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Things are getting rough on Mr. Obama. Today the British newspaper the Daily Mail did some checking on what Obama said in his book about his father, Barack Obama Sr., and it was not pretty.

While the junior senator from Illinois portrayed his father's life as an inspiration to his son, the Daily Mail exposed a different Barack Obama Sr.: a wife-beating alcoholic who didn't bother to get a divorce before marrying the next woman and having a few more kids.

Now the Daily Mail story looks well researched and it certainly did send reporters to interview principals, like the senior Obama's ex-wives, and they did dig up eyewitnesses to the senior Obama's personal faults. But you never know. There are people in the world of politics who want to do harm to Senator Obama, and tripping him up on the truth certainly would not do him any good.

So who would that be?

Now I have no proof that it would be any of his political opponents, the most prominent of which is Senator Clinton. I have just been trained by the hard realities of this business to follow this rule: There are no coincidences in the news, especially political news.

In other words, I find it hard to believe it is coinkydink that at the same time Senator Clinton would like to knock Senator Obama down a peg or two, a story that does just that would come along from another source that isn't her. That would be coincidence of the most highly unlikely kind.

Now there is a fair chance this is the work of political operatives whose job it is to dig into the background of opponents like Senator Obama. If he says x, go check to see if it is actually y. He says his dad was a great man, let's go see if he really was.

Obama is trying to run a campaign of hope, of a new kind of politics. Unfortunately for him the campaign trail runs through territory we commonly refer to as old politics, a road that is often muddy. People who travel that road pick up some of that mud on their clothes.

In my new book called "Welcome to the Big Leagues, Mr. Obama," this will be chapter three. You can count up the first two for yourself.

That's My Word.

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