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(Pants On Fire!) Lynn Sweet: Obama and His Taking Questions on Rezko [Updated]

obama-home.jpgUPDATE: Before you read Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet’s interviews of reporters who’ve doggedly followed the Tony Rezko story, and haven’t been able to get straight answers from Barack Obama — watch this from MSNBC’s Tucker, a fascinating account of the Obama home purchase (Rezko’s wife, without any apparent funds of her own, purchased the empty lot next door the same day). The video includes Obama’s dissembling, somewhat testy attempts to explain away his involvement today before a horde of inquisitive reporters in San Antonio. Obama ended the “presser” (Fox News report) before the reporters could ask enough questions. (All three network news shows tonight featured the “mayhem” at Obama’s San Antonio press conference, and questions about both Rezko and Nafta-gate.) As ABC News’s blog Political Radar noted:

Sen. Obama, D-Ill., went through the motions repeating point blank details that were already known about their controversial history. … [...]

Then the specific questions came. When asked twice about fundraisers, with details, who was there and how many, Obama did not answer.

See also: “How to Buy a Mansion You Can’t Afford,” by City Nell, in which she shows how Michelle Obama used her influence to get the home. NOW, back to the original story, with Lynn Sweet:

By Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times, at her blog:

Here what David Axelrod said on Sunday, during an interview on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

STEPHANOPOULOS: Before you go there, David, let me just follow up on one point, because Lynn Sweet writes in the Chicago Sun-Times, I believe it was yesterday, that in fact Senator Obama has not sat down with the Chicago reporters who are most familiar with the Rezko case. Is he willing to do that, or is Ms. Sweet wrong, in your opinion?

AXELROD: I think she is wrong. We’ve talked to reporters from — and he’s talked to reporters from both papers several times in several sessions about this, and each time the conclusion is the same:
There’s no evidence of any wrongdoing related to Mr. Rezko.

I showed the above to the reporters who cover the Rezko-Obama story. For the record, here’s what they said.

Sun-Times Reporter Tim Novak

“David Axelrod has never talked to me, Fusco or Mckinney about Obama. Neither has Obama. All we’ve gotten are responses to written questions, and who knows who actually answered those. And occassionally we talk to (Bill) Burton. But the point is that Obama himself has never sat down and discussed these questions about Rezko.”

Sun-Times Reporter Chris Fusco:

“Tim is absolutely right about that one.”

Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief Dave McKinney:

“Well, I know Chris and I have never had a sit-down interview with Obama. Axelrod might be referring to the December 2006 Q and A, but as you know those were written questions and written responses. I believe Tim’s experience was identical when he wrote about Rezko’s slum properties. Axelrod would have been more accurate, perhaps, had he said today that Obama has “communicated” with reporters (through spokesmen and a Q and A). But he hasn’t spoken to us directly about this. You are right. Axelrod is wrong.”

Thought you’d all get a kick out of that. (WordPress won’t let me double-blockquote, so you need to know that all of the above-the-fold material comes from Sweet’s blog.)

Want more background on Rezko? See my story from this morning with key breaking news.

Read more stories here at NoQuarter on Obama and Rezko.

Don’t miss stories like City Nell’s investigative piece — which highlights the involvement of Michelle Obama — “How to Buy a Mansion You Can’t Afford.”
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  • mostest

    Quick question:

    As I understand the Obama house narrative,
    the sellers wanted $2.2 for BOTH properties. The sellers got $1.6m for the House and 625K for the lot(total 2.225m). Okay. Now, was it always the case that there were TWO lots? I mean when you look at the picture it looks like a house with a side yard, NO?

    I guess I am asking is this “two lot” deal something that Obama and Rezko cooked up so Obama could afford to get his wife the house she wanted/demand? Maybe a look through the Chicago land records would show when/if the property had been subdivided. Someone needs to look into it.

    • Andy

      It surely looks that way.

      What it has been reported for sure is that the owner of the house wanted 1.9 for the *house alone* and that he did not wanted to sell the two lots separately but together in a single sale.

      Now, it is preposterous to believe that when they purchased the house (at the height of the housing market) they could bid 1.6 for a 1.9 asking price and get it. In Chicago and most certainly Boston and other urban cities at that time and until recently properties were sold AT or ABOVE the asking price (heavy bidding). That he got the property for 300K BELOW market and/or asking price in 2005 is very fishy.

