As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, May 21, 2004

Just look over your shoulders, baby!

Barack Obama, the Democratic Senate candidate from Illinois (who has a pretty cool blog) has a private investigator tailing him. Okay, not really a private one. In a new low in GOP dirty tricks, his opponent Jack Ryan has a staff member following Obama around with a camera everywhere he goes. Everywhere. It's like The Osbournes, only unwanted and evil! The Sun-Times has the details:

SPRINGFIELD -- For the past 10 days, U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama hasn't been able to go to the bathroom or talk to his wife on his cell phone without having a camera-toting political gofer from his Republican rival filming a few feet away.

...Justin Warfel, armed with a handheld Panasonic digital camcorder, follows Obama to the bathroom door and waits outside. Warfel follows Obama as he moves from meeting to meeting in the Capitol. And it means Warfel tails Obama when he drives to his campaign office.

"It's standard procedure to record public speeches and things like that," Obama told reporters as the bald, 20-something operative filmed away. "But to have someone who's literally following you a foot and a half away, everywhere you go, going into the restrooms, standing outside my office, sitting outside of my office asking my secretary where I am, seems to be getting a little carried away."

Warfel interrupted Obama several times with heckling questions, but wouldn't respond when reporters asked him about who he was and why he was filming Obama's every move.

"You'll have to speak to the campaign office," Warfel said tartly to practically every inquiry.

This sounds like a Chris Farley movie in the making. Read this too, this is Jack Ryan's campaign manager somehow trying to rationalize this as standard practice:

But Jason Miller, Ryan's campaign manager, insisted Obama's public movements are fair game and the point is to make sure Obama doesn't contradict himself with his public statements.

"If he's having a phone conversation, then Justin is not trying to tap into the conversation or record what he is saying or something like that," Miller said. "He's monitoring because you never know when ... a reporter comes up and starts asking questions."

Hey, he's not tapping Obama's phone! Following him everywhere may be creepy, but it's not illegal! This is what happens when you give a bunch of brainless paranoids a whole lot of money and a chance at power. Come to think of it, John Kerry better look over his shoulders too, maybe for a little bald guy with an ID that says "Barl Bove".