Obama: Trust me, that was not a favor

In the now-discarded "build credibility first" Phase One of his long term strategic plan to become President of the United States in 2012 or 2016, Barack Obama performed like a journeyman, doing favors for the politically connected the way anyone coming up through Chicago politics would. Not necessarily important, except that it contradicts Obama's pose as an idealist, far above the dirty business of cynicism.

However, one particular favor that has come to light was performed for Tony Rezko, local political donor and developer, indicted on charges of seeking kickbacks from state contractors. While a state senator, Obama wrote a letter of support for Rezko to help him snag "$14 million from taxpayers to build apartments for senior citizens," according to a report by Tim Novak in the Chicago Sun-Times. Rezko and his partner received $855,000 in development fees.

Novak writes:

The letters appear to contradict a statement last December from Obama, who told the Chicago Tribune that, in all the years he's known Rezko, "I've never done any favors for him.''

On Tuesday, Bill Burton, press secretary for Obama's presidential campaign, said the letters Obama wrote in support of the development weren't intended as a favor to Rezko or Davis.

"This wasn't done as a favor for anyone," Burton said in a written statement. "It was done in the interests of the people in the community who have benefited from the project.
There is a kind of person who looks you right in the eye and offers a shameless evasion. Such characters are familiar to us all, and are rarely aloof from cynicism.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

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