New York Times goes after McCain again, with similar results

posted at 9:15 am on April 22, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Jim Rutenberg has a new beat at the New York Times, and it must be called the Get McCain desk. He co-wrote the abominable story about Vicki Iseman in February that attempted to insinuate that McCain had traded legislative favors for sexual favors, only his story didn’t have a shred of evidence of either. Today, in another page-one blockbuster, Rutenberg claims that McCain gave out legislative favors in land-swap deals — but fails to mention that they had widespread support from legislators, businessmen, and environmentalists.

Here’s the heart of the story:

A longtime political patron, Mr. Diamond is one of the elite fund-raisers Mr. McCain’s current presidential campaign calls Innovators, having raised more than $250,000 so far. At home, Mr. Diamond is sometimes referred to as “The Donald,” Arizona’s answer to Donald Trump — an outsized personality who invites public officials aboard his flotilla of yachts (the Ace, King, Jack and Queen of Diamonds), specializes in deals with the government, and unabashedly solicits support for his business interests from the recipients of his campaign contributions.

Mr. McCain has occasionally rebuffed Mr. Diamond’s entreaties as inappropriate, but he has also taken steps that benefited his friend’s real estate empire. Their 26-year relationship illuminates how Mr. McCain weighs requests from a benefactor against his vows, adopted after a brush with scandal two decades ago, not to intercede with government authorities on behalf of a donor or take other official action that serves no clear public interest.

In California, the McCain aide’s assistance with the Army helped Mr. Diamond complete a purchase in 1999 that he soon turned over for a $20 million profit. And Mr. McCain’s letter of recommendation reinforced Mr. Diamond’s selling point about his McCain connections as he pursued — and won in 2005 — a potentially much more lucrative deal to develop a resort hotel and luxury housing.

In Arizona, Mr. McCain has helped Mr. Diamond with matters as small as forwarding a complaint in a regulatory skirmish over the endangered pygmy owl, and as large as introducing legislation remapping public lands. In 1991 and 1994, Mr. McCain sponsored two laws sought by Mr. Diamond that resulted in providing him millions of dollars and thousands of acres in exchange for adding some of his properties to national parks. The Arizona senator co-sponsored a third similar bill now before the Senate.

First, let’s congratulate Rutenberg on his interest in land deals involving the Senate. Unfortunately, he chose the wrong target. Despite several investigations by the AP and the Los Angeles Times, Rutenberg failed to cover or even mention the land deals that directly benefited Harry Reid personally, fueled by land swaps he explicitly sponsored. I wrote about this extensively in 2006, including in a column for the New York Post. Reid’s family got employed by his partner in these deals and both Reid and his family made a lot of money off the sale of federally-owned land.

None of that happened here. In fact, the legislation McCain sponsored didn’t require the sale of the parcels at issue in Rutenberg’s article at all. It authorized the Secretary of the Interior to swap land as deemed necessary and beneficial. Neither McCain nor his family had any personal stake in the land deals that Donald Diamond negotiated with Interior, nor did McCain write legislation requiring Interior to sell anything at all to Diamond. Rutenberg carefully constructs this allegation for deniability:

Mr. McCain has been willing, though, to help sponsor bills authorizing federal land exchanges that Mr. Diamond sought.

Do you notice how that’s phrased? Rutenberg hedges his allegation by noting that McCain sponsored bills that authorized land exchanges, not mandated them. In fact, land exchanges are rather common, and get conducted frequently to add territory to federal park areas. Even Rutenberg notes that they usually serve the public interest. He also reports that the GAO advised Congress to discontinue them, but that was six years after the last of the two bills that McCain sponsored.

In the events, McCain’s legislation had broad support from both business interests and the environmental community. The Sierra Club endorsed both bills at the time, although Rutenberg has them complaining now. The Tucson Audubon Society supported the 1994 bill, which makes the pygmy owl issue rather moot (McCain has supported the protection of the pygmy owl). The National Parks and Conservation Association also backed both bills.

The rest of the article gets into what could best be described as “constituent services”. Rutenberg makes a mountain out of the molehill of McCain’s letters of recommendation for Diamond. In the letter regarding Fort Ord and the sale of golf courses, McCain included the following proviso:

Let me state at the outset that I desire no action to be taken on this matter which would be inconsistent with existing rules, regulations, and ethical guidelines, or that could possibly be construed as unfair or inappropriate. Nor do I expect preferential treatment for any single interest. I expect only such action which is in the best interests of the country.

