The Daily Caller is digging through the IL GOP's 2004 candidate-for U.S. Senate Jack Ryan's opposition research and is beginning to reveal a Barack Obama Chicago and Illinois never had a chance to learn about before Ryan left the race at IL GOP insiders' urging. Boxes of files are sitting in the Daily Caller's offices -
The little-seen information within the binders represents a comprehensive documentation of Obama’s voting record in the state Senate; his many political donors, endorsers and affiliations; a list of the known clients represented by the law firm where he worked; known details about Obama’s life derived from his books; and a litany of press clippings that include quotes from the Democrat dating back to 1992.
For the most part, that disbanded team of Ryan 2004 staffers - including WLS 890 AM talk show host Dan Proft, DC campaign advisor Bill Pascoe, Ryan campaign manager Jason Miller and western suburban political consultant Jeff Davis - aren't saying where the Examiner got those binders. The Ryan campaign's opposition research was reportedly "handed out like candy" in 2004 when Alan Keyes rode into Illinois on a white horse and again in 2008 during John McCain's presidential bid, but the research's juiciest contents are just beginning to appear in the Daily Caller.
Somehow, the Chicago Tribune, the Sun-Times, nor Crain's ever got their hands on that research. Surely had they, a media purist may speculate, America would have known the research contents. After all, isn't it all about the stories?
The Daily Caller interviewed Obama then- Senate colleague Steve Rauschenberger for their expose. Rauschenberger provided insight into the pressure Obama was under when controversial issues came up in the Senate.
According to Rauschenberger, Obama’s crime-policy votes are indicative of the struggle he faced bridging the gap between the Senate’s black caucus, which was suspicious of laws that could be seen to target African-Americans, and the white urban liberals who favored tougher anti-crime laws.
“Barack had pressure from one side to stay in line with the black caucus and the kind of extreme left of the Democratic Party,” Rauschenberger told TheDC. “At the same time, he represented a college campus where much of his financial support and supporters were not black [and] who saw themselves as enlightened and wanting strong anti-gang and anti-drug crime legislation.”
“So Barack’s votes on criminal justice issues were interesting to watch,” he added. “He kind of vacillated and bounced around a lot, a lot of ‘present’ votes complete with a lecture to the rest of us.”
The DC also tapped former now-disbanded Urqhart Associates' staffer Eric Kohn, who now does public relations consulting for, among others, the city of Cicero. Urqhart founders Dan Proft and Bill Pascoe stayed on to direct the Keyes' campaign after the Ryan campaign pulled the plug in August 2004.
And the man of the hour himself - Jack Ryan - remains quietly producing friendly, neighborhood papers based in the southwest suburbs through his 22nd Century publishing company. Those close to him say it is rare to see him at political functions, although when he's out, he's always warmly received by those that recall his story.
But what is in those binders continues to be a mystery. How did the Daily Caller obtain the files? What is in them? Is it true that David Axelrod maneuvered Obama's 2004 win to the U.S. Senate through manipulating the Chicago media?
It may be years before the answers are known. We'll have to wait until the Daily Caller tells us what they will.