    • Andy

      It surely looks that way.

      What it has been reported for sure is that the owner of the house wanted 1.9 for the *house alone* and that he did not want to sell the two lots separately but together in a single sale.

      Now, it is preposterous to believe that when they purchased the house (at the height of the housing market) they could bid 1.6 for a 1.9 asking price and get it. In Chicago and most certainly Boston and other urban cities at that time and until recently properties were sold AT or ABOVE the asking price (heavy bidding). That he got the property for 300K BELOW market and/or asking price in 2005 is very fishy.

    • Mawm

      Sounds like a way to funnel money to Obama under the table.

  • Andy

    Q. Obama’s plan for the foreclosure crisis ?

    A. Befriend Rezko !!

  • Andy

    I just read the link to “featured the mayhem” above
    http://thepage.time.com/2008/03/03/evening-news-roundup-67/

    At NBC they are a bunch of too obviously biased idiots: what’s with Andrea Mitchell???

    CBS doesn’t seem to have been such a good reporting on the real news today but better than NBC.

    ABC seemes to have been saying it like it is.

    • Andy

      PS: Sorry for all the mispellings above .. it happens when trying to type while watching the news…

  • DeanOR

    Remembering how extremely biased Sun-Times reporter Lynn Sweet trashed Hillary Clinton in the past, I don’t believe a word she says about any Democrat. We can critically evaluate Obama without giving credence to a character assassination hack.

  • Maggie

    What we are waiting for Obama is WORDS, JUST WORDS!!!! The tide is turning. You cannot speak because you know that you have committee.

    We continue to follow this man as if he is pure and good. There are many ghosts in his closet. Check out the “Born Alive INfants Protection Act. by Will Santorum. Obama thinks it is ok to kill babies that survive late term abortions. Ok to throw them into the garbage. Is this presidential material?

  • Mel

    So what, Obama bought a house together with a slumlord and political fixer who is no on trial! So what that Obama made a bonehead mistake! So what if Obama enlarged his yard by buying a 10 foot piece of land from his non-friend Rezko, and it wasn’t from Rezko, it was from Rezko’s wife! So what if this guy Rezko is on trial for corruption in Illinois money scandels! Did Obama know he was, Obama says he didn’t, isn’t that good enough for people?

    After all, it is Clinton’s fault isn’t it!

    Obama for President in ’08

    Obama for Impeachment in ’09!

  • Ga6thDem

    Obama caught in another bold faced lie. I guess this is what hubris does to you. You think you can say anything and get away with it.

    • kenoshaMarge

      Well with the media in your pocket, can’t you?

  • Kathleen
    • Andy

      I heard an NPR story this afternoon on the radio but the reporter covering the trial was lame…she sounded like “Oh…it’s not a big deal; Obama has nothing to worry.”… The Nafta-gate piece at NPR was much better.

  • Kathleen

    David Axelrod’s defense of Obama was weak weak weak on “This Week”

    Here is the clip from “This Week” with both Axelrod and Hillary’s campaign adviser (forgot his name)

    http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/

    Worth the watch

  • lemonv

    The Superdelegates should take the Rezko-gate of Obama into consideration in choosing the presidential nominee because the case might blowout in the middle of the GE and then what? We might as well give McCain the presidency without a fight.

    The fact is: no automatic delegate is required to cast a vote on the basis of anything other than his or her best judgment about who is the most qualified to be president.(delegate hub)

  • Cee

    Since we’re vetting people for the good of the nation, I mentioned this to quite a few people today and I’m posting it here AGAIN.

    Clinton donations from troubled firm Posted: Friday, February 29, 2008 5:47 PM by Domenico Montanaro

    From NBC’s Lisa Myers and Jim Popkin
    Sen. Hillary Clinton has declined to return $170,000 in campaign contributions from individuals at a company accused of widespread sexual harassment, and whose CEO is a disbarred lawyer with a criminal record, federal campaign records show.

    Sen. Clinton’s spokesman, Howard Wolfson, told NBC News in a statement that the senator decided to keep the funds because the lawsuit is “ongoing” and because none of the sexual harassment allegations has been proven in court.