McCain also refused to make phone calls to the city of Seaside on behalf of Diamond. Letters of recommendation for a constituent in a business deal hardly rises to the level of intercession, but a phone call would have been seen as exactly the kind of intervention McCain finds inappropriate. Despite Diamond’s status as a contributor to his campaigns, McCain refused to take that kind of action, and Diamond proceeded on his own.

The entire article contains nothing more than innuendo and absolutely no evidence of any wrongdoing. If two innocuous bills from 14 and 17 years ago are all that Rutenberg can dig up on McCain, then Bill Keller may have to start looking for someone else to man the Get McCain desk. The Times has certainly come up with nothing so far.

Update: Here’s a PDF of the support letters and public statements of the environmental lobby. Note this from the Sierra Club, in the Arizona Republic:

I regret to say that The Republic’s recent reporting on the proposed addition of 3,500 acres to Saguaro National Monument near Tucson is way off base by trying to make a straight-forward project seem like dirty politics. Congressional legislation to authorize the addition would be in the public interest. …

To suggest that our congressional delegation is cynically responding to big-money interests by sponsoring this legislation obscures the merits of the proposal. It is simply without merit. …

Rob Smith, Southwest Representative, Sierra Club

So in October 1990, the Sierra Club lauded McCain for his work on these expansions. In 2008, they try to smear him with them, working with Rutenberg to do so. Niiiiiiice.

Update II: Some of my e-mail have legitimate points in response to this:

  • The letter I quoted for Diamond did not contain that disclaimer; that was from an unrelated letter on another matter.  If so, it doesn’t mitigate the Diamond letter, but neither is the Diamond letter an intervention in any sense of the word.  It’s a character reference, whose impact is certainly debatable — and also open for criticism.

Should members of Congress write these kinds of letters?  Most of them do, if not all of them.  Should McCain get singled out for criticism for it?  Well, he’s running for the Presidency, and that does come with the territory.

  • I don’t think it’s unfair to  put a spotlight on McCain’s activities as a  Senator.  The tone and tenor of this article, however — especially in the first few paragraphs of the story — strongly implies some kind of wrongdoing, which the article then fails to deliver.  If meant as a think piece on how McCain tries to balance his unusually high ethical standards with protecting constituents and trying to represent Arizonans, it doesn’t find its voice until after the jump.  In that, it’s very reminiscent of the Iseman story from February.
  • The Times reports on the Sierra Club’s ex post facto criticism of the deals without ever noting SC’s contemporaneous support for them — and their public defense of the land swaps in October 1990.  That would have presented a more open and honest look at the motivations of McCain and other sponsors of the legislation that the Times highlighted in this article, and perhaps could have called into question the motives of the Sierra Club in badmouthing them today.

Just as with any critcism by a blogger, readers should follow the link and decide for themselves whether I’m on point or off base.


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Instead of NY Times,
it should be called the DNC Times.

jgapinoy on April 22, 2008 at 9:19 AM

Gee, I just don’t understand why the NYT is losing money…

right2bright on April 22, 2008 at 9:19 AM

NYT is the American Pravda……………

adamsmith on April 22, 2008 at 9:20 AM

Just keep throwing until something sticks.

davidk on April 22, 2008 at 9:27 AM

There is no pravda in Izvestia, and no izvestia in Pravda.

“All the news that fits, we print.”

Akzed on April 22, 2008 at 9:28 AM

Gee, someone sneezes and there’s a post on here about how Obama didn’t say God bless you, but Gesundheit, thus is a liberal facist and not a god-fearing American, but whenever the NYTimes writes a factual and even-handed story on McCains political career, it’s accussed on “making a mountain out of a mole hill.”

this site is really turning into a joke.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 9:29 AM

Those leftist freaks at the New York Times are wallowing in their idiocy and their hatred of the United States. They are nothing more than a left wing propaganda machine and must be constantly exposed and challenged.

rplat on April 22, 2008 at 9:30 AM

These lame attacks do nothing but help McCain.

forest on April 22, 2008 at 9:31 AM

I’ll just sit and wait for the big NYTimes article on the land deal between Tony Rezko and The Obamassiah. I won’t, however, be holding my breath.

