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RUSH: Let’s move on to this Tony Rezko situation. Obama yesterday issued a statement saying: ‘This isn’t the Tony Rezko I knew.’ But Obama ‘knew Rezko as a close friend and an ally for over 20 years, as Rezko rose to become Illinois’s top political fixer.’ What Tony Rezko did Obama know if he didn’t know this guy? What Jeremiah Wright did Obama know? And of course we’re not allowed to talk about these guys. We’re not allowed to talk about Rezko. That’s the politics of distraction. We’ve gotta move on from that. Here’s the story. ”Tony Rezko Found Guilty on 16 Charges, Acquitted on 8′ — Tony Rezko — the high-flying developer and fast-food magnate who was once a major campaign fund-raiser for Gov. Blagojevich and Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama and one of the governor’s closest advisers — is now a convicted felon. A federal jury in Chicago convicted Rezko this afternoon on 16 of 24 charges he faced in a political corruption trial that cast a harsh light on the Blagojevich administration.’

Here are ‘8 Things You Need to Know’ About Obama and Tony Rezko; and these come from Tim Novak. ‘1. They met in 1990.’ It is 2008. How many years ago was that, Dawn, quick? It’s 18 or 19 years ago that they met. ‘Obama was a student at Harvard Law School and got an unsolicited job offer from Rezko, then a low-income housing developer in Chicago. Obama turned it down. 2. Obama took a job in 1993 with a small Chicago law firm… that represents developers — primarily not-for-profit groups — building low-income housing with government funds. 3. One of the firm’s not-for-profit clients … co-founded by Obama’s then-boss Allison Davis — was partners with Rezko’s company in a 1995 deal to convert an abandoned nursing home at 61st and Drexel into low-income apartments. Altogether, Obama spent 32 hours on the project, according to the firm. Only five hours of that came after Rezko and WPIC became partners, the firm says. The rest of the future senator’s time was helping [the firm] strike the deal with Rezko. Rezko’s company, Rezmar Corp., also partnered with the firm’s clients in four later deals — none of which involved Obama, according to the firm. …

‘4. In 1995, Obama began campaigning for a seat in the Illinois Senate. Among his earliest supporters: Rezko. Two Rezko companies donated a total of $2,000. Obama was elected in 1996 — representing a district that included 11 of Rezko’s 30 low-income housing projects. 5. Rezko’s low-income housing empire began crumbling in 2001, when his company stopped making mortgage payments on the old nursing home that had been converted into apartments. The state foreclosed on the building — which was in Obama’s Illinois Senate district. 6. In 2003, Obama announced he was running for the U.S. Senate, and Rezko … held a lavish fund-raiser June 27, 2003, at his Wilmette mansion. 7. A few months after Obama became a US senator, he and Rezko’s wife, Rita, bought adjacent pieces of property from a doctor in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood — a deal that has dogged Obama the last two years. The doctor sold the mansion to Obama for $1.65 million — $300,000 below the asking price. Rezko’s wife paid full price — $625,000 — for the adjacent vacant lot.

‘The deals closed in June 2005. Six months later, Obama paid Rezko’s wife $104,500 for a strip of her land, so he could have a bigger yard. At the time, it had been widely reported that Tony Rezko was under federal investigation. Questioned later about the timing of the Rezko deal, Obama called it ‘boneheaded’ because people might think the Rezkos had done him a favor. 8. Eight months later — in October 2006 — Rezko was indicted on charges he solicited kickbacks from companies seeking state pension business under his friend Gov. Blagojevich. Federal prosecutors maintain that $10,000 from the alleged kickback scheme was donated to Obama’s run for the US Senate. Obama has given the money to charity,’ and it will probably end up paying for a party at the Democrat National Convention. So what do we have here? Among Obama’s most intimate spiritual mentors and closest friends are Jeremiah Wright, Michael Pfleger, now Tony Rezko. He’s known each of them for more than 15 years. The Power Line blog guys put this together very well.

‘Over the past few weeks, Obama has made public statements suggesting that over the years he failed to discern the offensive qualities that have made them notorious. He somehow really didn’t know them very well.’ These are not the people he knew. This is not the Jeremiah Wright I knew. This is not the Michael Pfleger I knew. ‘This is not the Tony Rezko that I knew.’ He said, ‘I’m saddened by today’s verdict,’ said Obama. ‘This isn’t the Tony Rezko I knew, but now he’s been convicted by a jury on multiple charges that once again shine the spotlight on the need for reform.’ Reform of what? This is exactly what Bill Clinton said when it was learned that the ChiComs were sending money to his reelection bid in 1996: ‘We need reform, campaign reform!’ Guess who heard him? (laughing) Our old buddy John McCain — and, voila! We’re off and running on the whole notion of campaign finance reform. The Drive-By Media’s saying that this is no big deal. We have a little montage here of Drive-Bys taking great pains to report the Rezko verdict with the disclaimer: ‘They had nothing, nothing, nothing, no connection — not even a hint of connection — to Obama.’ Remember Ken Lay and Jack Abramoff? They never bought houses for George W. Bush, but they were front-page news for weeks and portrayed as huge Bush scandals, and of course the Drive-Bys say, ‘Ah, nah-nah-nah.’ Here, listen to the montage.

