Barack Obama won election to the Illinois Senate in 1996 with no help from Richard Daley. The Chicago mayor offered no assistance to Obama in 2000 when he ran unsuccessfully for Congress. Most of Daley's friends, family and associates backed a different candidate in 2004 when Obama won the U.S. Senate primary.
Yet to have heard Obama's rivals on the presidential campaign trail tell it over the last many months, the two Chicago Democrats have been virtually joined at the hip for years.
There may be no more enduring caricature in politics than that of the Chicago machine led by a powerful mayor with life or death say over the careers of an army of the city's elected officials. But that simplistic image never really applied to the complex, cordial but historically less than intimate political relationship between the men who are now Chicago's two most prominent Democrats.
Before Obama hit the political big time four years ago, he was largely irrelevant to Daley and even bucked the mayor's perceived interests on occasion without repercussions. For the most part, Daley's interests were more parochial than Springfield or Washington.