Has anyone ever said this about a Clinton?
March 17, 2008 6 Comments
For all the talk about the media being easy on Barack Obama, there is one paper that is not in awe of his celebrity because they knew him back in the day: The Chicago Tribune.
One of the big issues the Chicago Tribune has been all over is Obama’s history with Tony Rezko, a businessman who has been indicted on a number of charges. The Tribune, which did endorse Obama over Hillary Clinton despite their discomfort with the Rezko thing, has repeatedly asked for further explanation and clarification on their relationship.
On Friday, Obama sat down with a whole heaping gaggle o’ reporters and spent an hour and a half explaining the whole situation. Here’s what the Tribune had to say:
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.
Three dozen journalists, all focused on a single issue for 92 minutes. My lord. Can you imagine Hillary Clinton hosting something like this and making a similar pledge?
Neither could the Tribune, finishing the piece with this:
Barack Obama now has spoken about his ties to Tony Rezko in uncommon detail. That’s a standard for candor by which other presidential candidates facing serious inquiries now can be judged.
A new type of politics indeed. But what was the outcome of the discussion? In a word, they seem satisfied:
To be precise about that: Obama contends that all of his Rezko-related transactions were lawful and above reproach, but he didn’t keep a prudent distance from Rezko….
Obama fleshed out his relationship with Rezko — including 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….
And we’ve been saying since Nov. 3, 2006 — shortly after the Tribune broke the story of Obama’s house purchase — that Obama needed to fully explain his Rezko connection. He also needed to realize how susceptible he had been to someone who wanted a piece of him — and how his skill at recognizing that covetousness needed to rise to the same stature as his popular appeal.
Friday’s session evidently fulfills both obligations. Might we all be surprised by some future disclosure? Obama’s critics have waited 16 months for some new and cataclysmic Rezko moment to implicate and doom Obama. It hasn’t happened.
The only way this hurts Obama is that his campaign has based a lot on his judgment, his ability to make the right call when it matters and this is the first real chink in that armor. As Obama said himself:
[The] “bigger lapse of judgment,” he said, came later when he bought a strip of the Rezko lot to expand his own yard. That embroiled the two men in negotiations over fencing and other issues at a time when Rezko was under increasing suspicion. That involvement with Rezko in the land deal, Obama said Friday, was the “boneheaded move” to which he’s previously confessed. “In retrospect,” he said Friday, “this was an error.” […]
Obama should have had Friday’s discussion 16 months ago. Asked why he didn’t, he spoke of learning, uncomfortably, what it’s like to live in a fishbowl. That made him perhaps too eager to protect personal information — too eager to “control the narrative.”
But then again, these seem like judgments about people that were wrong, but not the type of commander-in-chief judgments most voters are concerned with.
You can bet this won’t go away because this was not a front page type story, especially this week, and Hillary Clinton still won’t even disavow rumors about Obama’s religion. You can bet she and that screwhead beast Mark Penn will keep trying to hit on this for as long as they can fool people into thinking they are still in the is race.