Factcheck Debunks Smears on Obama Based Upon Chicago Ties

As noted yesterday, McCain has been attempting to smear Obama based upon associations with other Chicago politicians. Not only has there been absolutely no evidence of Obama doing anthing wrong, but this actually plays to one of Obama’s strengths for having passed landmark ethics reform legislation in Illinois. Factcheck.org also reports that the allegations made in a commercial from the McCain campaign are false. From their summary:

A McCain-Palin ad says that Obama was “born of the corrupt Chicago political machine” and implies that the candidate himself is corrupt by association with four local political figures. But the ad’s implication and many of its supporting details are false. In fact, this is a particularly egregious example of ricochet sliming:

  • William Daley, the first figure mentioned in the ad, is indeed related to the other famous Chicago Daleys, but he’s never been accused of any wrongdoing. And the former commerce secretary isn’t Obama’s only economic adviser, as the ad implies.
  • Emil Jones, Illinois state Senate leader, may indeed have been Obama’s “political godfather.” But he, too, hasn’t been charged with or even seriously accused of misdeeds despite the ad’s claim of an “ethical cloud.”
  • Obama did have a past relationship with real estate developer Tony Rezko, but he is no longer Obama’s “money man.” Obama hasn’t been associated with him since his indictment for wire fraud, bribery, money laundering and attempted extortion, and Obama donated all of the disgraced businessman’s previous campaign contributions to charity.
  • Rod Blagojevich has been touched by plenty of scandal but his relationship with Obama doesn’t extend much beyond being “his governor.” In fact, Obama has worked on ethics legislation triggered by some of the Blagojevich’s questionable moves.

Most important, the ad offers no evidence of wrongdoing by Obama himself in connection with any of these relationships, however close or distant.

There is further detail in the body of their article. On Rezko they write:

As we concluded back in December 2007, “Obama has a relationship with Rezko that dates back many years, but there’s no indication Obama did anything  improper.”

As I noted yesterday, if McCain wants the campaigns to be about the candidates’ pasts, there is nothing here on Obama but we could look at McCain’s past ethical violations as a member of the Keating 5. McCain’s involvement in the scandal is made even more relevant in light of the current problems in the financial markets.

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