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. go away mongers- Ventura ca

    Well OF COURSE they would..........and speaking of relating to Americans regarding the economy--how many houses does mcsame own?
    If they would spend less energy on trying to bring up smears- and worked harder on understanding what America NEEDS- they just might get somewhere–but it's the same old song for the Greedy Oil People----throw insinuations and innuendo and to hell with the Country.

    August 21, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  2. race1840

    Good Luck trying to get that horse to run.

    August 21, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  3. Deb n Texas


    August 21, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  4. sety

    It is a shame that McCain camp is using this as their message. Those of you who are so bitter to vote against Obama, if you like vote for McCain, you will have yourselves to blame for voting the last administration back to power. Senator Obama will still have a decent living with his wife and children. You all against Obama will be the losers for not voting for Obama.

    August 21, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  5. SAGG

    Get real. This is old news. The grand jury said Rezko had no connections to Obama. Period. Got to hand it to the McCainiacs for responding so quickly to try and desperately cover up McCain's not knowing how many houses he (and Cindy) have, though. The kitchen sink's a-flyin', and Obama's finally throwing some of his own...

    August 21, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  6. crs

    OK, let's see...

    A buyer purchases a house for the purchase price of the house. Where is the crime?

    I purchased a house below the market price because the prior contract fell through and the seller wanted out of the house immediately because they had already signed a contract on another house.

    A seller is NEVER obligated to sell their house!! If they don't like the buyer's price, they can reject the contract!! The person sold the house to Obama because they wanted to!

    This is all getting a bit insane! They can't find crap on this guy! He's clean! Leave it alone!

    August 21, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  7. so what

    I don't understand whats so bad about buying land...

    So what if some guy Obama bought land from was a felon oh no

    Obama didn't think people would make a big deal of it because he probably thought people would be sensible but nope if you know someone's brothers uncles mothers fathers sister than you are connected to them and everything they do is also your fault.... come on seriously america WAKE UP

    August 21, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  8. Seanm

    What a surprise, the Republicans lying and smearing. Never thought I'd see the day... The Republicans can't win on ideas, so they try and win through attacks. Hopefully the American people don't swallow the Republican lies this year!

    August 21, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  9. Weepy

    What an UGLY home. Looks like Obama got a bad deal. What is wrong with an American owning 4 or 7 homes?

    August 21, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  10. SAGG

    Marilyn August 21st, 2008 7:02 pm ET

    If Obama wants to make a big deal out of McCain's houses, then I say let him have it right back. I'd rather have a guy who owns several houses than one who got his in a shady manner.

    Willful ignorance here, pure and simple. McCain's out of touch, sweetheart. Obama ain't the elitist, it's McCain. Lesson: Know your houses...

    August 21, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  11. joshua

    if hillary is not vp i vote 4 mcain

    August 21, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  12. George

    John McCain is bad for America. His has a low IQ and he is out of touch with reality, partly due to age.

    The other day, he couldn't define what it means to be rich, and most of his responses to serious questions were his one line campaign rhetoric.
    He's been in Washington too long to make any difference, even if he wanted to.
    After 8 years of GW making the US a laughing stock, It will be a sad day the day America elects John McCain

    August 21, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  13. Steve

    The Clintons and ABC tried to make this argument didn't. Now McCain is using it in a desperate attempt to distract and mislead voters...we certainly wouldn't expect any less of him.

    But I would love to know, given that this case has been thoroughly investigated to no avail and Barack Obama has proven himself to be a very talented, proactive, thoughtful presidential candidate...who in their right mind is eating up the notion that he would have pursued a questionable real estate transaction one year after his infamous speech at the Dem Convention when he was well on his way to pursuing the presidential nomination all for the sake of adding a few hundred square feet to his property at a negligible discount??? Most of us don't have presidential aspirations and yet wouldn't risk getting involved in something shady like that, this man has a greater intellect than many politicians combined and still our tabloid-news society believes he would engage in stupidity to that degree? Unlikely...please move on to some real news.

    August 21, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  14. Ken

    I could lay money on it that Obama's deal on his house and the extra property with Rezko is truly questionable.

    It is like what Stevens from Alaska had done to his home. Any blind person can see what happened. If anybody thinks different, then they are some of the blind people that are following the "Pied Piper" Obama.

