Obama hires National Journal's Douglass

Award-winning journalist Linda Douglass joins Obama campaign.

By Vincent Rossmeier
May 21, 2008 11:04PM (UTC)
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It looks like that pillow-talk "Saturday Night Live" sketch parodying the media's affection for Barack Obama could make a comeback. On Wednesday, the Obama campaign announced that Linda Douglass, a contributing editor at the National Journal, will join the campaign as a senior strategist and senior campaign spokesperson. The appointment will likely provide additional fodder for Hillary Clinton, who referred to the "SNL" clip during a debate in February to allege Obama has an overly cozy relationship with the media.

Douglass told the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder, who reported the news of the hiring first on his blog, "I see this as a moment of transformational change in the country and I have spent my lifetime sitting on the sidelines watching people attempt to make change. I just decided that I can't sit on the sidelines anymore." As for the notion that the press treats Obama too uncritically, Douglass told the New York Times, "I think my former colleagues in the press have been quite tough on him and I think they've done good strong enterprise reporting ... I don't think anybody’s been given a pass this year." Before writing for the National Journal, Douglass worked as a Justice Department correspondent for CBS, and also reported for ABC News, PBS and XM Satellite Radio.


As Avi Zenilman notes at the Politico, what makes this all the more interesting is that it was the National Journal that rated Obama as the most liberal senator in 2007. During the campaign, Republicans have frequently invoked this ranking to try to depict Obama as overly leftist. It'll be interesting to see whether Douglass is used to try to push back against that ranking. Magazine lists are notoriously capricious and sometimes skewed toward a desired result -- she might have inside information on that. And, of course, since the ranking put Obama ahead of senators like Russ Feingold and even one avowed socialist, Vermont's Bernie Sanders, there's ample room to question the accuracy of the National Journal's methods.

Vincent Rossmeier

Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon.

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2008 Elections Barack Obama Hillary Rodham Clinton John Mccain R-ariz.