The [Tuesday] Papers
Did Barack Obama ever do any favors for Tony Rezko?
Obama says No. The New York Times says Yes.
"In one instance, when he was running for the Senate, Mr. Obama stopped by to shake hands while Mr. Rezko, an immigrant from Syria, was entertaining Middle Eastern bankers considering an investment in one of his projects," the Times has reported.
"Former Rezko associates said that Governor Blagojevich attended one of the dinners, and that at Mr. Rezko's request, Mr. Obama dropped in at one for Middle Eastern bankers in early 2004, just as he was starting to pull ahead in the Senate primary. The visits, Mr. Rezko's partners said, helped impress foreign guests.
"'I remember that he had been on the campaign trail, and he was completely wiped out and exhausted,' said Anthony Licata, a lawyer who represented Mr. Rezko on real estate deals. 'My recollection is that he drank ice tea, and he talked about how he was really making progress, and we were all excited to see him.'"
Obama refused to talk to the Times for the story.
In fact, Obama - who on the campaign trail pledges a presidency of transparency - has refused all media requests to talk about Rezko.
"Senator Obama hasn't answered any of our questions about Rezko," Sun-Times reporter Tim Novak said last night on Chicago Tonight.
The Sun-Times has also reported that Obama did a favor for Rezko.
"As a state senator, Barack Obama wrote letters to city and state officials supporting his political patron Tony Rezko's successful bid to get more than $14 million from taxpayers to build apartments for senior citizens," the paper found.
"For five weeks, the Sun-Times sought to interview Obama about Rezko and the housing deals," Novak wrote at the time. "His staff wanted written questions. It responded Sunday but left many questions unanswered. Other answers didn't directly address the question."
The ties between Obama and Rezko "are obviously long and deep," the Tribune's John Chase said last night - contrary to recent assertions by Obama and his surrogates.
"Both the Obama and Blagojevich camps, however, insisted the governor's absence was unrelated to Rezko's legal travails.
"Instead, they said Blagojevich was asked to call Democratic governors who've yet to endorse a presidential candidate and lobby them to back Obama."
Get those phone records!
"Blagojevich got that assignment because it's something only he can do among the statewide officers, governor spokeswoman Rebecca Rausch said."
With a straight face.
"All of our endorsers are playing a different role - it's impossible to get them all in the room at once," Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt told the Tribune in an e-mail.
With one of those smiley emoticons tacked on the end.
The Trib reporter replied with "LOL."
The Daley Show
"Daley has long contended that, when the private sector economy slows down, it's time for the public sector to speed up - by initiating massive public works programs that generate jobs and contracts."
Choose from the following keywords to create your own punch line: SORICH, O'HARE, GHOSTS, DUFFS, HIRED TRUCKS, PATRICK, and MILLENNIUM PARK.
"There is the ideal Chicago, the showcase city glimpsed on the Chicago River boat tour that glides past the Wrigley Building and other glorious skycrapers. And then there is the real Chicago, a Dickensian construction zone where it is simultaneously the best and the worst of times."
The story is called "A Gallery of Rogues." The subhead says "For every gem produced by the long-running building boom, there are even more clunkers."
For more on the Trib series, see "Unzoning Chicago" in Beachwood Politics.
Inside The Beachwood
* "You might as well send a truck to my house, as I'll need to stock up." In Leinie's Listens!.
* "Perhaps if the critics had known what was to come for McCartney and Wings, they would have been a bit more forgiving." In Wings: Back To The Egg.
* "You have gone too far with your fancy-dan graphics and ridiculous new puzzle topics - not to mention your lewd sponsorship stroking. The only thing worse than Pat Sajak deliberately fondling the cute female contestants is the constant fondling of product placers." In A Wheel-Watcher's Lament.
* "I'm not saying everyone has to grow a mullet, but in the name of Oscar Gamble, let's have at least a few guys who let it all hang out." In case you missed it in SportsMonday.
* "The most interesting thing in this week's Tribune book review is the news that John Gray is still around - and still pimping his well-worn one-trick pony in a new title called Why Mars and Venus Collide. Gray is appearing on Tuesday at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, which is such an excellent opportunity for heckling that it just might be worth the trip." In Reviewing the Reviews.
* "Consumption of local food may not save the Earth after all. It may, however, relieve our shame of thinking we are the world's worst sinners by eating such imported foods as Petrosian caviar from Russia or drinking a nice Pinot Gris from New Zealand." In Locavore Lore.
The Beachwood Tip Line: Fear nor favor.
Posted on January 29, 2008
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