rbj on April 22, 2008 at 9:32 AM

this site is really turning into a joke.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 9:29 AM

Really? Then why don’t you jump over and join the Kos kids . . . nobody will miss you.

rplat on April 22, 2008 at 9:33 AM

They keep digging in the manure, hoping to find a pony.

obladioblada on April 22, 2008 at 9:33 AM

OMG…and this is my local paper…

ParisParamus on April 22, 2008 at 9:34 AM

Another grim milestone for the NYT.

jeff_from_mpls on April 22, 2008 at 9:34 AM

Investor Alert: Sell NYT

petefrt on April 22, 2008 at 9:35 AM

I can’t imagine why the folks at the NYT are so stupid. Even after the announced economic disaster going on at the paper, they continue to publish this type of garbage. Do they not think the two are related? Somebody needs to start sharpening the axe over there, and fast.

BackseatDriver on April 22, 2008 at 9:35 AM

The aim isn’t the truth, or to expose anything. It’s to raise “appearance of wrongdoing” questions that the Democrats can use in their campaign against Sen. McCain. It took you a long column to show that they are baseless accusations and insinuations. That’s the point:

“A lie can run around the world six times while the truth is still trying to put on its pants.” —Mark Twain

MrLynn on April 22, 2008 at 9:37 AM

Dude, that guy’s pic says one thing to me, loud and clear, and it ain’t good:

Mac user.

Hannibal Smith on April 22, 2008 at 9:37 AM

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 9:29 AM

Do you really think the NYT would run a page 1 story about legal landswaps with this kind of innuendo about either of the Democratic candidates? After the recent hit pieces on McCain that ran on page 1 that turned out to be blatantly false how can you even begin to defend the Times?

You my friend are the Joke.

saltydogg14 on April 22, 2008 at 9:38 AM

this site is really turning into a joke.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 9:29 AM

Say, do you know how to delete a bookmark? Why not do it for HA? A win for both sides.

a capella on April 22, 2008 at 9:38 AM

I’m glad you guys are on top of this stuff since it’s gotten way to deep for the average working man to keep track of this nonsense. The depth and width of the corruption of truth in American journalism continues to parallel what would be expected from a fascist regime.

Hening on April 22, 2008 at 9:39 AM

Legal landswaps pushed by the Sierra Club, BTW. See my update.

Ed Morrissey on April 22, 2008 at 9:39 AM

Clearly the MSM is throwing everything at the wall to see what will stick. It really says something when the media is so far in the tank that they feel it is their duty to try and salvage their guy.

The only place guys like this could work is journalism, politics or academia. Every other place has a modicum of standards.

moxie_neanderthal on April 22, 2008 at 9:43 AM

The NYT doesn’t even pretend to be a newspaper these days. I canceled my subscription fifteen years ago and have not missed it. It was badly one-sided in its coverage then, but it has become so one sided that it really should change its name to reflect its political agenda. That agenda probably has more in common with the left in European politics than it does with main stream middle of the road USA politics. Editorially supporting a political agenda is fine, but reporting is supposed to be fact based. Apparently for the left this has always been a problem. See Duranty’s Pulitzer Prize. Nope, nothing new here. The change is really style more than substance. The NYT has been a propaganda rag for years.

Orson Buggeigh on April 22, 2008 at 9:43 AM

this site is really turning into a joke.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 9:29 AM

What sa matter, you feelins a wittle hurt…you poor little baby, maybe another website can help your little boo boo…maybe this will help your whine a wittle…

right2bright on April 22, 2008 at 9:45 AM

And just yesterday, it was said that Murdoch declared war on the NYT’s..It looks like the NYT’s is actually suicidal.

Pam on April 22, 2008 at 9:45 AM

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 9:29 AM

If I were you, I’d take my keyboard and go home.

PappaMac on April 22, 2008 at 9:48 AM

Thanks, Captain. I’d forgotten about the Sierra Club’s involvement in the land swap. Nope, no interest in THAT or in the Rose Law Firm, or Senator Obama’s fund raisers with domestic terrorists like Ayers and Dohrn. That’s just news, which is so beneath the dignity of the Times. News which might convince the public that some of the republic’s elected officials are looking after themselves better than their public trust. thanks, Captain – we get better hard news coverage from blogs like this one than from the NYT. Good analysis, too. Keep up the good work.

