From the Chicago Sun Times, More Rezko Dough Found:
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.
"We believe we have identified all money that is traceable. ... It's hard for me to know precisely. I don't have the capacity to go back and figure out who did he raise money from. There might be additional dollars,'' Obama told the Chicago Sun-Times in an 80-minute interview that focused on his 17-year relationship with Rezko, who has become a lingering issue as Obama seeks the Democratic nomination for president.
Obama's estimate exceeded his campaign staff's previous estimates of Rezko's fund-raising during Obama's 12 years in politics. In November 2006, Obama's staff estimated Rezko raised $50,000 to $60,000 over the senator's career. In the last year, Obama's campaign fund has given charities more than $157,600 in donations it linked to Rezko, his family, friends and business associates.
Quite a gap between $250,000 and $60,000. Obama says of his friendship with Rezko:
"It's further evidence that I'm not perfect.''
Nobody's perfect. Those of us not in politics and not running for President of the United States are not subject to the scrutiny given to those who are. It goes with the territory. Obama's choice of friends and mentors, added to his mighty slim resume, certainly calls into question his fitness for the job he is seeking. It is unfortunate Obama's background wasn't scrutinized more thoroughly before he became the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. Of course Hillary Clinton's background is well known and she's right behind him so I wonder if it would have made a difference. Is this the best we can do?
What is the one word most associated with Obama up until now, after all - the one so associated with the man as to have become a running joke? Change! That word has served as the entire rationale for the man's run for the presidency, has it not?
So, what did this great agent of change do when confronted with the usual slime of Chicago politics? Did he stand up boldly and work for change? Or did he simply go along, playing the system for his own benefit like so many uninspiring and ultimately disappointing politicians before him? The answer should be obvious to any objective observer now.
It may be a little too late for Democratic voters to objectively observe, assuming they would anyway. As for Obama himself, it's hard, if not impossible, to put the toothpaste back into the tube. What's done is done? Obama's hoping it can be undone:
Obama said that he "hoped" the interview "would quell the lingering controversy over his relationship with Rezko" and said that "voters concerned about his judgment should view it as 'a mistake in not seeing the potential conflicts of interest'," Jackson wrote. "Obama also said for the first time that his private real estate transactions with Rezko involved repeated lapses of judgment. The mistake, Obama said, was not simply that Rezko was under grand jury investigation at the time of their 2005 and 2006 dealings. 'The mistake was he had been a contributor and somebody involved in politics,' he said.
I'm not convinced. There is more to this story.