Clinton Aides Say Obama Deserves Media Scrutiny

The sheer size of Barack Obama's crowds has been making headlines. But, as was seen in New Hampshire and California, big crowds and a sense of Obama-mania in the news doesn't necessarily translate into victories. Hillary Clinton won those states. Clinton's campaign team complains the media has not scrutinized Obama closely.

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As Barack Obama pursues votes this weekend, the press will be along side. The shear size of Senator Obama's crowds alone have made headlines, but as we learned in other states like New Hampshire and California, big crowds and a sense of Obama-mania in the media don't necessarily translate into votes. Senator Clinton won those states. Still the news coverage is starting to irritate the Clinton team just a bit.

Here's NPR's David Greene.

DAVID GREENE: Hillary Clinton woke up in Fort Worth, Texas yesterday, and if she wanted to, she could have grabbed a copy of the Fort Worth Star Telegram to read all about her opponents rally the night before. A front page headline read: In Fort Worth Obama's Message of Hope Draws Crowd of 11,000. Obama was in Beaumont, Texas, Thursday. Here's what it sounded like on the tube.

Unidentified Man: As Obama left the building, many in the audience were left with an experience they won't soon forget.

Unidentified Woman: This is history in the making. It's been almost 20 years since…

GREENE: To be fair, Hillary Clinton does not get the same kind of coverage all the time. Then again, her campaign often schedules events for her that feel more like policy panels than rallies. Clinton can be very effective talking policy, even if Hillary details anti-poverty initiative doesn't look as good stripped across a front page. But the Clinton camp is starting to complain.

Clinton advisor Harold Ickes was on the phone with reporters this week and suggested the journalists spend a little more time digging into Obama's record.

Mr. HAROLD ICKES (Clinton Campaign Advisor): The press in the name has given Senator Obama a path. They have not scrutinized him closely.

GREENE: As for Clinton, he said, there's been sufficient digging.

Mr. ICKES: We know of everything about Hillary. There is not a shoe left to drop needs to be Hillary.

GREENE: At a news conference Thursday, Clinton was asked if she could identify anything about her opponent that hasn't been reported.

Senator HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat, New York; Presidential Candidate): Well, I'm going to leave that to you. That's your job.

GREENE: A reporter asked: Are you saying we haven't done our jobs?

Sen. CLINTON: I'm just saying that I'm running my campaign and that's all I can do. That's all I have any control over and that's what I'm going to keep doing.

GREENE: Covering Clinton in St. Clairsville, Ohio the other night got uncomfortable. A supporter in the audience, Dennis Bowman(ph), stood up and had a message for all of us in the press.

Mr. DENNIS BOWMAN (Clinton supporter): …media. They're all back here - you guys have been so unfair to this lady. I can't believe you.

(Soundbite of cheers)

GREENE: Bowman went on to give Senator Clinton the title she's looking for.

Mr. BOWMAN: I really think President Clinton, that anytime you have a person of your stature, you listen to them rather than condemn them. Thank you.

Sen. CLINTON: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Oh my goodness. Let's see, oh, there's so many hands. It's so hard. Okay. Over there in the blue.

GREENE: Clinton just went on to the next question, but there is a sign her campaign sees the Obama coverage as a way to set expectations. In a memo yesterday, the campaign said the media's anointed Obama the presumptive nominee, so they went on to say, that means if doesn't win every state Tuesday, it will prove his campaign has a problem.

David Greene, NPR News.

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