When things get sticky Barack Obama tries to minimize his relationships with problematic figures. When confronted about Bill Ayers in the Philadlephia debate, he tried to pass off the relationship as just a casual acquaintance in the neighborhood. It was up to Hillary Clinton to roll out the oppo research and point out that Ayers had given financial support and served on a board with Obama. When the Reverend Wright controversy swirled Obama denied that Wright was his mentor.
Obama’s association with Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi certainly qualifies as another problematic relationship. This connection has been documented here, here and here. However, when he was asked about Khalidi at his visit to the Florida synagogue last month he again tried to pass off the relationship as casual, not acknowledging the financial ties, social relationship or many personal visits the two enjoyed. That denial and a helpful account of his relationship with Khalidi are detailed here.
One wonders why Obama adopts this tactic. The relationships he refers to are widely known and can easily be documented. Yet he persists in denial, evasion and obfuscation. That seems to suggest that he understands at some level how problematic such associations are, and is banking that the media will not press him to reveal the full extent of these relationships.
But, of course, in a YouTube world anyone can access the information. Which brings us back to why Obama persists in the belief that he can avoid scrutiny. It was a cardinal error in the Wright epsiode — the effort to push unpleasantries aside and procrastinate in dealing with bad news — and he seems not to have learned anything from that episode. That, as much as these relationships, may be cause for concern for his supporters.