Orson Buggeigh on April 22, 2008 at 9:49 AM

If I were you, I’d take my keyboard and go home.

How do you know I’m not home already?

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 9:52 AM

rbj,

http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?query=Rezko&srchst=nyt

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 9:34 AM

So Tom, why is a legal land deal with McCain’s name on the front page, while Obama’s isn’t?

At least with McCain, no one is on trial for a crime. I think a criminal trial by someone closely tied to a candidate is more important — especially on a primary day — than a no crime alleged land deal. The story itself also mentions that McCain hasn’t always helped out Diamond. Doesn’t sound like he’s been bought & paid for to me.

rbj on April 22, 2008 at 9:53 AM

TEFLON JOHN . It’s over, hit the music.

THE CHOSEN ONE on April 22, 2008 at 9:58 AM

The Newspaper of Rumor strikes again.

Dusty on April 22, 2008 at 9:59 AM

The NYT’s newsroom must be constantly filled with Code Pink, Black Panthers, NAMBLA, and a cloud of marijuana smoke.

THE CHOSEN ONE on April 22, 2008 at 10:02 AM

Nice work Ed. The NYT just hopes that if they put enough these high profile, complicated pieces up, then people will simply remember that there was a negative story about McCain, rather than the refutations of them. It’s easy to read a headline, but hard to actually learn the details to find out whether there is anything that actually supports the conclusions drawn by the author. That’s what they’re counting on.

Dudley Smith on April 22, 2008 at 10:05 AM

How do you know I’m not home already?

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 9:52 AM

Make sure you keep that bathrobe belted tightly. Basements can get kinda cold even in the spring.

Is that your mom calling down the stairs? Put out the cigarette and clear those beer cans!

fossten on April 22, 2008 at 10:07 AM

Tom_Shipley,

You believe the article in question is factual and even-handed? Why? What part of Ed’s analysis do you disagree with?

As to your claim that ‘we’ are hyper-focused on anything Obama says – he’s not running on his experience or his credentials but on his judgment and ability to lead and unite. All he’s given us to consider is his words. I’ll admit that sometimes a bigger deal is made out of something he says than it warrants but by and large he is being criticized on legitimate concerns. Or do you consider his choice of corrupt or radical associates to be unimportant? How about his repeated lying about McCain’s statements? Are his condescending comments, repeated several times now, about rural white people fair game? What constitutes a legitimate target in your mind? Or is Obama untouchable?

gwelf on April 22, 2008 at 10:13 AM

So Tom, why is a legal land deal with McCain’s name on the front page, while Obama’s isn’t?

Well, the Obama-Rezko land deal was legal. It was also on the front page of the NYTimes.

Both stories deal with politicians who claim to be above special interests, but have either made legal deals or helped make legal deals which may contradict those claims.

If Rezko is a legit story, so is this.

But I understand… the NYTimes really shouldn’t be wasting their and our time on stories like this. I’m waiting for the front-page splash about whether or not Obama is wearing a flag pin today… and, what the hell did he have for breakfast today?

These are the issues the American people deserve coverage of.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 10:15 AM

These lib journalist should peruse the right-wing blogesphere for negative stories on big Mac. Global Warming, closing Gitmo, Amnesty for illegals, campaign finance reform, and many others. Oh wait, that is what they like about McCain. I have a question Chosen One. What song am I going to hear when McCain wins? How did you download it on my computer? My suggestion: “Proud to be an American”. Lee Greenwood would be able to sum up my feelings if the American people reject this Marxist, otherwise known as the Messiah.

chief on April 22, 2008 at 10:19 AM

Shouldn’t they rename themselves the Times-Democrat?

irishspy on April 22, 2008 at 10:25 AM

The pygmy owls… are coming home… to roost!!!!

The NY Times: all the news that causes fits.

(Or fits their causes.)

Shooting blanks at a war hero, once again.

The nuance of their innuendo is causing cognitive dissonance.

profitsbeard on April 22, 2008 at 10:26 AM

this site is really turning into a joke.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 9:29 AM

Anyone ever seen Shipley and Punch Sulzberger in the same room at the same time?

While you’re at it, Tom, how about bringing up Joe Wilson again?