    August 21, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  15. willy

    We don't hear the liberal loving media woofing about this drug deal. Oh yeah it's ok, it was for a democrap.

    August 21, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  16. SAGG

    Silence Dogood August 21st, 2008 7:02 pm ET

    It is about time that Obama's past and shady friends are not off limits in the press.

    One day the media is in love with you – the next day, they smell blood and all the whining and race cards in the world won't help. Like Obama's lobbyists knocking at the door, pay back will be tough.
    "We're on top, and we ain't gonna give up the momentum!" Yeah, you just telling yourself that. Now it's YOUR candidate's turn to play defense mode, jack. McCain isn't like us. He's playing you and his supporters for fools. HE'S the elitist. "I'm John McCain. I have several cars, mansions, (I don't know how many), and several yachts..."

    August 21, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  17. Mauri

    Right now is the worst part of the every four year presidential election. This is where they're throwing silling charges at each other, like anybody cares how many houses the McCains own, or how much Obama's mansion cost. What we really care about is which one of these candidates has the experience to lead this great nation of ours. It's believable that people have come to admire Obama, his life story, and his speech-writing and delivery abilities. At the same time, there are those of us who have kept up with and admire McCain's history of service to his country and his actions as a senator. As a Democrat and supporter of Hillary Clinton, I will now proudly vote for John McCain, not because of any doubt about Obama personally, but because McCain has the experience to make important decisions as a leader, and Obama does not. Depending on how Obama conducts himself over the next few years, he will have my unequivocal support. But not yet.

    August 21, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  18. SAGG

    Obama the idiot August 21st, 2008 7:41 pm ET

    I bet McCain knows how many states there are. Obama is probably still counting on his fingers!!!!!

    BRILLIANT comeback, Sherlock...

    August 21, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  19. Bill

    Wow, a lot of you (and I mean a LOT) must be really out of it. Nothing on Obama? Are you kidding me? There's just as much on him as on McCain, and I can guarantee you that pretty much ALL of it on Obama ties back to Chicago Politics. You haven't seen anything the novelty continues to wear off and more and more on Obama comes out,'ll see. But you're already seeing the trend, and it's going to continue....oh WAIT, so many of you said, McCain can't talk can he? Nor can he debate! So of course Obama will DESTROY him right? Actually, I think we'll continue to see that Obama is a phenomenal speaker when he has a script in front of him, but he is less than impressive when he has to deviate from "the message". What does that make him, by the way???

    August 21, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  20. FACT CHECK!!!!

    Good Try Steve Schmidt incharge of day to day Message for McAttack
    And a Longtime Protege of KARL ROVE ....NO substance this will not stick Hillary tried during the Primary ...Advise McAttack to Stop using POW status as A Political Tool ......Remember KEATING 5.... tell the Old White Haired Wrinkly Dude how many Houses he own

    August 21, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |

    If having a rich wife disqualifies you for POTUS (as most Obamabots are rudely complaining about McCain), then why in the world did the DNC ever allow John Kerry (Mr. Heinz) to run for office?

    August 21, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  22. Just a Mom

    I used to live in Arizona and I remember well the Keating Five Scandal and the whitewash that followed. More than twenty-thousand people lost their life savings due to the fraud committed by Sen. McCain's friend and donor Charles Keating,. And, it cost us ordinary American taxpayers a few billion dollars to bailout Lincoln Savings and Loans. Somehow this so-called "sweetheart deal" of Sen. Obama's pales in comparison.

    August 21, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  23. Reality check #1

    Stupid is stupid does, Obama again opened the door for his own attack. Does he really think we have forgotten Rezko, Ayers, Auchi, Wright, and his many years of close relationships with these characters? Fat chance of that!

    August 21, 2008 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  24. Charlotte

    If a politician isn't rich when he starts in politics he soon will be.

    August 21, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  25. Lynn

    Shame on Obama!!! Obama should be in jail with his friend Rezko. What's the big deal about McCain 8 home's ??? Seriously give me a break!! See what a leader can do folks, maybe one day if you work hard you will own a home too boys and girls!! Get your mind off the drugs and get a job. Obama is a joke!! Don't take drugs like Obama boys and girls it will fry your bains, just like Obama's brain.

    August 21, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
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