Obama Fights The Facts

Last Sunday Barack Obama appeared on This Week. His appearance was such a disaster we wrote 2 articles about it. The first article which we want to update was called Obama’s $925,000 Question. We thought it was a tough realistic piece about Obama’s dubious ethical judgements when he bought his house with the assistance of his slumlord friend Antoin “Tony” Rezko. As it turns out we were too gullible. Obama was less forthright than even we thought.

In Obama’s $925,000 Question we pointed out that Obama wanted to buy a house he could not afford (See the Chicago Tribune article Rezko Owns Vacant Lot Next To Obama’s Home). Lack of money did not prevent Obama from obtaining the house. Obama simply went to his slumlord friend Rezko and got the slumlord friend to purchase part of the property. Obama obtained the valuable property with a $1.65 million dollar house on it for a discount of $300,000. Obama’s slumlord friend paid full price for a yard full of grass. At the time the slumlord friend was reported to be under investigation for corruption and kickbacks.

[We want to also note that both properties were originally 1 property. This very clear fact is constantly missed. Obama went to the sellers and asked them to split the property in 2 so he could buy the house at a discount and Obama’s slumlord friend Rezko would buy the yard for full price. In the words of the Chicago Tribune, “The same day the Obamas closed on the house, the Rezkos closed on the purchase of the adjoining vacant lot, which once was the estate’s lush side yard.”]

The Chicago Sun-Times added an additional piece of evidence this past week in an article entitled Rezko Question Dogs Obama.

Here is our transcript of the This Week interview with Obama. We transcribed the relevant segment, which begins 11:24 minutes into the interview:

Stephanopoulos: One of your big issues is ethics reform, but you faced a lot of criticism back home in Chicago about a land deal you entered into with a long time friend and contributor of yours named Rezko. You bought a house, he bought an adjacent plot, the exact same day. Several months later you bought part of the plot back from him. All of that time it was known that he was being investigated for corruption and kickbacks. What were you thinking?

Obama: Well obviously I wasn’t thinking enough. I’m very proud of my ethics record. I mean I was famous in Springfield for not letting lobbyists even buy me lunch. And, so, this is one time where I didn’t see the appearance of impropriety, because I paid full price for the land. There has been no allegations of anything other than that. But it raised the possibility that here was somebody who was a friend of mine who was doing me a favor and I said it was a boneheaded mistake.

Stephanopoulos: How do you explain the blind spot?

Obama: Well, you know, I think that we had bought a house for the first time, and we were trying to figure out how to set the whole thing up and this is somebody that I’d known for some time. It was an above-board legal transaction, I paid more than the price of the property that I purchased, and so the assumption was that this was all above-board. And, the important thing though is to note that in all my conduct there has never been any implications, including in this situation, that I in any way used my office to do favors for people to help folks betray the public trust in any sort of way. And that is something that I am very proud of and that is part of the reason why in this campaign it is so important for me to talk about the need not just to win elections but to change how our politics works.

We pointed out earlier the many problems with Obama’s answers in this interview. Lynn Sweet, of the Chicago Sun-Times adds this:

“Well said, except that this was not the first time Obama went through the process of buying a residence. Obama and his wife bought a condominium in Hyde Park before purchasing their mansion in Kenwood. Perhaps Obama was making a distinction between buying a condo and a stand-alone home. But Obama was not the first-time residential purchaser he portrayed in the interview.”

Lynn Sweet is correct. Obama continues to sell himself as an innocent but the facts are quite different. Not only was this not Obama’s first real estate transaction but let’s remember that Michelle Obama was hardly an inexperienced real estate novice. Michelle Obama after all served for 7 years on the Landmark Commission (1998-2005). Michelle Obama used those Landmark Commission contacts to navigate through Chicago law when the Obamas decided to build a fence.

Furthermore, let’s recall that Obama was a real estate attorney. Obama tried to hide that fact but the Sun-Times had the proof:

“Davis said he didn’t remember Obama working on the Rezmar projects. “I don’t recall Barack having any involvement in real estate transactions,” Davis said. “Barack was a litigator. His area of focus was litigation, class-action suits.”

