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Obama/Rezko: It Comes Down to Judgment

obamarezkotogether.jpgHere’s Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown today in “Time for Obama to come clean: To dismiss Rezko as ‘somebody who I knew’ just isn’t going to cut it”:

Most troubling to me is how Obama keeps handling this, a continuing lapse in judgment that leaves me wondering if there’s more here than meets the eye instead of less.

[IMAGE: A screenshot of the Chicago Sun-Times's front page showing a photo of the indicted Tony Rezko schmoozing with Barack Obama.]

The Chicago Tribune‘s Frank James comes to the same conclusion in the newspaper’s The Swampland blog: “Obama’s Rezko problem; it’s about judgment:

[T]he Obama-Rezko relationship that’s even more troubling for Obama, because it goes to the heart of his campaign’s argument about his judgment being superior to the other candidates, is the personal real-estate deal the two men did.

It is critical to note that both columnists work for Chicago’s two major newspapers, which have covered Barack Obama, the indicted Tony Rezko, and their frequently intersecting 17-year relationship like no other media have, except ABC News’s Brian Ross.

It’s also noteworthy that nobody is accusing Obama of doing anything illegal — although the Sun-Times broke the story on Saturday that Obama is indeed the “unnamed political candidate” in the 73-page indictment filed by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald accusing Rezko of extortion, fraud, and the shakedown of an Illinois pension fund.

What is troubling are Obama’s denials and feeble attempts to minimize his relationship with Rezko. Which begs the question, as Larry Johnson wrote:

Why is Barack not coming clean about his relationship with Antoin “Tony” Rezko, who is facing charges on federal corruption charges? If there really is nothing there, then don’t do the Bill Clinton shuffle. Just tell the truth.

Judgment matters. That’s what led Tribune columnist Mark Brown to write today in “Time for Obama to come clean: To dismiss Rezko as ‘somebody who I knew’ just isn’t going to cut it”:

Barack Obama just keeps bobbling the Tony Rezko hot potato, and if he doesn’t get a handle on it soon, his campaign for the presidency is going to be badly burned.

On Wednesday, the Illinois senator fumbled again as he continued to try to minimize his relationship with Rezko while making the rounds of the morning news shows.

“My relationship is he was somebody who I knew and had been a supporter for many years,” Obama said on CBS in response to Hillary Clinton’s “slumlord” attack from earlier this week. “He was somebody who had supported a wide range of candidates all throughout Illinois. Nobody had an inkling that he was involved in any problems.”

Somebody who I knew?

Wow.

That’s such an understatement that it borders on a falsehood.

Taylor Marsh has more:

As I pointed out in the lengthy investigative piece I just posted, this is a story about judgment and character. It’s patently false for Obama to say “nobody had any indications” blah-blah-blah. On the land purchase alone, this happened when everyone knew of Rezko’s problems, going back to 2006:

The transaction occurred at a time when it was widely known Tony Rezko was under investigation by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and as other Illinois politicians befriended by Rezko distanced themselves from him.

Antoin “Tony” Rezko is Barack Obama’s Bernie Kerik.

You’ll find more background here:

And this video is a must-watch, even though Brian Ross filed the story before the Sun-Times‘s revelation that Obama is the “unnamed political candidate” in the Rezko indictment.

Rezko goes on trial on February 25th in Chicago’s federal courthouse.

The world will be watching for any sign of Barack Obama’s coming clean on his 17-year relationship with Tony Rezko.

But it will be up to the media to do their jobs. Will they? We’ll see.

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  • JG

    If we’re going to go down this road what about Hillary’s Rose law firm, and her sleazy connections to the MacDougals and Whitewater. Hillary was never found guilty of wrong-doing but that doesn’t remove the taint.

    The Obama Clinton fight is hurting both candidates and helping republicans.

    • s. hall

      At least the media more than fully vetted the Clintons. This same media has given Obama a pass and taken him at his word that all he has to do is look at Foreign leaders and the world will change. Obama has compared himself to Moses, MLK, JFK and RFK. What he offers us is the destruction of the Democratic Party and its principles. While his new kind of politics is the same slash and burn politics which are the Republicans stock and trade. Obama is the rooster who thinks the sun only rises because he crows.

      • JG

        lots of hyperbole little substance

  • Fred C. Dobbs

    Once again, Obama is channeling Gary “I have ideas I haven’t even thought of yet!” Hart.

    I’m thinking of opening a Proposition bet at one of the local casinos RE: the date the wheels come off the Obama Bandwagon. Still think April 10-15 is about right.

