How to write an Obama lede

OK, as previously established, there are two ‘pool’ reporters accompanying Obama to Afghanistan, so that all the press accounts are cribbing from the same notebook. Everything else is just spin. Now, let’s look at the ledes of the stories.

Washington Post (just the facts, ma’am):

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama arrived in Afghanistan Saturday, according to a campaign spokesman, the first stop on a weeklong foreign tour that will take him to seven countries, including Iraq.

CNN (dressing it up a bit):

Sen. Barack Obama made his first visit to Afghanistan on Saturday before he embarks on his tour of the Middle East and Europe aimed at bolstering his foreign policy credentials.

Chicago Tribune (dressing it up more):

Sen. Barack Obama landed in war-torn Afghanistan early Saturday, his campaign confirmed, starting a weeklong effort to look presidential on the world stage while boosting his standing back home.

AP (more costumes than an opera):

Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama started a campaign-season tour of combat zones and foreign capitals, visiting with U.S. forces in Kuwait and then Afghanistan – the scene of a war he says deserves more attention and more troops.

How nice of the Associated Press to make sure Obama’s campaign message got into the first paragraph of their neutral, objective story.

UPDATE: No word in this first pool report as to whether Obama is being accompanied to Afghanistan by his chief foreign policy adviser, Winnie the Pooh.

UPDATE II: The first pool report did not mention rumors that, upon touching down in Kabul, Obama was greeted by crowds of enthusiastic Afghans shouting “Yes, We Can!” Nor did the report confirm that, in a special session early Saturday morning, the Afghan parliament unanimously voted to rename their country “Obamastan.”

UPDATE III: The Associated Press gives us this Obama fashion update:

Obama, dressed in light khaki colored trousers and a checkered shirt with his sleeves rolled up, and others in the delegation received a briefing inside the U.S. base in Jalalabad from the Afghan provincial governor of Nangarhar.

A checkered shirt! Hard-hitting news!

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