March 16, 2008


Rezko role bigger than admitted (KENNETH P. VOGEL | 3/14/08, Politico)

Obama's acknowledgment that Rezko raised as much as $250,000 for earlier campaigns, initially made in an interview with The Chicago Tribune and confirmed later to Politico, came after a year-and-a-half-long trickle of admissions about Rezko’s fundraising role and more than a month after Obama’s aides contended that they had identified and jettisoned all Rezko-linked cash. It also came as Rezko’s trial on corruption charges, underway in Chicago, brought increased scrutiny of Obama’s ties to the real estate developer, fast-food magnate and political insider.

Days ago, Politico asked the campaign for a detailed list of the $157,835 in Rezko-linked contributions it said it had donated to charity.

The campaign attributed only $85,185 of that to a list of specific donations from Rezko and 16 associates, declining to attribute the rest because it told Politico it didn’t want to subject other contributors “to any suspicion of wrongdoing or embarrassment.”

Story behind the story: Obama's pastor (MIKE ALLEN | 3/15/08, Politico)
[I]t revived conservative chatter about Obama’s patriotism that has been fueled by rumors he does not put his hand on his heart for the Pledge of Allegiance (false) and stopped wearing a flag lapel pin (true).

Wright has been the minister to Obama for more than 20 years and gave him the title of his second best-seller, “The Audacity of Hope.” Wright married Obama and his wife, Michelle, and baptized their two daughters.

Wright is pastor of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, which on its website calls itself “Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian,” and lists “a non-negotiable commitment to Africa” as part of its “10-point Vision.”

The minister’s controversial history has been written about countless times throughout the campaign. Wright has ties to the Rev. Louis Farrakhan, the black supremacist leader of the Nation of Islam — a fact that has been noted in more than 100 news stories just in the past few months, according to the Nexis database of news coverage.

Opponents of Obama have constantly pushed reporters to write about the minister, which these critics considered a ticking time bomb for his campaign.

On Feb. 20, after a fiery guest sermon by Wright in Little Rock, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette ran an article that said: “On Tuesday, Wright criticized the U.S. invasion of Iraq and likened the insurgents to the Israelites under Babylonian rule.”

Obama claims Iowa gains (Ben Smith, 3/16/08, Politico)
Iowa's county conventions were today, and they were expected to be the site of a scramble for supporters of Edwards and other candidates who left the race.

I've been getting e-mails all day from Iowans at conventions who say that the bulk of these free agents have broken Obama's way, and in a conference call with reporters, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said that Obama has gained at least five national delegates.

With three of the state's 45 delegates still unallocated, he said, Obama stands at 21, Clinton at 14. On caucus day, the numbers were Obama 16, Clinton 15.

Google Reader just happened to present these three stories consecutively.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 16, 2008 7:20 AM
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