August 21st, 2008
06:15 PM ET
13 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. Phil Newton Murphy, Oregon

    This article perpetuates a McCain lie that there was impropriety in that deal. It was, as Obama stated, "Bone-headed."

    But he was cleared of any wrongdoing, and we all know it, including McCain (how many houses?) McCain.

    August 21, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  2. AUC

    One house vs. four or more. You do the math. Who cares... old news!!

    Obama 08

    August 21, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  3. bern

    How many houses John? If he can't remember how may houses he has, do you seriously think he gives a rat's rear end about regular folks?

    August 21, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  4. NVH

    just think what they would be slinging about hillary if SHE was the nominee. if they had some REAL stuff on obama they would be using it. and i'm sure they been looking in his trash and everywhere else trying to find SOMETHING this issue with his house has already been discussed and if he had done something wrong believe me he would NOT have gotten this far in this election process. I'm more concerned about an hot tempered old man out of touch with reality running the country than i am about obama getting a good deal on his house.

    August 21, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  5. Cecil

    McRichie Rich
    How Can Someone Run For President, and Not Know How Many Homes They Own.

    Plus Why Didn't He Say I'll Have To Ask My Wife.

    My "Staff" I Find This So Weird!

    He Is So OUT OF TOUCH!

    August 21, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  6. Obama, what Are You Prepared To Do?

    Barack ...

    You're Kevin Costner (Ness) and he's Robert DiNero (Capone).

    If he brings a knife .... you bring a gun.

    If he puts one of your's in the hospital ... you put one of his in the morgue.

    What ever it takes .... get him.

    Cush his trachea ... metaphorically speaking of course all the way through November 4th ...

    August 21, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  7. Jan Il.

    If Tony Rezko said that he had no dealings with Obama , Then it Must be true. " Dont eat that Grandma ,That's not chocolate".

    August 21, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  8. Truth

    McCain's record on Hurricane Katrina suggests that he was part of the problem, not the solution. McCain was on Face the Nation on August 28, 2005, as Katrina gathered in the Gulf Coast. He said nothing about it. One day later, when Katrina made landfall in Louisiana, McCain was on a tarmac at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, greeting President Bush with a cake in celebration of McCain's 69th birthday. Three days later, with the levees already breached and New Orleans filling with water, McCain's office released a three-sentence statement urging Americans to support the victims of the hurricane. Though McCain issued a statement the next week calling on Congress to make sacrifices in order to fund recovery efforts, he was quoted in The New Leader on September 1 cautioning against over-spending in support of Katrina's victims. "We also have to be concerned about future generations of Americans," he said. "We're going to end up with the highest deficit, probably, in the history of this country."That attitude was borne out in McCain's actions and votes. Forty Senators and 100 members of Congress visited New Orleans before he did; he finally got there in March 2006.

    August 21, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  9. judy, Wisconsin

    This thin story about Obama's (one) house is so benign when compared to McCain 7 or so houses and the fact he couldn't remember or was unaware of the number.
    They should hit McCain hard on this and his answer to the question about the draft. (To all parents, hug your children before they are drafted under McCain.)

    August 21, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  10. Ron

    The question is How many missions did he fly before being shot down. There were alot of HEROS in trenches and rice fields pulling 2 and 3 tours. This is not by any means a qualifacation to be president hell the last to were having a party in college during Veitman.

    August 21, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  11. Bob

    Wow the right cant find anything new so they dig up a dead horse and beat it some more. Losers!!

    August 21, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  12. Kimy

    Mc CROOK = Keating 5 scandal, Abrahmoff Crooked Lobbyist, Cindy's family Mafia connections. Etc Etc.

    August 21, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  13. McCain...whats in your closet?

