One has to really wonder how well Barack Obama knows his close associates. When Obama finally put distance between himself and his pastor of 20 years, he claimed that the Jeremiah Wright who spoke at a press function in Detroit was not the man he heard preaching every Sunday. Now he claims that the Tony Rezko who got convicted yesterday on 16 counts of fraud and corruption isn’t the Tony Rezko who raised over $250,000 for Obama through 2004:

Obama has said whenever asked — and he has been asked repeatedly — that his relationship to Rezko, who had a history of befriending up-and-coming Illinois politicians, never strayed into official business. Obama said Rezko asked no favors and that he did him none.

Rezko has not raised money for Obama since 2004, and the Obama campaign gave to charity the donations linked to Rezko.

“I’m saddened by today’s verdict,” Obama said in a statement Wednesday. “This isn’t the Tony Rezko I knew, but now he has been convicted by a jury on multiple charges that once again shine a spotlight on the need for reform.”

Well, hold the phone for a moment. The timetable of the prosecution clearly shows that Obama “knew” this Rezko. The activities for which Rezko got convicted took place in 2004 and before. Rezko raised money for Obama for several years, the last of which was 2004, after which Rezko tapped out and got too hot for Obama and other politicians.

Obama’s association with Rezko coincides with Rezko’s corruption. Obama wants us to ignore the obvious and go away with the impression that Rezko somehow changed after their association ended, but that’s simply not the truth. Either Obama turned a blind eye to Rezko’s corrupt behavior or he didn’t have the judgment to see it.

It doesn’t work like that when a politician wants to sell his superior judgment as a key reason to elect him. So far, Obama wants us to trust his judgment despite the fact that he supposedly was ignorant of his preacher’s hate-filled sermons, directed taxpayer money to a Catholic priest who thinks America is the “greatest sin against God”, thinks William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn and their “overthrow capitalism” rhetoric is “mainstream”, and now is shocked, shocked! to find out that his fundraiser and real-estate partner was a corrupt fraud.

That shows extremely poor judgment in selecting associates. Why should we want to see that kind of judgment applied as President?