http://www.suntimes.com/news/sweet/288655,CST-NWS-sweet08.article Obama struggles to clarify why his 'quasi-blind trust' wasn't really blind and why it bought shares in firms linked to two of his donors EXCERPT March 8, 2007 BY LYNN SWEET Washington Bureau Chief WASHINGTON -- White House hopeful Barack Obama was on the defensive Wednesday over stock purchases from companies whose investors included his political donors. And Obama revealed that he terminated a "quasi-blind" trust he created for the stock purchases -- called the "Freedom Trust" -- after realizing that it wasn't blind after all. Obama's campaign team ramped up a rapid reaction defense after a story about his portfolio hit the front page of Wednesday's New York Times and was the subject of scrutiny Monday on thestreet.com. Denies any connection The political damage potential is high because one of the firms Obama bought stock in was developing medicine to treat avian flu -- with the purchase coming as Obama started to champion more federal funding to fight the disease. Obama, who has made ethics one of his signature issues, took questions at a news conference in the Capitol called originally to tout an immigration bill. He denied any connection between his investments and legislation.