Del Dolemonte on April 22, 2008 at 10:30 AM

The Times was a liberal paper 30-40 years ago, but even with Richard Nixon in the White House the people running the place were adult enough to set the ball much higher on what could and couldn’t get into the paper. let alone onto Page 1. One-sided hit-pieces from the left with partisan claims that didn’t hold up to scrutiny never got this type of play, and if the reporters or editors wanted to run things like that, they were free to go over to The Village Voice, where the readership wanted red meat that demonized their enemies.

The Times of that day also was a dull read, in terms of trying to add any descriptive flair or style to their stories. That’s not the case since Pinch took over — the reporters are not only allowed to veer into descriptive prose or partisan commentary, they’re encouraged from the top to lunge into it, when it serves the editorial slant of the paper. But in turning the Times of the 21st century into something more resembling The Voice of the 1960s and 70s, Sulzberger and crew seem to have forgotten that, thanks to alternative media, the Voice was giving itself away for free in newsracks by the end of the 1990s, because there just aren’t enough people out there, even in New York, who want to read partisan screeds disguised as news day after day.

Some Times people apparently see the handwriting on the wall and are floating the idea of Mayor Bloomberg taking over the paper from Pinch, out of fear they’re being targeted by Rupert Murdoch. But even if Mayor Mike did ride to the paper’s rescue, he wouldn’t buy it to maintain this downward spiraling status quo, either in the newsroom or on the editorial board.

jon1979 on April 22, 2008 at 10:31 AM

Well, the Obama-Rezko land deal was legal. It was also on the front page of the NYTimes.

Both stories deal with politicians who claim to be above special interests, but have either made legal deals or helped make legal deals which may contradict those claims.

If Rezko is a legit story, so is this.

But I understand… the NYTimes really shouldn’t be wasting their and our time on stories like this. I’m waiting for the front-page splash about whether or not Obama is wearing a flag pin today… and, what the hell did he have for breakfast today?

These are the issues the American people deserve coverage of.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 10:15 AM

So are you implying that McCain’s involvement isn’t? Where are your facts for that? And if the Times is going to investigate one senator on land deals, because he happens to be a presidential candidate, then why not the Senate Majority Leader as well? Sorry, but between this and the Iseman story there is no there there. This is just smear and innuendo, with no meat. And from a once great newspaper that is now on par with supermarket tabloids it is also a real shame.

Personally, I don’t give a fig about flag pins or breakfasts. Neither do I care about The Obamassiah’s middle name nor do I think he’s a crypto-Muslim. I am concerned that he’s a socialist and that his economic and foreign policies are bad for the country. Plus the devotion from his followers is a bit creepy.

rbj on April 22, 2008 at 10:37 AM

So Tom, why is a legal land deal with McCain’s name on the front page, while Obama’s isn’t?

Well, the Obama-Rezko land deal was legal

In fact, we don’t know yet. At the very least it appears as though Senate ethics rules were likely violated as it pertains to receiving benefits/gifts.

By Obama’s own admission, based on the price and terms of the sale, he could not afford the home that he now lives. Tony Rezko was a close personal friend and assisted in the transaction with funds that he had previously stated under oath that he did not have.

Prior to the home purchase, Rezko reviewed the property with Obama and was made aware of the terms of the sale and prior to the purchase of the property, Rezko received a large amount of cash from the fugitive and billionaire Nadhmi Auchi. Auchi is a close associate of Rezko.

Interestingly, Obama had previously claimed he had never met Auchi but a number of people have now come forward to say that in fact Obama was introduced to Auchi at a party thrown at later’s home. It is hard to imagine that a politician would forget that he attended a billionaire’s party who happens to be a close associate of Tony Rezkos.

Either way, it does not get around the fact that at the very least Obama appears to have violated Senate rules and may have broken the law.

moxie_neanderthal on April 22, 2008 at 10:42 AM

The NYT has been worth nothing more than fish wrap for a long time. The sneering and condescending tone the NYT’s reporting often takes is outweighed only by the paper’s nasty habit of leaving out important facts that do not further the agenda the NYT wants to push. Their credibility completely disintegrated and finally walked out the back door with Jayson Blair and some of their top staff, who walked out the back door with him. Rottenberg’s working right where he should be, toeing the line, and it’s just a matter of time before he joins Mr Blair.

SilverStar830 on April 22, 2008 at 10:42 AM

So are you implying that McCain’s involvement isn’t?

No, I took this line as an implication that Obama’s land deal wasn’t legal:

So Tom, why is a legal land deal with McCain’s name on the front page, while Obama’s isn’t?