    “With regard to the pending harassment suit, as a general matter, the campaign assesses findings of fact in deciding whether to return contributions,” Wolfson said.
    http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/02/29/718538.aspx

    • Simon

      Clinton donations from troubled firm P

      You don’t get credibility in regard to your Clinton accusations until you admit Obama has connections to a man who is suspected of aiding terrorists.

      Otherwise, it’s just puerile, simplistic spin control.

      For morons.

    • joe

      The IPA story could prove troublesome for Hillary. This story has been around for months in Illinois and there are several polticians, including the feminist Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D-IL), who have not returned IPA money. If he is found not guilty, the Clinton’s would be justified in keeping the money.

      I agree that you get no respect for posting this stuff until you admit that Rezko is a shady cat and BO had a questionable relationship with him the details of which have not fully been answered by Obambi. Once you admit that, you can vet away, but until then, it is all spin meant to defelct us from the truth about your boy. Fess Up Cee!

    • Mike Howell

      Cee –

      I missed the part where this had anything to do with knowingly letting constituents and hitting someone up for a mansion.

      What does this have to do with anything? Oh yeah, right NOTHING! For all we know right now as I’ve told you any number of times when you’ve posted this either as Cee or Bulbous Nebbish or CK etc. it’s a civil case. Not a criminal case.

      And if the women consented or initiated it – there is no case. What if these women acted like your hero Mauldin Dowdy? I’d feel sorry for their co-workers.

      Barack Obama is still pay to play!

      • Mike Howell

        Sorry – knowingly letting constituents freeze. The way Barack Obama did so that he could get his mansion from Rezko or Auchi depending on how you look at it.

    • mimi

      Considering how women have turned on her in this election, I don’t blame her.

  • grannyhelen

    From The Prince Of Darkness (aka Robert Novak – who hilariously tries to blame all of this on Hillary while still getting all of the Rezko info out about Obama):

    “…But the case against Rezko prepared by the always determined U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald poses possible new pitfalls for the Democratic front-runner by introducing into the proceedings the Iraqi billionaire Auchi, who has been convicted on corruption charges in France and given a suspended sentence. While his friends describe Auchi and his family as victims of Saddam Hussein’s tyranny, Pentagon sources call him a “bagman” who laundered money in London for the Iraqi dictator.

    Chicago Sun-Times reporters Chris Fusco and Tim Novak (no relation) asked last week how it was possible for Auchi to get government permission to visit Chicago in 2004 despite his French criminal conviction. Obama aides were quoted as saying that Auchi never reached out to the senator, and representatives of both men say neither has any recollection of meeting the other. But the Times of London reported last week that “the two may have had a brief encounter” at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago. It is an indistinct part of an indistinct story Hillary Clinton’s handlers wish had attracted attention before now.”

    link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/02/AR2008030201858.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

    If the Prince Of Darkness is talking about Auchi, you know it’s being discussed in conservative circles.

    But, of course, it’s all Hillary’s fault for raising the issue. Not Obama’s for getting himself into this mess in the first place and mismanaging the handling of the story in the second place.

    So, Democrats, be comforted, secure in the knowledge that if Obama becomes the nominee and loses in the fall it still won’t be his fault, it will be Hillary’s (/snark).

  • ybnormal

    Good one Susan!
    Go back to the source…and whad’ya know.

    Also, I’m sure Pat Fitzgerald and the entire U.S. Attorney’s office will be happy that they can now cancel the trial, because Axelrod has done all the homework for them and “…the conclusion is the same:
    There’s no evidence of any wrongdoing related to Mr. Rezko”. What a lucky break for Fitz!

  • Retired

    Axe uses the work “talk” only because the actual form of communication–Reticulan telepathy–is too difficult for mere voters to understand. The One does not talk to mere reporters, and the reason why can be readily understood from the failure of Novak, Fusco and McKinney to understand his sophisticated telepathic answers to the questions that they would like to pose.

    • grannyhelen

      Aren’t they written in the tea leaves of all of the discarded paper cups that Halle Berry is picking up for him?

      I kid! I kid!

      • votermom

        *snerkle*

        • Simon

          Actually, they’re busy turning a piece of paper over and over, but they don’t get it.

          Too abstract.