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Obama Works The Phones ... In Kenya

Joe Klein has a great scoop over at Swampland:

On January 1, two days before the Iowa caucuses, Obama left a message for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. According to Robert Gibbs, Obama's Communications Director, Rice called back "as we were driving from Sioux City to Council Bluffs on January 1. They talked about the situation and Rice asked Obama to tape a Voice of America message calling for calm." Obama taped the message on January 2, after a rally in Davenport, Iowa. ...

On January 3, the day of the caucuses, he had a conversation with Bishop Desmond Tutu, who had flown to Nairobi to see if he could begin negotiations with the factions. In the days since his Iowa victory, Obama has had near-daily conversations with the U.S. Ambassador in Kenya or with opposition leader Raila Odinga. As of late this afternoon, before his rally in Rochester, N.H., Obama was trying to reach Kenyan President Kibaki.

I hate to be naive about this--Obama obviously doesn't have the foreign policy experience of, say, a John McCain. And who knows what will come of his efforts in Kenya. But the gesture alone reminds you what this country could do with a little change in attitude at the top. (And that extends to a potential Clinton or Edwards administration, too...)

--Noam Scheiber