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Two Illinois poliblog institutions, The Capitol Fax Blog (by political journalist Rich Miller) and ArchPundit (by political blogger Larry Handlin), are producing primers for the American people and the self-proclaimed media of record (not that the "national" media feels a need to be bothered with actual details when there's a good soap opera to splash some ink on).

For those interested in learning just what Sen. Barack Obama's not-very-much-of-a-relationship with Chicago developer Tony Rezko is, read up...

CapFax's In defense of the locals reviews the Illinois political media's coverage of Sen. Obama and attempts by the Tribune, Sun-Times, etc. to find skeletons in his closet over the years. Of note: the Chicago Tribune discovered two instances of what might be of interest to those hoping to turn Tony Rezko into Obama's Marc Rich or Norman Hsu.

First, the Trib uncovered the property purchase in which the Obama family bought a home and Mr. Rezko's wife bought an adjoining piece of property from the same seller on the same day. Sen. Obama has apologized for this event and acknowledged how, from the outside looking in, it appears unseemly even though everything was done legally and legitimately.

Second, the Trib also found that Sen. Obama's staff gave an internship to a kid whose father was connected to Rezko and who had donated money to Obama's previous campaigns. Ummm... ok.

Mr. Miller also writes that the Trib explained the research they did to investigate the connections between the law firm Sen. Obama used to work for and Rezko. Would that more media would bother to actually "work" a story as the Chicago papers have with regards to any sort of ties between Obama and Rezko (and most, if not all, of those ties seem to be perfectly legit based on that rather exhaustive research).

In his post, Mr. Miller also notes that an oppo-research consultant from one of Sen. Obama's US Senate primary opponents, Mike Henry, was hired by the Clinton campaign and that since his hiring Clinton's attacks have mirrored the earlier attacks from that 2004 primary opponent. Go figure.

UPDATE: Rich Miller has posted a follow-up today in "Present votes and Rezko".

ArchPundit also currently has a series of five eight "Rezko primers" up on his blog (don't know if he'll add more so check his site for the latest UPDATE: Arch did add a few more and has a summary/linky post on all eight in "The Rezko Primer"). His posts' titles are rather self-explanatory:


Don't get me wrong. Rezko is going to court after having been accused of some pretty serious white collar crimes. If convicted he ought to pay his debt to society.

But guilt by association witch hunts are damn weak -- just ask the Clintons their thoughts on Kenneth Starr and his investigation of the, ahem, Whitewater Land Deal... -- even if the national media is willing to lazily regurgitate an opponent's spin on their front pages and TV news crawlers.

If some sort of quid pro quo had ever surfaced there'd be something to talk about but as it stands there's really no there "there" between Rezko and Obama. No one has ever found any instance of Obama doing anything as a legislator that would have illegally (or even unethically) benefited Rezko. (That said, journalist Miller correctly notes that something about Obama may yet surface during Rezko's trial but given the boxes of files the Illinois media has analyzed it seems unlikely.)

(c/p Illinois Reason)

UPDATE 2: DKos diarist and Obama biograper John K Wilson has written "The Real Story of Rezko and Obama: 10 Myths Debunked"... (He even clarifies the debunked attacks surrounding the "house deal" noting that Obama's bid for his home was the higher of two bids, even though his winning bid was below the seller's asking price. Usually, that's called a good deal.)

Originally posted to thesill on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 05:00 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What did Obama supposedly do wrong? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Elise, Femlaw

    It's the question I ask, and basically, nobody can even NAME the wrong/unethical/criminal thing.

    It's mere association.  Obama works five hours for a church, the church is in partnership with Rezko, years later rezko is accuased of bribing a different democrat in a different government...and then there's mutterings about Chicago and machines and "urban" politicians.

    [Obama endorser X] is a naive childish Reagan worshipper that has no experience with the right wing attack machine.

    by Inland on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 05:04:50 PM PST

    •  Well, that line about "only 5 hours" (0+ / 0-)

      now that you repeat it, worries me.

      Obama clearly has a closer relationship with Rezko than that, and for 17 years.  Why not just say so?  

