Obama's lack of recollection excuse looking thin

The Swamp, Chicago Tribune:

Late last week, Sen. Barack Obama said he didn't recall meeting a controversial Iraqi-born billionaire at a party held at the home of his former friend and fundraiser, Antoin "Tony" Rezko, on April 3, 2004, because it was in the midst of his campaign for the U.S. Senate seat from Illinois.

Obama didn't deny the assertion of Stuart Levine, a key witness in Rezko's federal fraud trial, that the now-Democratic presidential contender attended the party held on behalf of Nadhmi Auchi, a British citizen appealing a fraud conviction in France. Rezko was allegedly trying to partner up with Auchi and may have been using an Obama appearance to demonstrate clout.

"I just don't have a recollection of the event," Obama said Friday. "As I said, I was in the middle of running a U.S. Senate race. So, you know, I was speaking all the time, probably six, seven, eight times a day."

Obama may not recall Rezko's party for Auchi, but he was not in the "middle" of a U.S. Senate race or speaking all the time. The Saturday party was held less than three weeks after Obama had won the March 16 Democratic primary nomination and, as is tradition, the candidates slow their immediate post-primary campaign schedules considerably before reheating the fall general election contest in late summer.

Indeed, an archived copy of an Obama "upcoming events" schedule on his old Senate campaign web site shows that on a Saturday two weeks later, he had no personal campaign activities. On Friday, April 13, the web site shows Obama touring Illinois coal-country at four morning events with the state's senior senator, Dick Durbin.

On March 31, 2004, and Thursday, April 1, 2004, just a few days before Rezko's April 3 party for Auchi, Obama wasn't engaged in full day campaigning. Instead, he was on the floor of the Illinois Senate, where he advanced a measure to override a federal proposal to restrict overtime pay. On Friday, April 2, the day before the party, Obama taped a Chicago news radio interview program. And on Saturday, along with the Rezko party, Obama was among the glitterati who attended a Ritz-Carlton wedding reception.

...

Perhaps he confused the toast at the wedding reception? What makes this story of a lack of memory not credible is that Auchi appears to be a very important financier for Rezko's operations including helping Obama fund the purchase of his house. If I was Rezko I would tell Obama that was the reason he wanted him to attend the reception. Rezko seems like the kind of guy who would want to impress Auchi with the fact that he could command the new Democrat nominee to come to his gathering. Certainly Obama had reason to be grateful for Rezko's past support and assistance. I think I would remember the meeting.

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