Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Does Obama's agenda have an agenda?

By CNN Political Editor, Mark Preston

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- At first glance, Sen. Barack Obama's, D-Illinois, public schedule does not seem very notable unless you consider what is weighing heavily on his mind these days.

Obama, who is contemplating a run for the presidency, has a jam-packed calendar Thursday that includes stop-bys at swearing-in festivities for senators who either represent important states or are powerful in their own right. In a span of less than two hours Thursday afternoon, Obama is scheduled to attend receptions for Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, Sen. Barbara Boxer of California and newly minted Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Jim Webb of Virginia. His appearance at these receptions will be book-ended by a morning reception for Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and a closing swearing-in event for Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.

Kennedy and Webb are the most intriguing stops on Obama's schedule, although it would be short-sighted not to note the importance of California, Michigan, Missouri and New Jersey for potential Democratic presidential candidates. Kennedy has pledged to back Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts if he decides to seek the Democratic presidential nomination again. But if Kerry opts to forgo another White House run, Kennedy's endorsement will be highly sought after by the other Democratic candidates. Webb, a former Navy secretary, could possibly help bolster Obama's national security credentials if the Illinois senator decides to seek the Democratic presidential nomination.

Obama's office had no comment on his schedule. But Nathan Gonzales, political editor of the Rothenberg Political Report, notes that every move made by potential presidential candidates is carefully calculated.

"When it comes to schedules, especially for presidential candidates, there are no accidents," Gonzales said.
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