"Anti-death penalty lobby hopes for discreet Obama support," is the AFP report via Google News.
During the presidential campaign, Obama only addressed capital punishment once, when the US Supreme Court ruled that sentencing someone to death for raping a child is unconstitutional.
"I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should be applied in very narrow circumstances for the most egregious of crimes," he said in June.
"I think that he's going to just avoid the issue," said Rob Warden, who heads the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law in Obama's hometown of Chicago, Illinois.
"There are pressing problems with the economy, international relations, both the Middle East, including Iraq and Iran, and Afghanistan, Pakistan. He's got so many crises to face."
Whatever his convictions, as president Obama does not have the power to abolish the death penalty, which is backed by 65 percent of people in the United States according to recent surveys.
He can, however, push for criminal justice reform and influence death penalty decisions through his nominations to the Supreme Court, which has the sole authority over such matters, according to activists who oppose capital punishment.
Obama "is a very smart politician who knows that being completely against the death penalty in America would have made him harder to elect," said victims' rights advocate Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins.
The Illinois-based lawyer who opposes the death penalty said once the death penalty was reformed in the state in 2003, Obama, then a state senator, "was content to walk away and focus on issues that concerned the well-being of larger numbers of people."
During that same period, however, Obama "was instrumental in obtaining passage of some of the key reforms recommended by the governor's commission," said Tom Sullivan, a former Chicago prosecutor who co-chaired the Illinois capital punishment commission.
Sullivan said Obama had played an especially important role in "the statute requiring law enforcement personnel to make electronic recordings of custodial interviews in homicide investigations, the first statute on the subject in the country."
The reform was adopted by several other states. The statute is considered as a means to prevent coerced confessions from being presented as damning evidence.
For those who view the entire article, there are some factual mistakes concerning President Clinton. During the 1992 presidnetial campaign, he famously returned to the state to preside over the execution of Ricky Ray Rector. Many believe that he did so to burnish a tough on crime image. As President, Clinton supported passage of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 which severely limited federal court review of state death sentences through habeas corpus proceedings.