My point, is that the Rezko story and this story (both which appeared on the front page on the NYTimes) are similar in that they call into question canidates claims to be above using their position to do favors for people.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 10:43 AM

Tony Rezko was a close personal friend and assisted in the transaction with funds that he had previously stated under oath that he did not have.

Really? Huh. The owner of the properties said Rezko’s purchase had no influence on the sale price of Obama’s property.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 10:45 AM

But I understand… the NYTimes really shouldn’t be wasting their and our time on stories like this. I’m waiting for the front-page splash about whether or not Obama is wearing a flag pin today… and, what the hell did he have for breakfast today?

These are the issues the American people deserve coverage of.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 10:15 AM

Have you noticed the types of distractions the Moveon.org Party is promulgating this election season? They take the suspension of belief to a new art form. With Soros, Lewis, Geffen etal pumping billions into disinformation, ops research, pajama clad bloggers, distasteful websites and our beloved MSM (word has it that NYT ad revenue would have been down 80% without George and his buddies buying ads for their companies and their bought and paid for politicians.

I, personally, would like to see our side take the high road, and damn the torpedoes or whatever that phrase was. We need to get a campaign team on every major college campus, in every large city, and blast the hell out of them with the truth. We are always slow on the uptake. In 2000 and today, we face a different type of enemy. It’s time our tactics change.

eaglesdontflock on April 22, 2008 at 10:46 AM

So are you implying that McCain’s involvement isn’t?

No, I took this line as an implication that Obama’s land deal wasn’t legal:

So Tom, why is a legal land deal with McCain’s name on the front page, while Obama’s isn’t?

My point, is that the Rezko story and this story (both which appeared on the front page on the NYTimes) are similar in that they call into question canidates claims to be above using their position to do favors for people.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 10:43 AM

I was merely talking about the land deals. And is Diamond on trial for anything? Sorry, but the story doesn’t show any implication that McCain is corrupt — not all constituent help is corrupt — McCain sometimes helped a friend, when he felt that it was in the best interest of the US — land did get turned over to the National Parks, with the Sierra Club’s blessing.

And you can’t separate this story from the Iseman story, another instance where there are no facts to support any claim of corruption. This is just throwing mud at a wall to see what sticks, and should be beneath The Times. As it isn’t, it just shows the Times has become corrupt.

rbj on April 22, 2008 at 11:02 AM

Tom_Shipley

I have a question: If you think this website is “going downhill” so bad, why are you still here? I have very limited time in my life to go onto websites, therefore I only go on the ones I really like. Seriously, don’t you have other things to do?

The New York Times needs to stop with these articles. If they want to be seen as a respectable paper of record, they need to stop publishing every tiny little thing they “hear about”. The National Enquirer seems to be more reputable and that’s just pathetic.

mjk on April 22, 2008 at 11:09 AM

Tony Rezko was a close personal friend and assisted in the transaction with funds that he had previously stated under oath that he did not have.

Really? Huh. The owner of the properties said Rezko’s purchase had no influence on the sale price of Obama’s property.

Bollocks! You haven’t a clue as to what you’re talking about.

A few months after Obama became a U.S. senator, he and Rezko’s wife, Rita, bought adjacent pieces of property from a doctor in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood — a deal that has dogged Obama the last two years. The doctor sold the mansion to Obama for $1.65 million — $300,000 below the asking price. Rezko’s wife paid full price — $625,000 — for the adjacent vacant lot. The deals closed in June 2005. Six months later, Obama paid Rezko’s wife $104,500 for a strip of her land, so he could have a bigger yard. At the time, it had been widely reported that Tony Rezko was under federal investigation. Questioned later about the timing of the Rezko deal, Obama called it “boneheaded” because people might think the Rezkos had done him a favor.

Obviously Obama is concerned that it certainly appears to be a favor.

moxie_neanderthal on April 22, 2008 at 11:11 AM

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 9:29 AM

Boo-friggin’-hoo

Wade on April 22, 2008 at 11:12 AM

Bollocks! You haven’t a clue as to what you’re talking about.

Oh, really?

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=a_9sOMpy91Js

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 11:22 AM

I’m sure he is still polishing his investigative reports about Dianne Feinstein and her hands-on efforts in Senate committees to push military work to companies owned by her husband, and about Nancy Pelosi and her managing to guide federal real estate transactions in SF that benefit her family directly. Oh yeah, the really in-depth article about Harry Reid and his real estate hobby is just about done, too!

