three parts of that suggestion. The question is whether voters in Pennsylvania care. I’m guessing they are a little more worried about things like NAFTA, the economy, and the Iraq War. But that said, if Obama’s push on the issue of disclosure reminds just a few people that they are tired of the Clintons and their drama, he might poke a few critical percentage points into his column on election night.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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