John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


I’M A Believer!

Posted on June 19, 2008



            “And then I saw her face, now I’m a believer…”


            I can’t get that song out of my mind when thinking about Barack Obama and his commitment to anything.


            On Larry King Live he said, “I'm a big believer in public financing of campaigns. And I think that for a time, the presidential public financing system works." (CNN's "Larry King Live," 1/24/07)


            Apparently, his faith in the system only goes so far. 


According to a web video he emailed to his supporters, Obama asks his supporters to help him “declare our independence from a broken system.”  The system is broken in Obama’s view because he can raise up to $500 million without it, according to some estimates.


That reminds me of his comments about his Pastor Jeremiah Wright. “ The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth - by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS…I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.” 


This is what Obama about Mr. Wright when he became a political liability: “  I have spent my entire adult life trying to bridge the gap between different kinds of people. That's in my DNA, trying to promote mutual understanding to insist that we all share common hopes and common dreams as Americans and as human beings. That's who I am. That's what I believe. That's what this campaign has been about. Yesterday, we saw a very different vision of America. I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened over the spectacle that we saw yesterday.  You know, I have been a member of Trinity United Church of Christ since 1992. I have known Reverend Wright for almost 20 years. The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago. His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church. They certainly don't portray accurately my values and beliefs. And if Reverend Wright thinks that that's political posturing, as he put it, then he doesn't know me very well. And based on his remarks yesterday, well, I may not know him as well as I thought, either.”

Or Tony Rezko. 

Here is the history behind Rezko and Obama, according to the Chicago SunTimes.  They met in 1990, when Obama was a student at Harvard Law School and got an unsolicited job offer from Rezko, then a low-income housing developer in Chicago, which he turned it down.  He did work with Rezko on a project to turn an abandoned nursing home at 61st and Drexel into low-income apartments. When Obama began campaigning for a seat in the Illinois Senate, Rezko was one of his earliest supporters.   In 2003, when Obama announced he was running for the U.S. Senate, Rezko -- a member of his campaign finance committee -- held a lavish fund-raiser June 27, 2003, at his Wilmette mansion.  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.  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.   Eight months later -- in October 2006 -- Rezko was indicted on charges he solicited kickbacks from companies seeking state pension business under his friend Gov. Blagojevich. Federal prosecutors maintain that $10,000 from the alleged kickback scheme was donated to Obama's run for the U.S. Senate. Obama has given the money to charity.

After that long history, here is what he had to say about his good friend Mr. Rezko, “I'm saddened by today's verdict. 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."

Barack Obama is a big believer in reform, or so he says.  But his track record shows that he is just a conventional politician, who will do or say anything to get ahead.   He said he believed in public financing but it turns out he didn’t.  He says that he believed in Rev. Wright, but it turns out he couldn’t.  He worked close enough to believe in Tony Rezko, but now it turns out he shouldn’t. 

What does Barack Obama really believe?  What promises does he make today that he fully intends to break tomorrow?  What friends will he count on today that he will ditch tomorrow?

Yep, he sure is a believer.  But what he really believes, nobody really knows.