Sunday, March 19, 2006

"But Will They Love Him Tomorrow?

Anne Kornblut at the "Times" does a puff piece on "Mr perfect," Barack Obama.

MOST politicians spend their careers working to overcome flaws. Then there are politicians like Barack Obama.

So charismatic that his greatest challenge has been trying to play down expectations during his first Senate term, Mr. Obama's enviable plight was neatly underlined at a black-tie dinner here last weekend, as President Bush facetiously tried to roast him.

"Senator Obama, I want to do a joke on you," the president told the audience at the annual Gridiron dinner, an event where politicians and the press mingle to make fun of one another. "But doing a joke on you is like doing a joke on the pope. Give me something to work with. Mispronounce something."

Mr. Obama did not return a call seeking comment, but in his Gridiron speech, which brought down the house, he tweaked the press for its fawning coverage so far — a recurring theme he has hit upon in response to an excessive crush of media attention from the start of his political career.

"I want to thank you for all the generous advance coverage you've given me in anticipation of a successful career," Mr. Obama said. "When I actually do something, we'll let you know."



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