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Yesterday's Barack Obama's Chicago Tribune interview about Rezko.....13 pages Transcript

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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 11:46 AM
Original message
Yesterday's Barack Obama's Chicago Tribune interview about Rezko.....13 pages Transcript
Edited on Sat Mar-15-08 11:49 AM by ElsewheresDaughter
Senator says friend raised more money than he previously admitted to.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/chi-obamafu...

Trying to put his past with Antoin "Tony" Rezko behind him, presidential candidate Barack Obama on Friday said he never thought the nowindicted Chicago businessman would try to take advantage of him because his old friend had never asked for a political favor.

But in a 90-minute interview with Tribune reporters and editors, Obama disclosed that Rezko had raised more for Obama's earlier political campaigns than previously known, gathering as much as $250,000 for the first three offices he sought.

Obama also elaborated on previous statements about his private real estate transactions with Rezko, saying they were not simply mistakes of judgment because Rezko was under grand jury investigation at the time of their 2005 and 2006 dealings. "The mistake, by the way, was not just engaging in a transaction with Tony because he was having legal problems. The mistake was because he was a contributor and somebody who was involved in politics."

The Illinois senator made his most extensive comments about Rezko to date in an effort to quell the lingering controversy over his relationship with the politically influential developer and over the personal financial deals first revealed by the Tribune in November 2006.

Faced with intensifying scrutiny as the Democratic primary season grinds on, Obama said voters should view his Rezko dealings as "a mistake in not seeing the potential conflicts of interest." But he added that voters should also "see somebody who is not engaged in any wrongdoing . . . and who they can trust."

After news reports of Rezko's questionable political dealings first emerged in 2005, Obama said he asked his friend about them. Rezko assured him there was nothing wrong. "My instinct was to believe him," he said.

Asked if he ever thought Rezko would expect something from their relationship, Obama was emphatic: 'No. Precisely because I had known him for years and he hadn't asked me for something."

The friendship between the Obamas and Rezkos included occasional dinners and the Obamas once spending a day at the Rezkos' Lake Geneva retreat. It began in about 1991, when Obama became the first black president of the Harvard Law Review and Rezko offered him a job building affordable homes with his Rezmar Corp. Though Obama declined, a friendship and political alliance began.

His first big contributor

When Obama launched his bid for the Illinois Senate in 1995, Rezko was his first substantial contributor. Obama said it was his "best guesstimate" that Rezko raised $10,000 to $15,000 of Obama's roughly $100,000 collected for that race. Obama said he didn't have more certainty because he didn't then have the staff to maintain better campaign finance records.

Rezko helped bankroll all of Obama's subsequent campaigns except his presidential bid. Rezko was on Obama's campaign committee in his failed run against U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush and gathered between $50,000 and $75,000 of the estimated $600,000 raised in that race, Obama said.

Rezko also was on the finance committee for Obama's 2004 U.S. Senate run. "My best assessment is that he raised $160,000 during my U.S. Senate primary," he said, adding that those funds had been given to charity.

Obama explained Rezko's appeal to up-and-coming politicians. Part of it was his seeming modesty. "In my interactions with him, he was very gracious. He did not ask me for favors. He was not obtrusive. He wasn't one of those people who would insist on coming around all the time or constantly being photographed with me."

And Rezko was loyal. He had been a supporter of Rush but sided with Obama in that 2000 race. Five years later, bolstered by payments for his best-selling autobiography and advances for future books, Obama and his wife, Michelle, went house hunting. They were drawn to a 96- year-old South Side home with four fireplaces, glassdoor bookcases fashioned from Honduran mahogany and a wine cellar.

The house and the adjoining yard had been owned as a single property, but the owners were listing them separately and asking $1.95 million for the house and $625,000 for the landscaped side lot.

Obama disclosed Friday that someone else already had an option to buy the garden lot. But he said Rezko took over that option after Rezko learned Obama was bidding for the house. Obama said he knew next to nothing about those transactions and does not recall when he learned that Rezko was interested in buying the side lot- or even how Rezko learned it was for sale.

But they talked about the upcoming sales. "He said, 'I might be interested,' " Obama recalled. "My response was, 'Well, that would be fine.'"

Obama added: "This is an area where I can see a lapse in judgment." He said his motivation was "if this lot is going to be developed, here's somebody I knew. So I didn?t object."

The senator said that at the time, in early 2005, he was aware of the growing controversies surrounding Rezko's dealings with state and city government. In March 2005, for example, city officials alleged that a minority contractor at O'Hare International Airport acted as a front for a Rezko firm. "I started reading the reports that were surfacing," Obama said. Rezko "gave me assurances that this wasn't a problem."