But Obama did legal work on real estate deals while at Davis’ firm, according to biographical information he submitted to the Sun-Times in 1998. Obama specialized “in civil rights litigation, real estate financing, acquisition, construction and/or redevelopment of low-and moderate income housing,” according to his “biographical sketch.” And he did legal work on Rezko’s deals, according to an e-mail his presidential campaign staff sent the Sun-Times on Feb. 16, in response to earlier inquiries. The staff didn’t specify which Rezmar projects Obama worked on, or his role. But it drew a distinction between working for Rezko and working on projects involving his company.”

The Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune have raised many questions and obtained many disturbing answers. We would like to have some light shed on why Obama purchased the 10 yards of property from slumlord friend Antoin “Tony” Rezko at a time when news reports indicated that Rezko would soon be indicted. Was “Tony” Rezko in need of financing for a project or legal expenses and therefore Obama bailed him out? We are sure that the Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune will keep digging.

Lynn Sweet also wrote a bit about Obama’s lobbyist answer. Here is what she wrote:

“However, Obama had a healthy appetite for money from lobbyists and political action committees while a state senator. Just looking at one of his state senate campaign cycles, in 2001-2002, Obama’s state war chest accepted donations from, among other sources, the Manufacturers PAC; the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association; the Illinois Education Association; the Illinois Hospital Association, and the Credit Union PAC. A good place to check out Obama’s campaign contribution record as a state senator is www.ilcampaign.org.

Obama also used lobbyists and PACs to help him raise money for his U.S. Senate run and his Hopefund. Obama experienced a conversion once he decided to run for the White House, changing his policy and declining to take money from currently registered federal lobbyists and PACs. He does take contributions from lobbyists with state clients and from individuals with government affairs jobs.”

Glenn Thrush of Newsday earlier wrote about Obama’s lobbyist ties:

“Barack Obama has backhandedly slapped Hillary Rodham Clinton for accepting contributions from lobbyists and PACs, eschewing cash from both groups because he doesn’t want to be beholden to special interests. So it was with great interest that we read in the Boston Globe that BHO has enlisted New Hampshire lobbyist Jim Demers (who represents trial lawyers, firefighters and a major video poker/slot machine vendor, according to his firm’s Website) to be one of his New Hamsphire co-chairs.

Demers has already helped Obama organize events in the Granite State and has helped establish his organization.
In April, Obama refunded about $50,000 in lobbyist contributions. It’s not clear if Demers’ $2,300 was among the refunds. (His name isn’t on Obama’s refunds list because the campaign is only rejecting cash from federal lobbyists — an interesting ethical hair-split).

Even if he refunded Demers’ check – and we have no reason to believe Demers has anything but the purest motives for joining the campaign — the hiring raises questions. What good is returning a few grand from a lobbyist if that lobbyist is going to have unfettered access to the candidate as a volunteer? “

Obama must stop fighting the facts. Obama must start to disclose fully what his connections are to Rezko, how much actual legal work he did for Rezko, why he purchased land from an about to be indicted slumlord, how he worked the deal to divide the property his house was on, and why his constituents were freezing without heat and Obama did nothing to protect them from his slumlord friend. Facts are stubborn things. Facts do not go away. It’s time to face the facts.

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6 thoughts on “Obama Fights The Facts

  1. My biggest problem with Obama is that he is so untested. This story goes to the heart of the problem. We don’t know very much about his background, and he isn’t very skillful at handling it. The Republicans spent $70 million hunting down every minute fact of Hillary’s life and came up with nothing they could pin on her. But they gave her a whole lot of lessons on how to handle this stuff.

  2. Your point becomes very obvious when you compare Hillary’s book with Obama’s books.

    Reading Hillary’s autobiography what jumps out from every page is how much this woman has done and been through. On just about every page fact after fact after fact of her experience and accomplishments are right there before you.

    Your $70 million number is probably way too low when you take into account all the investigation done for anti-Hillary screeds disguised as books and al the congressional investigations that never issued reports when they came up with nothing. Your overall point is right on target – this woman has been tested and examined like no other person running.