    Double or Nothing that the GOP convention goes into multiple ballots and coughs up Michael Bloomberg.

    Now time for, “The Lone Gunmen,” re-runs…

    • TeakwoodKite

      Now time for, “The Lone Gunmen,” re-runs…

      The pilot for the series was about trying to stop a “highjacked” plane from hitting a building in NY. I watched it and then looked to see that it was produced in March of 2001. Very odd.

      • Fred C. Dobbs

        The wake-up call was in 1970 at a place in Jordan called Dawson Field.

        Or, once again, am I the only one to remember?

  • Pingback: Obama’s Baggage « The Krile Files

    • s. hall

      Its never the crime that gets you its the cover up of the crime. The man preaching HOPE and selling HATE is in for a rude awakening when the Repubs start flogging this.

  • http://marathonpundit.blogspot.com John Ruberry

    Great post, Susan. One clarification needs to be made. It was common knowledge, that is, reported in the news here in Illinois that Tony Rezko was under federal investigation for his alleged “pay to play” schemes in early 2005. He didn’t get indicted until the fall of 2006.

    And it’s not just “pay to play.” Here’s a story from March, 05 from Crain’s Chicago Business (a big deal publication here) in which the magazine reports on allegations that Rezko was running a minority-owned firm that had been awarded a fast food lease at O’Hare Airport, in violation of city law that affirmative action set-asides be minority run AND operated.

    http://chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=15823

    Three months later, the Obamas and Rita Rezko made the deal for the house and the lot in the Kenwood neighborhood.

    A month after that, the city decertified the Rezko-run firm as a city-approved minority firm.

    http://chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=17064

    At the end of the year, the Obamas purchased part of the “Rezko lot.”

    All the while, there were reports after reports that Rezko was under investigation.

  • Taters

    The man who really helped the Obama’s get their house in order, Tony Rezko.
    Slumlords for Obama ’08!

    • s. hall

      I guess Obama’s failure to notice the boarded up buildings and the African American people who spent 6 weeks without heat in a brutal Chicago winter in the slum buildings owned by Rezko was mitigated by the friendship he shared with his mentor Rezko. Shame he only remembers 5 hours of it.

  • truthteller2007

    susanunpc,

    i love the sun-times front page you captured. was this tuesday’s edition?

  • http://www.despair.com/stup24x30pri.html Smilin’ Jim

    It’s time for us to come clean and admit that Cassius nailed us in the first act. The reason that the Republic is run by F Troop is that we are all dumber than retarded dog drool.

    Let us take, for instance, why the body politic did not implode with suppressed, gleeful, astonishment when Harpootlian went back-to-back and belly-to-belly at the Zombie Jamboree with Lee Atwater. Ennui The People watched walleyed as absurdity skipped like a stone off the old prefrontal cortex and we all went into Oprah Mode at flank speed.

    Atwater managed to morph a furloughed killer into a real show stopper. Dukakis wasn’t pals with the guy and didn’t know he existed until Atwater dug him up. Dukakis also didn’t know Horton’s wife or even Horton’s prison bitch.

    On the other hand, Obama and this Syrian guy as well as Rezko’s wife look like they were all joined at the hip until yer man, Paddy Fitzgerald, took a passing interest.

    Just think what Atwater could have made of that. Just think what Rove WILL make of that.

    • Fred C. Dobbs

      If Obama doesn’t care for Hillary’s sharp elbows in his solar plexus, imagine how he’s going to react to having Rove’s boot in his ass.

    • s. hall

      Why don’t we just name the leader of the free world–Clown In Chief? Seems like you have to be unable to eat a pretzel or push the right button to be the President. I really don’t understand why Dan Quayle didn’t run, he would have been perfect. IN A BLIND WORLD THE ONE EYED MAN IS KING. Go Hillary–while idiots like Obama are trying to figure out where the starting gate is you can make it to the finish line.

  • Ron Cowin

    One would think that political candidates, especially for president would have learned the value of getting together with their lawyer and vetting their past. It seems as if Barak never expected anyone to discover his link with Tony Rezko. Had he done so, he might have come up with a better excuse for his 17 year relationship than what sounds like the “cat ate my homework.” It reminds me of Rudy Giuliani trying to explain away his relationship with Bernie Kerik.
    I have also read much elsewhere about how Barak reminds people of RFK. I think they mean JFK. He had the charisma(charm). RFK had a shy vulnerability. RFK had a lot more experience than Barak: three years in the White House as his brother’s right hand man (e.g. the key person in settling the Cuban Missile Crisis), Attorney General, and U.S. Senator. I knew RFK as my Senator, I wish he were a friend of mine, and Barak, you are no RFK.