13 pages more....http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/chi-obamafu...
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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 12:27 PM
Response to Original message
1. thanks for the recs peeps!
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 12:38 PM
Response to Original message
2. Here's the best thing about the Tribune interview:
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama waited 16 months to attempt the exorcism. But when he finally sat down with the Tribune editorial board Friday, Obama offered a lengthy and, to us, plausible explanation for the presence of now-indicted businessman Tony Rezko in his personal and political lives.

The most remarkable facet of Obama's 92-minute discussion was that, at the outset, he pledged to answer every question the three dozen Tribune journalists crammed into the room would put to him. And he did.

Along the way he confronted the starkest innuendo that has dogged him and his campaign for the presidency
: the suggestion that the purchase of an adjacent lot by Rezko's wife subtly subsidized the Obamas' purchase of their home on Chicago's South Side. "This notion that somehow I got a discount and Rezko overpaid is simply not true . . . simply, factually, incorrect," Obama said Friday, adding that he didn't need any intervention from Rezko to grease the purchase of the house.

link


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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. what Obama said and what is the reality are two different things...of course he had to say that
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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. and again you pick out of context what suits your bias
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DUyellow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. what is out of context?
get in line, he is going to be the Dem nom.
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chimpymustgo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #5
13. Get in line? Drink the Koolaid? Join the Church of Obamatology?
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JoFerret Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Well - we all tend to do that
...but thanks for the post.
Cheers.
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. It's interesting that "someone else" had an "option" to buy the adjoining lot...
That is a new revelation.

But, it's disturbing that Obama had such a lack of judgement about Rezko even though he had bankrolled all of Obama's campaigns. That's alot of money and to believe he didn't know about Rezko is really stretching it at this point when reading the new info in this article.

If Obama can be suckered by a guy like Rezko who was making money off Govt. Contracts to build housing and med facilities for the poor in Obama's district...they he seems very gullible and innocent. Is he ready to be President if he is so trusting? :shrug:
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 12:56 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. That's lame! n/t
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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. EXACTLY...and I have to say it is a stretch of credulity too
Edited on Sat Mar-15-08 12:59 PM by ElsewheresDaughter
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. It gets even better:
So what really happened Friday when Obama detailed his Obama connection? And will his attempt to exorcise Rezko keep U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign from exploiting that connection?

Obama fleshed out his relationship with Rezkoincluding the disclosure that Rezko raised as much as $250,000 for the first three offices Obama sought. But Obama's explanation was less a font of new data or an act of contrition than the addition of nuance and motive to a long-mysterious relationship.

We fully expect the Clinton campaign, given its current desperation, to do whatever it must in order to keep the Rezko tin can tied to Obama's bumper.

When we endorsed Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination Jan. 27, we said we had formed our opinions of him during 12 years of scrutiny. We concluded that the professional judgment and personal decency with which he has managed himself and his ambition distinguish him.

Nothing Obama said in our editorial board room Friday diminishes that verdict.

more


For those unfamiliar with Chicago media, the Tribunes editorial board is pretty solidly Republican, so if any paper was going to express skepticism about Obamas Rezko story, its the Trib. And yet, the paper came away apparently impressed.

link


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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. yes it does "Obama Admits Repeated Poor Judgment With Rezko" Time Magazine
Edited on Sat Mar-15-08 01:33 PM by ElsewheresDaughter
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Time didn't do the 92-minute interview posted in your OP. Time can write any headline it wants to.
n/t
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chimpymustgo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #7
14. He's flat out lying.
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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 01:43 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. god I miss Edwards.....and yes he is!
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 01:49 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. And you know this because...
...is that evidence in your pocket or are you just over-excited?
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 01:48 PM
Response to Original message
16. Just an observation...
Aren't you supposed to only quote 4 paragraphs?

More importantly, what it gets down to is that Obama is the one who's put all those questions to rest. There haven't been any big revelations that 'expose' him - he's sat down to answer the questions that have been asked, and given comprehensive answers. At least we won't have to read any more 'Obama has to answer these questions!!1!' threads, because as you point out, he has :-)
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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. he lied to us repeatedly from day 1 now he is revising again and you're gonna swallow again?
Edited on Sat Mar-15-08 02:03 PM by ElsewheresDaughter
and haven't you noticed that this forum is the "Wild West"

hell even attacks and name calling on the Clinton;s, Bills penis, Fox, Rush, Hannity, links rampid here
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