August 21st, 2008
06:15 PM ET
14 years ago

GOP highlights Obama-Rezko land deal

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Obama purchased land from Chicago businessman Tony Rezko in order to enlarge the yard next to this house."]
(CNN) – It appears both presumptive presidential nominees have vulnerablilities when it comes to their homes.

Democrats and Sen. Barack Obama have pounced on Sen. John McCain’s inability in a recent interview to say definitely how many homes he owns with wife Cindy.

Now, Republicans are hitting back hard by highlighting a land deal between Obama and Tony Rezko, a Chicago businessman who was convicted in June on federal corruption charges.

The Republican National Committee launched a new Web site - – Thursday. The site focuses on Obama’s relationship with Rezko and collects information about the presumptive Democratic nominee’s ties to the disgraced businessman.

California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa also took the opportunity Friday to redirect attention away from McCain’s home ownership and onto Obama and his ties to Rezko. Suggesting that Obama had gotten a sweetheart deal in the transaction with Rezko, Issa said Obama received “a preferential Chicago-type deal.” Issa also told reporters on Capitol Hill that Obama had been the subject of “a near criminal investigation” and that there are doubts about whether the land deal with Rezko was legal.

Watch: Rep. Issa on Obama's land deal

In mid-2005, the Obamas and the Rezkos both closed transactions on adjoining pieces of property. The lot owned by the Rezkos was empty and the Obama land contained the Illinois senator’s newly purchased home. About six months later, Obama approached Rezko about buying a piece of the empty lot next to the Obamas’ property in order to enlarge the yard next to their home. The land deal occurred when it was widely known that Rezko was under investigation by federal authorities.

When news of the land deal surfaced in late 2006, Obama told the Chicago Sun-Times that he regretted not being more sensitive to how the land deal may have appeared. Obama has maintained that his conduct in the deal with legal and ethical and Rezko’s federal conviction was unrelated to the deal with Obama.

Raising questions about the nature and propriety of Obama’s relationship with Rezko was a strategy Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign employed during the primary battle against Obama.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (207 Responses)
  1. Blah, blah, blah

    There's no legal issues with Obama and Rezko – old news, old distraction tactic. Nice try rove. Mccain has a heck of a lot more skeletons in his closets. You pull rezko, and there's 5 other things you could nail mccain on – starting with keating 5. They got nothin'. And they sure can't debate the issues. These juvenile smear tactics by the mccain campaign really diminish his viability as a candidate. It appears he doesn't have the temperment for the job.

    August 21, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  2. I was born yesterday

    Yeah, that maverick, he's just a regular guy like me...

    August 21, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  3. Haven't we been here before?

    Deja vu ...George HW Bush – puzzled by the barcode scanner at the grocery store.

    August 21, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  4. Trang, Fremont, CA

    So what? Don't you want to get a house at a good deal? Do we have to check the background of everyone we buy things from?

    As far as Obama's attack on McCain can't remember how many houses he has ... what's the big deal? So what?

    I guess it is indeed silly season.

    August 21, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  5. Earnie

    WOW it really is a choice between the lesser of two evils again from all the comments on here. I'm going to vote for Obama. I think we might be able to survive him, and at least something good might come out of his time.

    John McCain, on the other hand scares me. I'm pretty sure the odds are that many of us wouldn't survive time with him. I see things getting really hard in the next decade. Unless we solve the energy crisis we are going to have more and more wars for oil and other carbon based fuels. I'm ready for some new blood. The same powers that be have been screwing things up for awhile.

    I'm sick of old leaders who are out of touch with me. Just from a generational standpoint I am voting with youth. Experience should be there but life, vibrancy, more open mindedness is what I want my leader to have. And most of all I want a leader many times smarter than I am because if he isn't and most of them haven't been, then why would I want you in that position.

    Obama recognized a good opportunity and took it. A legal one. That's the American Way. It's time for a change. Simply out with the old and in with the new. It's natural. It's time. It's evolution.

    I'm sick of fighting it.. Aren't you?

    August 21, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  6. brian

    Sounds like Obama did one anyone would do – took a good deal when one was available. Who here hasn't done something sketchy to save a few bucks. I think this makes him more normal than anything else he's done.

    August 22, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
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    September 17, 2011 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
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