    • http://noquarterusa.net/ SusanUnPC

      Obama buys a $1.6-million mansion at below-market price but doesn’t want to buy the empty lot next door, which is required by the sellers. On the same day Rezko’s wife helpfully steps forward and buys the empty lot at full price. (Coincidence?)

      Both Chicago newspapers have tried to find out more from 1) the real estate agents, and 2) the sellers, neither of whom will divulge what really went down.

      Obama excuses this by saying it was a “dumb-headed mistake.”

      I’m afraid there’s a little bit more to it than him being “dumb.”

      He knowingly colluded with an already-indicted man and wife who’ve given his campaign, what $168,000 in donations, to get a mansion at far-below market price (the low price is suspicious in itself) .. and then the indicted man’s wife buys the empty lot at FULL price to sweeten the deal. On the same day?

      And then Obama pays Rezko’s wife $60,000 more than he should for the 10-foot strip of land he purchased he desired in order to expand his yard.

      It’s greed, pure and simple. And the entire transaction stinks to the high heavens.

      • Retired

        You know, really, I can’t see where Obama did any more than Duke Cunningham in getting an upscale house at below market price from a political fixer. I mean, Duke thought that this type of stuff was a nifty idea. And we already know that Obama thinks that the GOP is the party of ideas.

        • Nellie

          And Duke even got a 9 year vacation (give or take a few months) and all at taxpayer expense.

          Mr. Retired, you, Larry and the others already know Middle East cultures, and you know that Rezko isn’t going down alone – especially since Obama isn’t related by blood, marriage or tribe.

          Rezko keeps quiet only as long as there is a chance for a pardon on the Horizon.

    • s. hall

      damn right — Obama is no RFK and for that matter Obama is no Democrat either.

  • Mr.Murder

    OT-

    Spartanburg, South Carolina – Today, Senator John Edwards released the following statement on the economic stimulus package before Congress:

    “This is another example of Washington deserting working people and the middle class. They gave $70 billion of tax breaks that do nothing for those who’ve lost their jobs. It’s a complete disconnect between what’s happening in Washington and what I see happening here in South Carolina and across the country. We desperately need a modernization of the unemployment insurance law to cover more poor families and those who have lost their jobs. We also need to build an infrastructure for the clean energy economy that will create jobs and fight global warming.”

    http://www.johnedwards.com/news/headlines/20080124-stimulus-package/

    Call the Bush handout what it is:
    Pissing on a house fire. House mortgages going up in flames, Dubya wants to give use perhaps enough money for a trip to the grocery store and a quarter tank of gas.

    Told you it would end up being three hundred or less.

    He promised twelve hundred, then eight hundred, then five hundred, then two hundred and some change, minus taxes on that, last time.

  • Mr.Murder

    It’s clearly the fault of Larry that Barack got in tight with a low brow goodfella.

    Imagine the subprime cash a low class, low rent goon like Rezko could muster in America’s business district and its brokerage firms.

    How long before we see Obama resort to the GOP and media fallback phrase:

    Blame it on the Clintons!

    • norris morris

      Mr Murder,

      I generally like your posts, but what the hell do the Clintons have to do with Obama’s creation of the Democrat’s new thing?

      Obama is the total creation of the Chicago political machine. That one. Oprah and his billionaire backers [Pritzker, et al} are part of the Black Establishment’s search for a viable candidate. Obviously, they picked a guy who can orate,write,parse,and convince.

      But it’s not a good deal. Whatever the Clinton’s are, they did not create Obama. The Democratic National Committee…NOT the DLC [Clinton’s} allowed this.

      • Mr.Murder

        Everyone else blames things on the CLintons, Obama could always try and place the fault of his political mistakes on them too.

        Doubtful that it would work, but it’s not unusual to have seen such efforts to spin blame on them for other topics.

        It’s like a default setting, a debate reboot, for any partisan discussion.

  • Buckley

    Someone has already accused you of carrying water for the Clintons so I hope you have noticed that we notice.

    It’s obvious you are supporting Hillary and that is your right.

    However, it does get s little seemly when you quote Larry in a negative story about Obama. Dontchathink?

    • susanunpc

      Did you read Larry’s story?

    • http://www.despair.com/stup24x30pri.html Smilin’ Jim

      “so I hope you have noticed that we notice.”

      I think your shoe is ringing……

      • RalphB

        and gone to voice mail

    • SirScud

      [img]http://images.newsmax.com/article/clintons_rezko.jpg[/img]
      Guess who is posing with Rezko?