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Obama Responds (Sort Of) to "Bitter" Controversy

As reported by Chris Cillizza of The Fix:

Anyone paying attention to the Democratic presidential race knew that once Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) began running television ads in Pennsylvania attacking Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) for comments he made to a group of donor last week, a response from the Illinois senator wasn't far behind.

The Obama campaign just released that response: an ad entitled "Represent."

Read The Fix for more >>

By Ed O'Keefe |  April 15, 2008; 5:13 PM ET Ad Watch , Barack Obama
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April 15, 2008
Obama was at Rezko house for party, witness testifies
Posted: 07:50 AM ET
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - In a moment sure to irritate the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama, the senator's name came up again in the trial of his one-time fund-raiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko. The testimony put Obama at Rezko's house for a party whose guest of honor was someone Obama has said he can't recall ever meeting.

Rezko is charged with influence-peddling and shakedowns in connection with Illinois state government. Obama is not charged with any wrongdoing.

Monday, as morning testimony was nearing the lunch break, Rezko's defense attorney, Joseph J. Duffy, was still plowing through his seventh day of cross-examining the government's star witness, Stuart Levine. Duffy, who has been methodically trying to establish instances in which Levine has lied to the government, asked Levine about a party held at Rezko's house in honor of an Iraqi-British businessman Nadhmi Auchi, who has been convicted of fraud in France -- where he is appealing his sentence -- and is suspected of doing business with Saddam Hussein when Hussein was ruling Iraq.


Duffy's questioning got into the area of top Illinois government officials being at the party, which took place on April 3, 2004.

"Mr. and Mrs. Obama were there?" Duffy asked. Levine answered yes. Duffy didn't ask again about the Obamas.

Ben Labolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, repeated the candidate's earlier denials of knowing Auchi.

"As he has said previously, Senator Obama does not recall meeting Nadhmi Auchi at any time or on any occasion, and this includes any event that may have been held for Mr. Auchi. Senator and Mrs. Obama have no recollection of attending any such event."

To be sure, after this much cross-examination, Levine, an admitted drug user, has acknowledged several memory lapses and has, according to The Associated Press, mentioned this party without mentioning Obama.

In addition to connecting Obama to Auchi, mention of Obama's name in the Rezko trial raises another headache for the Obama campaign because it allows critics to raise a "boneheaded mistake" Obama has admitted to: the purchase of a house and nearby plot of land with Rezko, at a time when Rezko was already under the federal scrutiny that resulted in this trial.

The 2004 party came shortly after Obama's upset win in the Democratic primary for the Illinois Senate seat.

The-CNN-Wire/Atlanta/+1-404-827-5872

From: CNN's Nick McGurk
Filed under: Barack Obama

Posted by: mel | April 15, 2008 5:28 PM

Steven said,

"What happened to the issues? What happened to the truth? To fact-checking? To context? Each time I hear Clinton claim to be a victim of "attacks," I am reminded that she started this game and seems determined to ignore real issues in order to play upon fears, to distort the truth and then make light of it, to exploit the media's irresponsibility in publishing before fact-checking, and to to pull words out of context and make them represent something that will incite fear, racism, or class war. She is shameless and a pure politician. Who do I want answering the phone at 3 AM? Someone who has actually read the intelligence reports; someone who will make a decision of principle rather than politics; someone whose first concern will be the good of the nation and the world and not how she'll look on the front page of the paper the next day; someone who understands that men and women under real fire are different than non-combatants. The greatest disrespect one can show a soldier is to pretend that you've faced the same dangers. I'm a democrat, but I've lost all respect for Clinton. She's probably singlehandedly lost the election for us all."

Posted by: Alexis | April 16, 2008 2:16 AM

What is this Rezko nonsense?

Another Clinton diversion for sure.

Tony Rezko is the tooth fairy if you want to compare him to the Clinton friends, Frank Giustra and Ron Burkle. Just google them to find out where the Clinton money is coming from.

The Cayman Island/ Clinton connection makes for some interesting reading, for sure- as does Bill's connection with uranium in Kazakhstan.

Senator Obama has done nothing wrong. He has never done a thing for Rezko- and you can't say that about the Clintons and their cronies. The Bill Clinton pardon of the felon millionaire Marc Rich says some of it. It's just the tip of the ice berg for those who really want to know.

Posted by: Alexis | April 16, 2008 2:23 AM

Why is Clinton trying to paint Obama as uppity? Talk about a racist strategy! Who has behaved the most elitist? What a joke to paint Obama as seemingly more elitist than herself. He earned what he has achieved, true grit.

Posted by: Steve Hoover | April 16, 2008 10:55 AM

Steve Hoover is doing what the Obama campaign has done all along. Trying to claim the things Clinton says as racist. The word "uppity" is Mr. Hoovers. Wonder where he learnt that.

Clinton used the word elitist. And the funny part about that is that it is neither racist nor terrible in many peoples minds. You can be elitist and be Black, white, Hispanic or Asian. No color or race barrier to being elitist.

Many people actually are proud of being elitist. The issue for a politician is that what happens when you tend to hang out with the elite is that you begin to think like them. You don't have to be born rich to be an elitist either.

The interesting part is that while most people would claim Hillary Clinton is also an elitist, she contrary to Obama has learnt to talk to people not at them or down to them. Obama often sounds like a preacher and talks at people. I don't know where Hillary learnt to communicate to the average American, maybe it is living in Arkansas for so long or maybe osmosis from Bill Clinton- but she does it well which is why she is getting the majority of Demcoratic votes in the primaries- Obama is winning more Independents and Republicans, but Hillary gets the seniors, Reagan Democrats and Hispanics which we will need in November to beat McCain.

If Obama can't convince people he can relate to them, and the bitter/cling to religion and guns statement and "I don't want my daughters punished with a baby" comments won't do it- then he will lose in November.

The Democrats need to win either Ohio or Florida to add to their column of Blue States. Clinton has the chance to win both of those and Arkansas as well. What the die hard Obamaites need to do is figure out what states he can win. It makes no difference if you win NY or IL by one vote or 100,000 you get the same electoral votes so reading the national polls means nothing. It is a state by state fight like it or not.

So Mr. Hoover turning everything the Clinton's say into a racist statement when it is not may help Barack Obama get more votes in Philadelphia and in NC but it will lose him the election in November becasue we are a racist country and African American voters don't make up enough of the total vote in any state to tip the balance. Mr. Hoover be careful what you attack Clinton for it may just backfire even if Obama is the Democratic candidate.

Posted by: peterdc | April 16, 2008 2:46 PM

The media, especially CNN, has been obsessed and critical with the massive numbers of black votes that Obama has been attracting, and yet no one has mentioned the unwavering jewish support Hillary clinton has been enjoying so far. It has been an acceptable fact that senator Obama won't be getting any endorsements from this particular ethnic group, simply because this senator happens to be running a campaign against the strangle hold of Washington politics by lobbyists, and special interest groups. To no surprise the Israeli-jewish lobby happens to be one of the strongest lobbyists in Washington.

Posted by: fuad bin sharman | April 20, 2008 5:40 AM

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