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One month before the 2004 Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate, Obama was way down in the polls, about to lose to Blair Hull, a multimillionaire securities trader.
But then The Chicago Tribune — where Axelrod used to work — began publishing claims that Hull’s second ex-wife, Brenda Sexton, had sought an order of protection against him during their 1998 divorce proceedings.
From then until Election Day, Hull was embroiled in fighting the allegation that he was a “wife beater.” He and his ex-wife eventually agreed to release their sealed divorce records. His first ex-wife, daughters and nanny defended him at a press conference, swearing he was never violent. During a Democratic debate, Hull was forced to explain that his wife kicked him and he had merely kicked her back.
Hull’s substantial lead just a month before the primary collapsed with the nonstop media attention to his divorce records. Obama sailed to the front of the pack and won the primary. Hull finished third with 10 percent of the vote.
Luckily for Axelrod, Obama’s opponent in the general election had also been divorced.
The Republican nominee was Jack Ryan, a graduate of Dartmouth and Harvard law and business schools, who had left his lucrative partnership at Goldman Sachs to teach at an inner-city school on the South Side of Chicago.
But in a child custody dispute some years earlier, Ryan’s ex-wife, Hollywood sex kitten Jeri Lynn Ryan, had alleged that, while the couple was married, Jack had taken her to swingers clubs in Paris and New York.
Jack Ryan adamantly denied the allegations. In the interest of protecting their son, he also requested that the records be put permanently under seal.
Axelrod’s courthouse moles obtained the “sealed” records and, in no time, they were in the hands of every political operative in Chicago. Knowing perfectly well what was in the records, Chicago Tribune attorneys flew to California and requested that the court officially “unseal” them — over the objections of both Jack and Jeri Ryan.
Your honor, who knows what could be in these records!
A California judge ordered them unsealed, which allowed newspapers to publish the salacious allegations, and four days later, Ryan dropped out of the race under pressure from idiot Republicans (who should be tracked down and shot).
With a last-minute replacement of Alan Keyes as Obama’s Republican opponent, Obama was able to set an all-time record in an Illinois Senate election, winning with a 43 percent margin.
And that’s how Obama became a senator four years after losing a congressional race to Bobby Rush. (In a disastrous turn of events, Rush was not divorced.)
Axelrod destroyed the only two men who stood between Obama and the Senate with illicitly obtained, lurid allegations from their pasts.
In 2007, long after Obama was safely ensconced in the U.S. Senate, The New York Times reported: “The Tribune reporter who wrote the original piece (on Hull’s sealed divorce records) later acknowledged in print that the Obama camp had ‘worked aggressively behind the scenes’ to push the story.”
Some had suggested, the Times article continued, that Axelrod had “an even more significant role — that he leaked the initial story.”
This time, Obama’s little helpers have not only thrown a bomb into the Republican primary, but are hoping to destroy the man who deprives the Democrats of their only argument in 2012: If you oppose Obama, you must be a racist.
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