UPDATED: Rookie mistakes plague The Politico
Speaking early this month at a church in Selma, Ala., Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said: "I'm in Washington. I see what's going on. I see those powers and principalities have snuck back in there, that they're writing the energy bills and the drug laws."It was a fine populist riff calculated to appeal to Democratic audiences as Obama seeks his party's presidential nomination. But not only did Obama vote for the Senate's big energy bill in 2005, he also put out a press release bragging about its provisions, and his Senate Web site carries a news article about the vote headlined, "Senate energy bill contains goodies for Illinois."The press release said he voted for the bill "reluctantly" because he wanted something "bolder," and his staff says there was nothing inconsistent about the comment in Selma.
Obama's gift with language -- his powerful speaking style and the graceful prose and compelling story of his best-selling memoir -- has been an engine of his dramatic, high-velocity rise in presidential politics. But he has also shown a tendency toward seemingly minor contradictions and rhetorical slips that serve as reminders that he is still a newcomer to national politics.