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Obama Gets The Sinbad Treatment On Immigration

A useful skeptical look at Obama's touted contributions to the Senate's efforts on immigration reform, from today's Post:

After weeks of arduous negotiations, on April 6, 2006, a bipartisan group of senators burst out of the "President's Room," just off the Senate chamber, with a deal on new immigration policy. ... [W]hen Obama went before the microphones, he was generous with his list of senators to congratulate -- a list that included himself.

"I want to cite Lindsey Graham, Sam Brownback, Mel Martinez, Ken Salazar, myself, Dick Durbin, Joe Lieberman . . . who've actually had to wake up early to try to hammer this stuff out," he said.

To Senate staff members, who had been arriving for 7 a.m. negotiating sessions for weeks, it was a galling moment. Those morning sessions had attracted just three to four senators a side, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) recalled, each deeply involved in the issue. Obama was not one of them.

When I was writing about the immigration compromise bill last spring, I heard some carping from Senate staffers that Obama, who was then presenting himself as a uniter, wasn't around much to smooth the passage of what might have been the biggest bipartisan accomplishment of the 110th term. So it was a little weird to hear Ted Kennedy praising his work on the attempted reforms when he endorsed Obama, although I guess Teddy -- as the doomed compromise bill's biggest champion -- would know.

--Eve Fairbanks