Obama Advisor Says He Answered Rezko Questions
Update: Reporters quizzed Obama about Rezko today in Texas.
Chicago Sun Times reporter Lynne Sweet disagrees with Obama advisor David Axelrod that Obama answered the media's questions about Tony Rezko. In addition to her own experiences, she points to this April 27, 2007 news clip.
Sweet writes today:
For more than a year, that has been a pretty small group of investigative journalists—from the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune. I checked with the Sun-Times reporters before I wrote my column and rechecked again. They all said they have never had a chance to discuss Rezko with Obama.
There have been two times where Obama took questions on Rezko reporters—in Waukegan, Ill. in November, 2005 (transcript is reposted below) or LINK where none of the investigative reporters were present because Obama commented after a political event
Here is David Axelrod yesterday on George Stephanopolous' This Week (ABC) (video here):
STEPHANOPOULOS: Before you go there, David, let me just follow up on one point, because Lynn Sweet writes in the Chicago Sun-Times, I believe it was yesterday, that in fact Senator Obama has not sat down with the Chicago reporters who are most familiar with the Rezko case. Is he willing to do that, or is Ms. Sweet wrong, in your opinion?
AXELROD: I think she is wrong. We've talked to reporters from -- and he's talked to reporters from both papers several times in several sessions about this, and each time the conclusion is the same: There's no evidence of any wrongdoing related to Mr. Rezko.
Sweet gives plenty of examples to the contrary on Obama's refusal to speak with reporters. And yes, no one is saying Obama did anything wrong. But he didn't answer all their questions, avoided them on many occasions and only discussed the matter a few times.
As to the what Hillary's campaign is seeking (from the transcript which I received yesterday by e-mail from ABC News's This Week):
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... the Obama campaign has not answered about Tony Rezko. You have David Axelrod right here. What are the questions they need to answer?
WOLFSON: Well, I can't imagine he's going to answer them, but I wish that he would, and I think Democrats hope that he will. For instance, how many fund-raisers did Mr. Rezko throw for Senator Obama? What did Senator Obama do for Mr. Rezko? Did he write letters for him? What projects of his did he support?
How many business meetings did he attend where Mr. Rezko had business associates there? What are the -- one more important one -- what are the full details of this very unusual real estate transaction that Mr. Rezko and Mr. Obama entered into?
What I would suggest to my friend, David, and he is my friend, they should put out all of the information regarding that real estate
transaction -- all of the e-mails, all of the correspondence, all of the letters, every single piece of information -- so that the public
can really look at this and say, what's going on here?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, let's give him a chance to answer some of those questions now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How many fund-raisers, what kind of quid pro quos were there, what did Senator Obama do, were there business meetings, and the full details of the real estate transactions?
AXELROD: George, there have been 255 stories done on this issue, many by the Chicago media, others by the national media. All these questions have been asked. All these questions have been answered.
WOLFSON: Well, then answer them today, David.
AXELROD: And there is not -- wait a second, just one second, Howard.
WOLFSON: Fair enough.
AXELROD: There has not been one -- as the Associated Press said in their summation of this thing, there has been not one bit of evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Senator Obama in this or any other matter. And Howard knows that.
Look, we are at the end of a campaign. Senator Clinton has lost 11 primaries in a row. Last week, the New York Times said she would throw -- that the campaign's plan was to throw the kitchen sink at Senator Obama to try and stop him, and this is what this is all about. And I think people will see it in those terms.
This isn't what the people want us to be talking about. They want to talk about their lives, their problems, and how we're going to move this country forward.
WOLFSON: I think everyone watching today will note that he didn't answer any of those questions, and in fact, the Chicago Tribune has said, when they endorsed him, "come forward, Senator Obama.
Answer the legitimate questions. How many fund-raisers? How much money raised? How much of it was given through straw donors?"
AXELROD: We've answered those questions, Howard.
WOLFSON: No, you haven't. You haven't, David.
AXELROD: As you know, as you know, we returned $150,000...
AXELROD: ... as you returned $850,000 of Norman Hsu's...
WOLFSON: And I answered a lot of questions about that.
AXELROD: ...who sits in a prison in California today, having raised almost $1 million for this campaign, this presidential campaign.
WOLFSON: David, we'll...
AXELROD: Tony Rezko hasn't raised a dime for this presidential
WOLFSON: David, I just want a simple yes or no.
AXELROD: And we returned the money he raised for us in the Senate race.
WOLFSON: Will you put out all of the information, the emails, the correspondence relating to the real estate transaction, all of it? Will you put it out?
AXELROD: Howard, we have been forthcoming. And all that information has been...
WOLFSON: No, it has not.
Axelrod then changes the subject to Hillary's tax returns.
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