      I've known people for 17 years, some of them from high school who have gone to jail since.  So what?  I wouldn't claim to have known them for only 5 hours in class . . . about all that type of classmate actually showed up for class.:-)

      "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

      by Cream City on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 05:20:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So you can name what he did wrong. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        thesill, Elise

        Not describing a "closer relationship"...but , of course, Obama has.  Obama admits Rezkoe was a contributor.  Obama admits were neighbors.  Obama admits he purchased property from Rezko at a price higher than an appraisal.

        So having named what you think Obama did wrong, it's put to rest.  

        The five hours was in response to HRC's accusation that Obama worked for Rezko, as was the statement that Obama's client was actually a church, not Rezko, on a single deal in which they were both involved.

        Problem solved, right?  No, of course not.  

        [Obama endorser X] is a naive childish Reagan worshipper that has no experience with the right wing attack machine.

        by Inland on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 05:50:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why didn't he say so on national tv (0+ / 0-)

          in the debate the other night, then?  I know he mentioned it in his book as more than just a client-attorney relationship, the housing deal an error in judgment, etc., and that was good.

          What he said the other night seemed odd then -- so carefully, narrowly answering the question, quite a contrast to his book.  He wasn't asked a question in that to answer, and he answered it far better then.

          "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

          by Cream City on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 07:09:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  He was responding to a specific (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            thesill

            statement by Hillary, about working for a slumlord.  A specific statement that was false.

            If you thought that it was time for him to describe all the other not-scandalous relationships, well, sorry.  HRC's attack was as limited as it was false.  

            I'm a little surprised that you are less concerned about HRC's lies than you are that Obama didn't expand to other matters.

            But it's part of the thing about HRC: nobody expects her to tell the truth anyway.

            [Obama endorser X] is a naive childish Reagan worshipper that has no experience with the right wing attack machine.

            by Inland on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 07:29:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  He *has* been saying so... (0+ / 0-)

        ...No one's been paying attention because the Clinton team hadn't been pimping the meme hard yet. (That's the national media for you.)

        He's donated money to charity equivalent to funds raised (in earlier campaigns) from Rezko and Rezko associates. He's owned up to the fact that Rezko's wife was instrumental in helping the Obamas buy their family home. On and on.

        Unfortunately, Sen. Clinton's campaign is taking the Karl Rove tack -- telling half the story, the dire-sounding half. It's telling that Clinton hired Mike Henry, an oppo research consultant who helped run one of the campaigns for an opponent of Obama's in the 2004 Dem Senate primary.

        Will the GOP toss around the same mud if Obama wins the nod? Sure they will. And the response will be the same -- where's the "wrong"?

        Just knowing a guy who turned out to be bad news doesn't make someone bad, or the GOP would have dumped Bush and his staff long ago.

        •  No. Press tallies show as much as $200,000 (0+ / 0-)

          in donations from Rezko, et al., and Obama has returned $81,000.

          And those of us reading the Chi press have been paying attention for a long time.  That is a lot of us.

          "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

          by Cream City on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 12:21:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Let's compare apples to apples (0+ / 0-)

            ...Cream, lifetime donations to various campaigns (US Congress, State Senate, US Senate...) is different than donations to just the Presidential campaign.

            Also, some of the donations are "bundled" -- they didn't come from Rezko himself but from others associated with Rezko.

            I'm not saying these distinctions are good or bad, that's up to each voter to decide, but at least provide the context for the difference.

            And, links to your cited dollar amounts would help the discussion if you have them.

            Thanks!

            •  See Chicago Sun-Times and search (0+ / 0-)

              archives for obama and rezko, and the whole series comes up.  The figure was about $168,000 a couple of weeks ago, then about $180,000, and then most recently about $200,000.  Too many urls for me to copy and paste today, sorry -- deadlines to meet.  

              As for donations to one campaign or the other, that is not the issue -- everything in the past of a candidate comes up.  And we have to be ready for when it comes up for our nominee, because this is nothing compared to what is ahead.

              "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

              by Cream City on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 12:08:43 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Cream concern (0+ / 0-)

    Yes cream, not looking at the evidence but rather saying "BUT BUT BUT, WHAT DOES HE RLY MEAN" is a fantastic way of coming to conclusions.

  •  see also Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thesill, Elise

    recently also the Los Angeles Times.

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