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Newsweek Chooses Possible Troublemakers for Obama’s Candidacy

Newsweek Chooses Possible Troublemakers for Obama’s Candidacy

Posted June. 07, 2008 08:39,   


Since Sen. Barack Obama clinched the Democratic presidential nomination, voices have been growing louder among conservatives that “Obama is okay but close aides to him are not trustworthy.” As the competition between Obama and Republican candidate John McCain for the U.S. presidency has begun in full force, scrutiny of Obama’s closest supporters has followed.

American weekly magazine Newsweek carried an article in its online edition Thursday on Obama advisors who may undermine his candidacy. The following is an excerpt from the article.

Emil Jones (73), Illinois Senate president:

When Obama served as Illinois senator from 1997 through 2004, Jones helped Obama take on pressing issues and introduced Obama to major political figures. He is considered one of Obama’s five political godfathers. However, he is alleged to have abused his influence by channeling state budget to an organization his relative belongs to and by helping his relatives land government positions. He is also under criticism because his wife’s salary rose by 60 percent after he became Senate president.

Antoin Rezko (53), once a top Obama fundraiser:

Rezko is a real estate developer in Chicago. On Wednesday, he was convicted of fraud and money laundering. When Obama ran for the state Senate in 1996, he was one of the first donators of election funds. Until now, he has donated a total of US$21,457 to Obama.

When Obama hesitated to purchase a house in Chicago’s southern suburbs because of its exorbitant price in 2004, the owner helped him buy the house by splitting the house and the adjacent plot. The plot was purchased by Rezko’s wife, who sold it to Obama several months later. Obama contributed all the money from Rezko to charities.

William Ayers (64), professor of education at the University of Illinois:

Ayers led the radical Weather Underground, which attempted to bomb the defense ministry some 40 years ago. As a member of a charity organization, he worked with Obama and held an event for Obama in his house when Obama ran for office for the first time in the mid-1990s.

Rashid Khalidi, Middle East scholar at Columbia University:

In the early 1990s, Khalidi acted as an advisor for Palestine. He has oftentimes invited Obama and his wife to dinner and held fundraising campaigns.

In addition, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who triggered controversy with his “God damn America” remarks and Father Michael Pfleger, who also came under fire due to his comments mocking Sen. Hillary Clinton last month, were also picked as figures likely to muddy the waters on Obama’s road to the White House.