    Obama’s books are heavy with adjectives and wistfulness. They read at times like teen angst books such as “The Catcher In the Rye”. [No insult meant to the very good book CITR.]

    And yes, Obama is not very quick on his feet and can’t seem to answer the questions put to him. If the Chicago papers keep examining him the way they have been they will continue to uncover unpleasant facts about him which he won’t be able to answer.

  3. Hello fellow Hillary supporters. This is my first post on this website, and I’m excited to begin a discussion with all you out there on what we can do to help the Hillary campaign. I believe, as I am sure you all do, that Hillary is the only candidate that is tough enough to fight the republicans and win the Preisdency. And when she is President, she will reverse all the destructive policies of the Bush years, and bring a level of progressive change that this country really needs.

    Anyway, I have been following this Obama thing pretty closely, and while I agree with this latest post very much, I dont think there needs to be any guesswork about Obama’s culpability in this deal, or to what his relationship with Rezko was. Obama is trying to play the innocent because his relationship with the indicted crook and slumlord Rezko is not just a casual aquaintance- Obama was his friend, lawyer, crony.

    Obama’s intentionaly misleading and confusing statements regarding this matter only make sense when you realize that it was not just a lack of judgement on his part, or as HI44 calls it – and this misses the point – a “dubious ethical judgement,” but a purposeful attempt to obfuscate any inquiry into a clearly crooked deal.

    The rosiest portrayl of this deal gives us a friend helping out his good friend and crony with an interest free million dollar loan. But even this naive understanding of this crooked deal shows us that Obama and Rezko were pretty good friends, not blinking an eye over a million bucks. Well, if that’s the case then why all th lies Obama? Is it because this was not a loan or anything like that at all, but a Payoff?

    The bottom line is that if you do a sketch of Obama’s life in Chicago after he graduated law school, the one person who keeps popping up at every step of the way, is none other than his GOOD FRIEND and FINANCIAL BENIFICIARY Tony Rezko. How is the press letting Obama get away with his incessant lies about his relationship with this guy? It has been reported, (not sure if in the sun-times or tribune), that Obama would often refer to Rezko as his “political godfather.”

    Ofcourse, now that he is running for President on his laughable assertion that he is a “new” politician, he denies ever using this term of endearment for his good friend Rezko.

    Well, if look at what you know about Obamas life, you realize that we only really know what he himself has told us about his life. And for the most part, a lot of his life story is very vague, and if anyone has been following the brief reporting on the accuracy of his autobiography, a lot of seems to be false.

    This is where we are with this Rezko story. Obama refuses to speak openly about it, and to me this signals not the “mistake” of a “new” politican too clean and ethically pure to realize the game of politics. No, what it tells me is that this is a man who has SOMETHING TO HIDE, cloaking himself in the veil of innoncence, all the while hiding the fact that he is really a corrupt politican.

    It amazes me that all of these Obama supporters are not sick with the hypocrisy of this self-proclaimed champion of the little man who let his own continuents freeze for five weeks in a tenament because the building was owned by his good buddy and business partner and finacial benificiary Tony Rezko.

    Ask you this, Why did obama lie to the sun-times (or was it the tribune?), and tell them he was not a real estate lawyer? As this post by HI44 points out, real-estate law was his speciality! Why has Obama’s law-firm refused to release Obama’s billing records? At one point, I think in March, they say they would, but they have STILL not produced any detailed accounts of what legal wok Obama was doing. This is because the scale is breaking with the weight of the sleazy real-estate deals this guy was involved in. And I bet if you look closely and specifically at the record there isn’t even any “civil-rights” work to tip the scale the other way.

    Can someone please tell me what is going on here? Isn’t the role of the press to substantiate claims and investigate lies, or is it just to uncritically repeat what people tell us? Oh well, I think this is all going to come out soon enough, because the more you look into this deal, the more it stinks!

    This is why Hillary is different. She looks at the hard political realities we face and gives us solutions to deal with them, not sweet little platitudes about changing the tone of washington. Remember who the last guy was to say that? George Bush!

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