We’ll be seeing those real soon now…chirp, chirp…chirp

in_awe on April 22, 2008 at 11:23 AM

Boo-friggin’-hoo

Now, this is funny. After months of constant attacks and stories on Obama, one slightly negative story on McCain is published and the whines from Hot Air begin like clock work!

Despite Obama receiving tons of negative coverage while McCain has all but received a free pass, you guys STILL play the media bias card.

It’s all just terrible funny/sad.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 11:28 AM

Even at the NY Times, James Rutenberg is known as a fierce liberal. Clearly, Mr. Rutenberg is upset that his initial front page piece on McCain failed to do the damage that he wanted. So Mr. Rutenberg is at it again. He is hoping that this time, he will strike lightening. If given truth serum, Mr. Rutenberg would have to answer that he is obsessed with destroying John McCain, must like Ahab with Moby Dick. At the Times, four reporters have been placed on the get McCain beat.

Larraby on April 22, 2008 at 11:29 AM

Despite Obama receiving tons of negative coverage while McCain has all but received a free pass, you guys STILL play the media bias card.

It’s all just terrible funny/sad.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 11:28 AM

Go back to updating your Obamassiah shrine.

Comparing the Rezko deal to one in which McCain didn’t personally benefit from, enjoyed wide support, and was backed by such noted members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy as the Sierra Club is ridiculous.

You see this story as “even handed”? Though it conspicuously leaves out very pertinent info and leaves false impressions, such as the one suggesting that environmental groups were opposed to such land swaps that added acreage to parks?

Seriously- if you have nothing substantive to say other than childish whining over negative stories about Hopey McChangerton, perhaps another blog such as Kos or DU would suit you better. Pointless whining is quite welcome there.

Hollowpoint on April 22, 2008 at 11:53 AM

I’m not whining about negative stories. They happen in presidential campaigns. I’m whining about the fact that Obama has been getting hammered with them… MANY of them complete BS (see waffles, flag lapels, 10 word quotes hammered endlessly and molded to fit the bias of those writing about them), then McCain gets one story that is pretty tame, and the WHAAAmbulance is dispatched from Hot Air central.

Again, it’s funny/sad.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 12:05 PM

Drip, drip, drip…

baldilocks on April 22, 2008 at 12:07 PM

Gee, someone sneezes and there’s a post on here about how Obama didn’t say God bless you, but Gesundheit, thus is a liberal facist and not a god-fearing American, but whenever the NYTimes writes a factual and even-handed story on McCains political career, it’s accussed on “making a mountain out of a mole hill.”

Dude. You’re trolling, right?

this site is really turning into a joke.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 9:29 AM

So you just keep coming for the laughs? Really, why don’t you leave, instead of insulting? Do you realize how this makes you look? As a person? You know, character and stuff?

shibumiglass on April 22, 2008 at 12:14 PM

So you just keep coming for the laughs? Really, why don’t you leave, instead of insulting? Do you realize how this makes you look? As a person? You know, character and stuff?

I don’t leave because I think this stuff needs to be challenged. And yes, I am caustic at times. I freely admit it. And I probably go too far in calling this site a joke, but the sheer hypocrisy of watching Ed and Allah hammer Obama with wildly distorted accounts of minute/irrelevant details, then turn around and slam the Times for a tame, well-researched and politically relevant article is quite stunning.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 12:22 PM

Tom,
How you can even attempt to equate the two situations is beyond me.

Lets do a quick compare of ‘negative’ stories about Obama and McCain.

Obama:
Attended a church that practices Black Liberation Theology, a openly anti-white doctrine, and run by a Pastor who routinely makes, what most would consider, racist comments.

Has met and worked with and even sought political help from a well known terrorist (Ayers) who has never denounced his violent past.

Had dealings with Tony Rezko, a land developer currently indicted for money laundering, extortion, bribery and who has been investigated for influence peddling. Obama and Rezko then bought adjacent lots after both toured the Obama lot, together; Obama for below market, Rezko for market value.

So all three stories go toward character issues as to who Obama chooses to interact with. The Rezko story has the added punch of creating a very clear appearance of impropriety (even Obama has said that) even if no laws were broken.

