The conservative blogosphere is buzzing about a potential bombshell -- Obama may have had an affair with a former staffer named Vera Baker. See here, here, here and here. According to the rumor, Baker has now been "exiled" to the Caribbean on Michelle Obama's orders.
Who is Vera Baker and is this story true? I don't know. Apparently, some of the uncertainty centers on whether Baker actually served on Obama's staff, in particular as finance director. Although this hardly constitutes proof of an affair, this 2004 piece from the National Journal confirms that Baker did in fact serve as Obama's finance director:
Copyright 2004 National Journal, Inc.
April 29, 2004
HOME SWEET HOME. Doug Thornell says his experience as former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's traveling secretary during the Democratic presidential campaign was "thrilling," but he's happy to be back in Washington. "It's nice to get to sleep in the same bed every night now," says the Silver Spring, Md., native, who returned to D.C. in mid-March after a vacation in California. Thornell just started his new job as a deputy political director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. He replaced Vera Baker, who is now the national finance director for Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama's Democratic U.S. Senate campaign. Thornell shares the deputy political director title with colleague Jamie Linski, former assistant political director at the DSCC, who was promoted to the deputy slot.
And here is some additional background information on Vera Baker:
African American professionals can build prosperous careers in the capital city, especially those hoping to play a role in national politics. "There's a mentality here that there's enough for everyone; you're not competing for what feels like a limited number of opportunities," says 29-year-old Muthoni Wambu.
Like most Washingtonians, Wambu is a transplant. She left New York City's Upper West Side to study journalism at Howard University and then networked her way into a political fundraising job with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. This was a new aspect of politics for Wambu, who soon discovered that it "brought together my strengths in a way that I'd never anticipated."
In 2000, Wambu and Vera Baker, another Howard alum, started Baker-Wambu & Associates. The firm has raised over $3 million for the campaigns of members of Congress and other politicians. "Washington is the best place for our firm to blossom and grow, and one of the only cities where two 24-year-old African American women [could have built a successful business] with pennies and a dream," she says.