Gerber Baby For President

Compare Tim Russert's babyfood questioning of Obama on Rezko to Russert's hardball with Giuliani on Bernard Kerik on 'Meet the Press':

MR. RUSSERT: Tony Rezko, who is he?

SEN. OBAMA: He is a developer in Illinois. He was a friend of mine for, for over 10 years. He was, he was a supporter of Democrats and Republicans back in Illinois. He was indicted recently for issues completely unrelated to me, but obviously it’s a source of concern because he’s not only a friend but also a supporter of my campaign.

(Right off the bat, Russert lets Obama frame the issue.)

MR. RUSSERT: Another issue where your judgment has been questioned, Bernard Kerik, your police commissioner. Here’s how the Daily News reported it: “Bernard Kerik lied, schemed and sold out the city—all under the nose of his mentor and pal, presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani."

(Russert frames the issue: Giuliani's judgment. He doesn't let Giuliani frame Kerik. Russert tells us who Kerik is):

"That is the stark portrait painted in the 16-count indictment unsealed in Federal Court. The indictment charges Kerik with conspiracy, tax fraud, making false statements.”

Russert quotes the Daily News on Kerik. Why not quote the New York Times, which referred to Rezko as a 'collector of politicians' in June, 2007?

With Giuliani, we hear the specifics of the Kerik indictment. Nowhere in the Obama interview do we hear just what Rezko was indicted for. When Giuliani tries to limit the discussion to his years as mayor (implying it's old news), Russert won't let him get away:

MR. RUSSERT: But that was for policeman commissioner. When you recommended to the president of the United States in 2004 that Bernard Kerik be the secretary of homeland security...

As to any ongoing relationship Obama and Rezko:

MR. RUSSERT: Is he still your friend?

SEN. OBAMA: You know, I have not talked to him since he got into trouble with the law.

MR. RUSSERT: Period.

Russert actually puts his own exclamation point on Obama's statement! (He also passively accepts Obama's frame of Rezko as just his 'friend.' What's wrong with friendship, after all?) But the question isn't whether Obama the Presidential candidate is 'still friends' with an indicted slumlord. The question is what contact they had when Obama was in the legislature.

Imagine if he had asked Giuliani "is Kerik still your business associate?", to which Giuliani answered "no, I severed all ties after he was indicted and I announced for the Presidency," and Russert said, 'okay, it's not an issue then. Why are we talking about this?"

Nowhere in the Obama interview does Russert ask about or mention that 'developer' Rezko was a slumlord who profited from government subsidies. He doesn't ask Obama how Rezko became his 'friend.' He doesn't ask about any contact between Obama and Rezko when Obama was in the state legislature, or relations between Obama's law firm and Rezko. Nor does he tie in Rezko to their earlier discussion of Obama's distinction between taking money from state and federal lobbyists.

On the Obama-Rezko land transaction:

MR. RUSSERT: ...and that he was always there to be very helpful to you at certain times. And when you bought property adjacent to each other, you bought land from him to expand your backyard.

(Oh, he was 'always there for you.' (What is this, a Lionel Ritchie song?) Can you believe the language Russert uses? They were just 'friends', grilling hot dogs in Obama's 'backyard'. He was 'very helpful.' He was 'always there.'

OBAMA: "This was a above-the-board market-based transaction."

(Russert doesn't follow up on the favorable terms of the 'market-based transaction.')

If you want some competent journalism on who Tony Rezko is, it's here at Taylor Marsh.


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