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