We have written for a long time that like all con artists, three-card monte thieves, and flim-flam men, Obama is running to keep one step ahead of the law.
Obama’s great gamble has always been that he can get the Democratic Party nomination before the trial of his benefactor and indicted slumlord friend gathers attention from Big Media. Once the Democratic Party nominated him, Democrats then would be forced to protect Obama as well as his slumlord dealings. The gamble has thus far paid off. The odds however are increasing that Obama is about to crap out on his big gamble.
Thanks to Rezko watchers here at Big Pink, and the increasingly formidable RezkoWatch, the slumlord’s friend faces the possibility that the slow wheels of the law will run him over:
In one sense, Barack Obama is quite fortunate that Tony Rezko’s trial doesn’t get under way until March 3, because it’s unlikely to have any effect on the crucial contests taking place in Texas and Ohio the following day. If Obama wins in either state, as James Carville said recently, “this thing is done.”
However, if Clinton manages to hold serve in Texas and Ohio, the ground shifts to Pennsylvania, which doesn’t vote until nearly six weeks later on April 22. At that point the Rezko trial will be most likely be in full bloom.
Furthermore, if Obama does manage to knock Clinton out on March 4, the Rezko trial immediately becomes part of the general election narrative. Though Obama hasn’t been accused of any wrong doing, it’s clearly not helpful to have one of your major political benefactors on trail for fraud and corruption while you’re trying to win the White House.
Kudos to the Hillary campaign for beginning to question what Big Media refuses to question. Howard Wolfson:
Much is known about her [Clinton’s] finances. There’s an awful lot of information disclosed by her, and if Senator Obama is actually, really interested in transparency, there are many questions — for instance, about his relationship with indicted political fixer Tony Rezko that he could answer, that he has not. What was the exact nature of his relationship with Mr. Rezko? How many fundraisers did Mr. Rezko throw for him? How much money did Mr. Rezko bundle for him? How many business meetings did Senator Obama attend that Mr. Rezko was at? What was he doing at those business meetings? What favors did Senator Obama perform for Mr. Rezko? So there’s an awful lot of information that, if Senator Obama is interested in transparency, that he could come forward and offer the American people.
The slow wheels are turning:
Already, anonymous sites like RezkoWatch have popped up, ready to detail all the sordid ins and outs of the trial and speculate as to what it all means for Obama. The Chicago media will certainly cover the trial closely, and national outlets will pick up pieces of it as well. It will definitely be part of the media bloodstream.
And there are other issues out there for Obama that will get more exposure as well, as Timothy Burger details today. The Clinton campaign hopes this will play into their contention that their candidate is the one who has been “fully vetted” by the national media, while Obama has not.
Hillary Clinton questions whether Barack Obama would be able to withstand what she calls the “Republican attack machine.” If Obama does become the Democratic presidential nominee, his Chicago ties might provide the fuel.
While the Illinois senator has never been accused of wrongdoing, some of the associations he formed as a community organizer and politician in Chicago may provide fodder for attacks, Democratic and Republican political experts say.
Besides his relationship with indicted businessman Antoin Rezko, Obama might face Republican criticism over contacts with a former leader of the Weather Underground, a banker with ties to a convicted felon and even his church.
“He has had relationships with individuals who are controversial, he has had relationships with individuals who are in trouble,” said Cindi Canary, director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.
Canary says that “there has been no link whatsoever that ties him to their troubles.” Even so, that may not immunize him from attack. In 2004, Massachusetts Democratic Senator John Kerry, the presidential nominee, was subjected to unfounded criticism about his service in the Vietnam War.
The assertion that there is no link that ties Obama to “their troubles” is myopic at best, simply blind more likely. Does anyone really think that Obama bought a gorgeous house with lovely mahogony fireplaces only to have the former side yard turned into some sort of development? Does anyone really think that Obama would buy a house whose side yard and future “developed property” is ONLY accessible by walking past his own mansion and be content with the idea of months, if not years of construction? Does anyone really think that Obama bought his house without knowing if there would be a Quik-E-Mart next door, or some other commercial or large scale residential development? And of course there is the FBI mole/informant that contradicts Obama’s assertions that he barely knew Rezko.
“I think that it is inevitable that the media and Republicans will try to resort to these tactics,” said Julian Epstein, a Democratic strategist. Epstein says he isn’t affiliated with any campaign, though he has raised money for Clinton, given advice to Clinton and former candidate Bill Richardson, and would advise Obama if asked.
Alex Conant, the Republican National Committee press secretary, said that if Obama “wants to be commander-in-chief, he’s going to have to answer to his record in Illinois.”
Unanswered questions, questions, questions:
Still, Obama’s past endorsements and donors may give opponents material to work with. One target might be his 2006 backing of Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, who was elected Illinois state treasurer.
During the campaign, the Democratic speaker of the state House and other party leaders criticized Giannoulias because of loans his family bank made to Michael “Jaws” Giorango, a convicted felon. Obama stuck with Giannoulias after the revelations, though he did call on him to explain the matter.
“I’m going to ask Alexi directly what is happening,” Obama said in April 2006, according to the Chicago Tribune.
More recently, Obama has conceded it was “boneheaded” of him to buy a home in June 2005 for $1.65 million with the involvement of Rezko, who was under federal investigation at the time. Rezko was indicted 16 months later on unrelated corruption charges, and is awaiting trial in jail. Over the past year, Obama, 46, has returned about $85,000 in campaign contributions given or raised by Rezko.
When Obama bought the home in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood, Rezko’s wife, Rita, purchased, for $625,000, adjoining land that the house’s owners insisted on selling at the same time. Seven months later, she sold the Obamas one-sixth of her lot, for $105,000, so they could expand their yard. [snip]
Besides Rezko and Giannoulias, Obama could face questions about his relationship with William Ayers, a former member of the radical group the Weather Underground who is now a professor of education at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Ayers donated $200 in 2001 to Obama’s Illinois state Senate campaign and served with him from 1999 to 2002 on the nine-member board of the Woods Fund, an anti-poverty group.
The Weather Underground carried out a series of bombings in the early 1970s — including the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon. While Ayers was never prosecuted for those attacks, he told the New York Times in an interview published Sept. 11, 2001, that “I don’t regret setting bombs.” [snip]
Even the candidate’s church, the Trinity United Church of Christ, and its pastor, Jeremiah Wright, have come under scrutiny. Last month, Obama “strongly” condemned anti-Semitic comments made by Louis Farrakhan after the church’s magazine published an article praising the leader of the Chicago-based Nation of Islam.
In what may be a preview of the attention to come, the church has been barraged with so many questions about its association with Obama that it now responds with an automated e- mail that describes the candidate as a member “for nearly two decades.”
Either Superdelegates will get the answers to Obama entanglement questions or the Republicans will. The REZKO Cometh.