Barack Obama’s first test was supposed to come from somewhere like Iran. Instead, write Charles Mahtesian and Jonathan Martin at Politico, it sneaked up from his home turf in the form of Rod Blagojevich—not to mention blossoming charges against Rep. Charlie Rangel. If Obama wants his change message to be taken seriously, he has to get serious. “Within hours he’s got to make a public statement,” says a watchdog group head.
If pushing too hard on ethical standards could endanger his agenda in Congress, ignoring the issue could do so even more. Republicans are already making hay of Democratic corruption. “He’s set out genuinely tough standards, and I think this only increases the reason and pressures to hold to those,” says a Democratic consultant.