    1.3 million from big oil? dump your wife to marry the rich YOUNG mistress? sell your position on off shore drilling? bringing back the DRAFT?
    i think Mccain is having another senior moment, boy is confused again...Keating 5, shady deals with Lowell Paxson, late nights with Vicki Isman, and McCain is trying to use a FAILED Clinton this what he means when he claims to know how to win a war?
    pretty pathetic Johnny

    August 21, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  14. mike

    McCain should know a thing or two about political favors to convicted felons

    August 21, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  15. proud army and navy mom

    HAHAHA..............The crook Hussein and his bestfriend Rezko are coming to roost. Now we need commercials on Wrigt, Flager Ayers and the rest of the shady dealings

    August 21, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  16. Luniam

    "Obama is not worried… they have NOTHING on him… because there is nothing illegal"

    Displaying such partisan zeal, you may not realize that you are probably doing more harm than good to Obama's campaign. Yes, there was nothing illegal about the land deal, but it surely reflects poorly on Obama's judgement in choosing a property dealer who was a known fraudster at the time. Obama, being a person with considerable power (and knowledge) in Chicago, should have known more of Rezko's checkered background and could have avoided doing business with him.

    So, there was no lapse of ethics or legality on Obama's part in doing business with a known crook, in my opinion, but it surely was a case of mis-judgement and callousness which I hope will not be repeated during his presidency. Admitting this much in a CNN blog (which in any case is frequented by a handful of partisan political junkies) should not affect Obama's presidential campaign a bit.

    Get a life, junkies.

    Obama/JoBi 08.

    August 21, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  17. gail


    OBAMA/BYAH 08!

    August 21, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  18. Len in Washington

    This is getting old. There were NO charges of any kind following the full investigation. The Repubs think this will draw attention away from McCains personal wealth situation and how he relates to "the average Joe."

    I'll bet we won't hear that phrase again!

    Nice cigar!

    August 21, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  19. Barbara - NC

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    McCain's campaign hq in denver received a shipment of nose candy for botox barbie and called in the feds – ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    McCain's campaign begins the fear-mongering way earlier than Bush did.

    Hmmmm – he must be more desparate than bushie

    August 21, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  20. J.D.

    Shouldn't everyone know how many homes they own? Maybe McCain is not an elitist, maybe he is just plain senile! Either way, he is too old and out of touch with reality to lead. He should spend his waning years learning how to use a computer and get on the internet... oh wait... I forgot, he has his staff to do that for him, just like he has them to keep track of the number of houses he owns. Pathetic.

    August 21, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  21. Copperfield

    OBAMA and HILLARY share 95% of their views.

    MCCAIN and BUSH share 95% of their views.

    A president for the people or a president for the few.

    August 21, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  22. An Independent who's tired of pathetic Obamabots

    I absolutely love it. So many of you are drowning in the Kool Aid of your infatuation with "the promised one", that you go ballistic anytime anyone brings up his past...or his complete lack of experience...or his repeated horrible judgment....

    Obama didn't cut ties to Rezco until he started getting hammered on the issue by Hillary. In fact, Obama wouldn't even be a US Senator if it hadn't been for all the money Rezco donated and brought in for him.

    Obama attended the controversial sermons of Jeremiah Wright for 20 years, professed his love and admiration for the man, and then threw him completely under the bus once people exposed Wright's hateful sermons. Now that's character!

    Obama is anything but change. He is the epitome of rough and tumble, backroom deals, Chicago style politics. Perhaps even worse, he's an absolute hypocrite about it.

    He whines that McCain uses "negative ads", and yet how many attack ads has Obama run this week?

    He whines about McCain's energy ideas, and yet Obama voted for the exact same bills he derides McCain for.

    What a joke!!!

    I'm no McCain fan, but Obama scares the hell out of me. He is a Marxist and a Globalist through and through. Say goodbye to your sovereignty!

    August 21, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  23. kayla

    for somebody to question if obama is american. what about gator hands who was born in panama. (HE IS PANAMANIAN). if it was sen obama. that was born there. the REPUGBLICANS. would have made a circus out of that. even questioning if he should run for u.s president. but since it's mcold. it is okay. bunch of idiots.

    August 21, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  24. nick

    So don't most people who have kids want bigger yards for the kids to play in? The courts proved the deal had nothing to do with Obama so this is irrevelant. 7 words: K-E-A-T-I-N-G

    August 21, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  25. terri ohio

    His house is in his name not his wifes name,,, MCwar you dirty dirty old man

    August 21, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
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