McCain:
Some staffers thought his connections with a female lobbyist could look suspect and that some people might think the could be having an affair. No pattern of voting in her favor could be determined even after a several month investigation.

He sponsored 2 bills which involved land swaps between the federal government and his friend, Mr. Diamond. Both deals were done in the open and had the support of various government agencies involved as well as several prominent environmental groups. And once again no pattern of favorable voting could be found between McCain and Diamond.

He has a temper. This one has been backed up by several people who have worked with or around the senator.

The first story could be something of interest if they could find anyone who could support the affair idea (which they could not), the voting in her favor part, even though put forward in the story, is proven false by the article itself (though not exactly present as such).

The second story has absolutely no appearance of impropriety since McCain followed every rule in sponsoring the two bills in question and there is not even the appearance of personal gain. Even his written recommendations come with the caveat that Diamond should receive no preferential treatment if anything about the deals in question are suspect.

The third is a legitimate story because it does speak to character and it can be backed up with eye witness accounts (though even there the media has saw fit to publish accounts with very little or only anonymous sources). The only issue is, to the best of my knowledge, there is no indication of his temper actually preventing him from doing his job nor does a temper really indicate a particular theology.

So really, there is not much to compare on the negative story front. Obama’s are all well documented while McCains are mostly hearsay. Now they could do a negative story on McCains association with Juan Hernandez (who holds some pretty radical views on borders) but since is a position the vast majority of the MSM supports, you’re not likely to see too many of those.

Bic667 on April 22, 2008 at 12:27 PM

Of course, the problem (and WHY the NYT does it), is that the Democrat Sheeple will eat it up, and they’ll be screaming “Land Deal!” and “Mr. Diamond!” for weeks and months to come in the blogosphere.

Just like they still hammer the Halliburton crapola. Never once acknowledging that Bill Clinton gave Halliburton no bid contracts when he was POTUS. It’s because Halliburton was the only company that could do the job required.

Yes, I will also be screaming “Rezko”, “William Ayers” and “Rev. Wright” for weeks and months too, because the NYT, NPR, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN would rather forget about these relevant items because it damages “the Savior” BO.

kirkill on April 22, 2008 at 12:28 PM

Of course, the problem (and WHY the NYT does it), is that the Democrat Sheeple will eat it up, and they’ll be screaming “Land Deal!” and “Mr. Diamond!” for weeks and months to come in the blogosphere.

The outrage has gotten off to a slow start…

http://www.dailykos.com/

http://www.democraticunderground.com/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 12:37 PM

Tom,

2 questions:

1. are the links below associated with you?
2. If so, are you a marxist? (noting your admiration of che & Das Kapital

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=70302176

http://www.facebook.com/people/Tom_Shipley/121203048

http://www.spock.com/Tom-Shipley?highlight=true

moxie_neanderthal on April 22, 2008 at 12:38 PM

…a tame, well-researched and politically relevant article…

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 12:22 PM

Thanks for the giggles. :)
Sir, you should be embarassed.

shibumiglass on April 22, 2008 at 12:40 PM

I probably go too far in calling this site a joke…
Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 12:22 PM

Please, then, just apologize to HA for that, then we can all continue debating and educating each other like adults.
Cool?
:)

shibumiglass on April 22, 2008 at 12:42 PM

No, I did not write One Toke Over the Line… wasn’t even born yet.

But yes, I am a Marxist. There was no better comedy team.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 12:42 PM

I apologize for calling Hot Air a joke.

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 12:44 PM

Awesome. Thanks. :)

Carry on, everyone!

shibumiglass on April 22, 2008 at 12:48 PM

Great, not that I can speak for Hot Air, but Tom, apology accepted.

I still think KOS and Huffington are jokes though. Just go get a read on the bitter folks posting over there!

kirkill on April 22, 2008 at 12:49 PM

Hey kirkill, you’re HotAir, too. Without us, MM, AP and Ed would just be talking to themselves, right?

shibumiglass on April 22, 2008 at 12:53 PM

Tom_Shipley on April 22, 2008 at 12:44 PM

Hey now……..has anyone seen Kos and Tom in the same room?????

JK TOM!

ArmyAunt on April 22, 2008 at 4:01 PM

shibumiglass on April 22, 2008 at 12:14 PM

Shipley is a troll that Ed has always tolerated.

Al in St. Lou on April 22, 2008 at 6:11 PM