Joe Biden certainly brings a lot of baggage to the Democratic ticket this year, and some of the baggage matches that of Barack Obama. The Chicago Sun-Times reports this morning that a key figure in the Tony Rezko trial served as Biden’s Midwest campaign manager in his run for the 1988 presidential nomination and remained close enough to assist in the early stages of his 2008 run. Joseph Cari pled guilty to a federal extortion charge this year and awaits sentencing:
Biden has described himself as a 30-year friend of a key figure in the Rezko trial who’s pleaded guilty to a federal extortion charge in Chicago and is awaiting sentencing.
When the Delaware senator began contemplating his own 2008 presidential run, he initially was helped by Chicago lawyer Joseph Cari Jr., who also served as Biden’s Midwest field director in his failed 1988 bid for president.
In 2005, Cari admitted to taking part in an $850,000 kickback scheme that prosecutors say was part of a larger political fund-raising operation for Gov. Blagojevich overseen by Rezko, who was convicted in June of wide-ranging corruption involving state deals.
On the day Cari’s name first surfaced in the federal probe of the state Teachers Retirement System, the former finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee and for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee was to have hosted a Biden fund-raiser in Chicago. Cari was a no-show at that July 25, 2005, event.
Offering Cari a vote of confidence at the time, Biden said, “All I know is Joe Cari is a friend, and he’s an honorable guy, but I don’t know anything beyond that.”
Wow, just what the Democrats need on the Hope and Change ticket — another coincidence! Now both nominees on the ticket have political ties to the Rezko corruption scandal. What did Cari do for Biden, and what did Rezko do for Obama? And could this have had some impact on why Obama picked Biden in the first place?
All this means is that the notion of “reform” has gone under the bus. The Republicans and the McCain campaign can call this the Rezko All-Stars ticket, especially after the gross distortion the Obama campaign produced about McCain’s supposed “connections” to Ralph Reed, debunked by Factcheck as a “smear”. In this case, the facts speak for themselves: Obama had a convicted corrupt fixer raising money for him throughout almost all of his political career, and Biden had an admitted extortionist running and advising him on two different campaigns.
Barack Obama and Joe Biden: lacking the judgment to lead. At best.