The McCain campaign, zinged by Obama as rich, out-of-touch to the point he does not know how many homes he owns, roars back that Obama bought his mansion only with the help of Tony Rezko--now awaiting sentencing for his conviction on corruption charges.
As part of the strong, aggresive rebuttal, the RNC launched a Obama Rezko "Shady Deal" web site.
From the McCain campaign...
"Does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses? Does a guy who worries about the price of arugula and thinks regular people "cling" to guns and religion in the face of economic hardship really want to have a debate about who's in touch with regular Americans?
"The reality is that Barack Obama's plans to raise taxes and opposition to producing more energy here at home as gas prices skyrocket show he's completely out of touch with the concerns of average Americans." --McCain spokesman Brian Rogers
from the RNC....
OBAMA'S HOUSING PROBLEM
Brought To You By Convicted Felon Tony Rezko
Obama Engaged In Deal With Convicted Felon To Get Deal On House That Had Four Fireplaces And A Wine Cellar:
Obama Paid $300,000 Less Than The Asking Price For His Mansion, While Tony Rezko's Wife Paid Full Price For A Vacant Lot Next Door On The Very Same Day. "Two years ago, Obama bought a mansion on the South Side, in the Kenwood neighborhood, from a doctor. On the same day, [Antoin 'Tony'] Rezko's wife, Rita Rezko, bought the vacant lot next door from the same seller. The doctor had listed the properties for sale together. He sold the house to Obama for $300,000 below the asking price. The doctor got his asking price on the lot from Rezko's wife." (Tim Novak, "Obama And His Rezko Ties," Chicago Sun-Times, 4/23/07)
The Seller Of Obama's Home "Wanted To Sell Both Properties At The Same Time." "On the same day Obama closed on his house, Rezko's wife bought the adjacent empty lot, meeting the condition of the seller who wanted to sell both properties at the same time." (Brian Ross and Rhonda Schwartz, "The Rezko Connection," ABC News' "The Blotter" Blog, abcnews.go.com, 1/10/08)
Obama Later Purchased A Portion Of Rezko's Land For $104,500; It Was Valued At $40,500. "Later, the Obamas bought a 10-foot-by-150-foot piece of the lot for $104,500. An appraisal put the value of the strip at $40,500, a spokesman said, but Obama considered it fair to pay one-sixth of the original price for one-sixth of the lot." (Peter Slevin, "Obama Says He Regrets Land Deal With Fundraiser," The Washington Post, 12/17/06)
Rezko Was Convicted Of Wire And Mail Fraud, Money Laundering, And Aiding And Abetting Bribery. "A federal jury today convicted developer Antoin 'Tony' Rezko of corruption charges for trading on his clout as a top adviser and fundraiser to Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Rezko's guilty verdict on 16 of 24 corruption counts could have broad repercussions for Blagojevich, who made Rezko a central player in his kitchen cabinet. It could also prove a political liability for U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, who once counted Rezko as a friend and fundraiser, as the likely Democratic presidential nominee heads into the general election campaign against Republican John McCain. ... The jury convicted Rezko of wire and mail fraud, money laundering and aiding and abetting bribery. He was acquitted of attempted extortion." (Bob Secter and Jeff Coen, "Rezko Convicted Of Corruption," Chicago Tribune, 6/4/08)
NOTE: The 3 Story House Has Four Fireplaces And A Wine Cellar. "When Obama and his wife, Michelle, a hospital executive, decided to move with their two young girls from their Hyde Park condominium, they chose a spacious three-story Georgian revival home on a tree-lined street in the Kenwood neighborhood, not far from the University of Chicago. The owner had listed the house -- nearly 100 years old, with four fireplaces and a wine cellar -- and an adjacent lot as separate parcels." (Peter Slevin, "Obama Says He Regrets Land Deal With Fundraiser," The Washington Post, 12/17/06)
Obama Provided Political Favors To Tony Rezko, Including Writing Letters On His Behalf:
"As A State Senator, Barack Obama Wrote Letters To City And State Officials Supporting His Political Patron Tony Rezko's Successful Bid To Get More Than $14 Million From Taxpayers To Build Apartments For Senior Citizens." (Tim Novak, "Obama's Letters For Rezko," Chicago Sun-Times, 6/13/07)
The Letters Show That Obama Did Do A Political Favor For Rezko. "Obama's letters, written nearly nine years ago, for the first time show the Democratic presidential hopeful did a political favor for Rezko - a longtime friend, campaign fund-raiser and client of the law firm where Obama worked - who was indicted last fall on federal charges that accuse him of demanding kickbacks from companies seeking state business under Gov. Blagojevich." (Tim Novak, "Obama's Letters For Rezko," Chicago Sun-Times, 6/13/07)
FLASHBACK: In December Of 2006, Obama Said He Had "Never Done Any Favors For Him." "The letters appear to contradict a statement last December from Obama, who told the Chicago Tribune that, in all the years he's known Rezko, 'I've never done any favors for him.'" (Tim Novak, "Obama's Letters For Rezko," Chicago Sun-Times, 6/13/07)
Rezko Offered Obama A Job After Law School And The Two Have Been Friends Ever Since:
Rezko Offered Obama A Job When He Was A Harvard Law Student And The Two Have Stayed In Touch Ever Since. "One of them was Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who was offered a job by Rezko in the early 1990s while a top student at Harvard Law School. Obama did not take it, but over the years, the two men stayed in touch..." (Peter Slevin, "Obama Says He Regrets Land Deal With Fundraiser," The Washington Post, 12/17/06)
Rezko Was One Of Obama's Biggest Fundraisers, Raising $250,000 For His Campaigns:
Rezko Was "One Of The Biggest Fundraisers" For Obama. "'This was discussed a lot. They wanted to have a good showing,' said a source familiar with the fund-raiser [Rezko held for Obama], speaking on condition of anonymity. 'Tony was one of the biggest fund-raisers.'" (Chris Fusco and Tim Novak, "Rezko Cash Triple What Obama Says," Chicago Sun-Times, 6/18/07)
Obama Has Admitted To $250,000 Worth Of Campaign Funding Provided By Tony Rezko. "For the first time, Sen. Barack Obama put a figure Friday to the amount of campaign contributions that indicted political fund-raiser Tony Rezko raised for the senator's campaigns, and the number -- about $250,000 -- was far more than he previously acknowledged." (Tim Novak, Chris Fusco, Dave McKinney and Carol Marin, "More Rezko Dough Found," Chicago Sun-Times, 3/15/08)
Obama And Rezko's Socializing Included Their Wives And A Trip To Rezko's Lake House:
Obama And Rezko Socialized Over Lunch Or Breakfast And Discussed Politics And Family. Obama: "We'd [Obama and Rezko] continue to have lunches or breakfasts. We'd talk about politics. We'd talk about family." (Sen. Barack Obama, Interview With Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago, IL, 3/15/08)
Obama And Rezko Would Also Socialize With Their Wives Over Dinner. Obama: "In terms of other than lunch or breakfast he and I had, socially, Michelle and I probably had a couple of dinners, or two or three dinners with [Rezko] and his wife during the course of this six or seven or eight years." (Sen. Barack Obama, Interview With Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago, IL, 3/15/08)
The Obamas And Rezkos Took A Trip Together To Rezko's Home At Lake Geneva, WI. Obama: "[Barack And Michelle Obama] Visited their home in Lake Geneva once for the day." (Sen. Barack Obama, Interview With Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago, IL, 3/15/08)