SHUSTER: The Tony Rezko corruption trial, this was about corruption charges unrelated to Barack Obama.

COSTELLO: Barack Obama long ago purchased some land from Tony Rezko. He has since dissociated himself from Tony Rezko.

GIBSON: Tony Rezko was found guilty. Obama was not implicated in any wrongdoing.

COURIC: Obama was not connected to the case.

IFILL: Obama has said he was unaware of any wrongdoing by Rezko.

WILLIAMS: Rezko raised money for Obama, but neither was accused of any wrongdoing in this.

HUME: Obama’s name came up only rarely during the trial, and he was not accused of any wrongdoing.

RUSH: Of course, we could say the same thing about Tom DeLay. We could say the same thing about any number of Republicans who were ‘guilty by association’ with Jack Abramoff — and you know how long that story went on and on. So the Drive-Bys are in full cover-up mode here, which means that Obama’s character is off limits; just like Bill Clinton’s was, just as the character of any liberal running for high office will be off limits. Again, I remind you of the words of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, ‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.’ Well, this is not progress, because we are not talking about Obama’s character. We cannot talk about it. We are not allowed to talk about it. It is off limits; it is not permitted. We can talk about his race, however. I wonder what Dr. King would think.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I was listening to Obama’s speech at AIPAC yesterday. You know, a year or so ago, as a United States Senator, Barack Obama voted against listing the Iranian Guard as a terrorist organization. Then he goes to AIPAC and announces they should be listed as a terrorist group. The Drive-Bys all but ignore this. This guy, Obama, he lies repeatedly about his friends, he lies about his lies, he lies about his stances on issues. He’s Bill Clinton. In fact, he’s Clinton and Carter. He is Bill Clinton and Carter rolled up into one candidate. Clinton-speak, Carter policy. You’ve got Tony Rezko, and now John Kerry and Chuck Hagel want to talk to Syria. It’s in the Wall Street Journal today. Culture of corruption, Tony Rezko, Obama, culture of corruption, or was that only applicable during the last election cycle against the Republicans? ‘Yeah, yeah, there’s no culture of corruption in the Democrat Party, Democrats cannot be corrupt by definition, because we have no standards. We can do whatever we want. We never said that what we do is right or wrong or whatever we do is good because we’re Democrats.’

So you got Obama running around complaining about lobbyists on McCain’s campaign, and we have this little Rezko matter, a good friend of his who helped finance his campaigns and personal life, and that’s just sort of ho-hum, doesn’t matter, no big deal. But law-abiding lobbyists are worse than a convicted felon? We can’t let the media and Obama get away with this. This is sickening, folks. Obama’s out there, he’s making a big push to say that the DNC will no longer take lobbyists and PAC money. ‘In his first order of business as his party’s presumed presidential nominee, Barack Obama is instructing the Democratic National Committee to adopt his policy against accepting donations from federal lobbyists or political action committees. The change will make the party and the candidate have a consistent position. Obama often says banning the donations is one way to help keep him free of the influence of Washington insiders.’ So he’s running around complaining about all these lobbyists that are on McCain’s campaign, yet he’s got his little Rezko matter. Nobody accuses these lobbyists of breaking the law. Obama’s lobbyist broke the law and was just convicted. But none of these other lobbyists that he wants to ban and get rid of have been convicted. So these law-abiding lobbyists are worse than a convicted felon that supports Obama?

Anyway, this is just more of the redefinition of politics as Obama wants it in order keep himself covered. If we kill all the lobbyists — and I know people hate lobbyists, they hate the so-called special interests, but let’s just play a little game here. If we kill all the lobbyists, then what? How will that make government better? For example, are the environmentalist wackos considered lobbyists? Damn straight they are. They lobby Congress all the time. What about La Raza? Are they lobbyists? Damn right they are. And they lobby Congress all the time. Isn’t what Obama — and even McCain — saying is that they want to eliminate the ability of businesses, corporate lobbyists to influence Congress, but liberal groups and liberal causes are free to lobby because, well, they’re acting in the public interest, the environmentalists are in the public interest. The environmentalist wacko lobby, no, they’re not, they are interested in destroying capitalism and attacking corporations. But now according to Obama, corporations aren’t gonna be allowed to lobby. They are a special interest. But liberal groups, they’re not going to come under any kind of ban ’cause they’re good people and they’re acting in the public interest.

I’ll tell you what, when you start killing all the lobbyists be careful because it’s just another ruse to put representative government off limits to those who actually produce things and pay taxes. The best reform, I say this to McCain, I say it to Obama, I say it to you, the best reform is to cut the damn government, and then there’s less to lobby. But neither candidate seems much interested in that, especially not Obama, the candidate of change.

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