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Mon Apr 09 2007 14:39:38 ET

It's being called the equivalent of a paparazzi gotcha of Lindsay Lohan walking sideways:

A snapshot of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and his chief political/media adviser David Axelrod -- taken in the Senator?s Capitol Hill office! ROLL CALL reports: Congressional ethics rules forbid the use of federal office space for political and campaign activity.

A spokeswoman for the Obama camp declined to comment.

?Appearance matters,? agreed one Democratic strategist who isn?t affiliated with a presidential contender.

Obama and Axelrod are old buddies whose relationship dates back years and they could have been having an innocuous conversation, the strategist noted. But it does raise some flags, he added, which is the last thing a contender in a competitive race with a polished, practiced vet such as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) wants to do. ?It could be seen as a rookie mistake,? the consultant said.

And as any Hollywood star or starlet could tell you, if you?re going to make a mistake, make sure there aren?t any cameras around.


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