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IBD-TIPP 4%; Zogby 5%; Rasmussen 8%

Sunday, October 26, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

IBD-TIPP has the presidential race as a 4 point Obama lead.

Zogby’s Mr. Slinky poll is going down the steps this week, with a narrowing of the race to 5%.

Rasmussen puts the gap at 8% and the Obama support at a steady 52%.

If McCain stays on the tax hikes the Obama-led Democrats are planning and on Joe Biden’s candid warning that our enemies will precipitate a crisis to push a President Obama to the wall, the gap, whether 4 or 8, can close, and that’s without an imagined “Bradley effect.”

Sarah Palin continues to bring enormous energy and crowds wherever she travels. The attempt to diminish her impact on the GOP’s base continues and has zero effect on that base, which loves her because she is a fighter unlike so many Beltway Republicans. (The extraordinarily unfair coverage she has received from places like CNN is the subject of a great Claudia Rosett piece this morning –HT: RobinsonandLong.com.)

If the GOP keeps its losses down in House and Senate, the winner of every close race should send Sarah flowers. If McCain pulls off the upset, after the old aviator himself Palin will get the greatest share of the credit, followed by Joe the Plumber and Joe Biden.

As part of your last minute efforts, be sure to send a link to Perry Nunley’s Redneck Date to all your Pennsylvania friends and family, courtesy of Jack Murtha and Barack Obama.

(And be sure to send me any links to Obama/McCain relevant tunes, as well as CO, MN, and OH songs at www.amaze.fm. The site has grown too fast for me to survey the offerings in the hunt for bump music for next the next three day swing with Dennis Prager and Michael Medved through those states. Pointers would be appreciated.)

UPDATE: Courtesy of Ace, Saturday Night Live reminds PA what Democrats think about them –really.

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Newsweek (and the U.S. Attorney) Find The Obama-Rezko House Deal Interesting

Sunday, October 26, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

From Newsweek:

Two years ago, the Chicago Tribune disclosed that Obama and Rezko purchased adjoining properties from a single seller on the same day in June 2005. The seller, Dr. Fredric Wondisford, now a professor at Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, had insisted that both properties close at the same time. Obama paid $1.3 million-$300,000 less than the original asking price-for the Georgian mansion on his property. Rezko paid nearly the full price, $625,000, for the vacant lot next door. Obama has acknowledged in several press interviews that he alerted Rezko to the availability of the adjoining property, but said that Rezko made the decision to buy the lot on his own without coordinating his offer with Obama. The Obama campaign says that Obama’s offer of $1.3 million was the highest bid on the home. Rezko, who has faced legal troubles ever since the issue arose, has never addressed the matter.

Seven months later, on Jan. 4, 2006, Obama paid Rezko $104,000 for a strip of the developer’s land so he could expand his side yard. Obama has conceded this later deal was a “boneheaded” mistake on his part, given that the Chicago news media had run multiple stories by that time reporting that Rezko was under scrutiny as part of a wide-ranging political corruption probe being conducted by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. One such story, in the Chicago Sun-Times, appeared on Dec. 31, 2005-the week before Obama bought the side strip from Rezko. The article reported that federal prosecutors had subpoenaed Rezko-related businesses as part of an investigation into the awarding of Illinois State Toll Highway Authority leases….

Rezko, who was indicted in October 2006, was convicted last June on 16 felony charges of fraud, money laundering and aiding and abetting a bribery scheme involving businesses seeking Illinois state business. His sentencing, at first scheduled for Oct. 28, was recently postponed to give his lawyers time to work out a cooperation agreement with federal prosecutors in their ongoing corruption probe, which is primarily focused on Democratic Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Blagojevich has not been charged and has denied any wrongdoing.

A recent lawsuit filed by Kenneth J. Conner, a former real estate analyst, against Mutual Bank of Harvey, Ill., for wrongful termination, includes an exhibit indicating for the first time that loan records of the Rezkos’ purchase of the vacant lot next door to Obama has come up in Fitzgerald’s investigation. The exhibit is an Oct. 19, 2006, e-mail distributed among bank executives referring to a “grand jury subpoena” for “Rita Rezko‘s loan” for the property at 5050 S. Greenwood Avenue-the lot adjacent to the Obamas. There is nothing in the lawsuit that indicates why federal prosecutors subpoenaed the records. But the subpoena was issued at a time when they were intensely examining all of Rezko’s business dealings. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office declined comment. LaBolt, the Obama spokesman, told NEWSWEEK that Obama has never been contacted by Fitzgerald’s prosecutors.

In the lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court last week, Conner claims that he was asked to review the bank’s appraisal of the property purchased by Rezko after the bank learned that he was selling a slice of it to Obama. Conner says he concluded that the bank’s appraisal of the property was “overvalued” by $125,000 and that, based on comparable prices of nearby properties, the vacant lot that the Rezkos paid $625,000 for was worth no more than $500,000. To back up his own conclusion, he included as an exhibit an appraisal that Obama paid for in November 2005, which assessed Rezko’s property to be worth $490,860-about the same as Conner’s assessment and also far less than Rezko and his wife paid for it. The president of Mutual, Amrish Mahajan, personally approved the loan to Rezko’s wife and had an “established relationship” with Rezko, according to the lawsuit.

Read the whole thing. You can be certain that everyone on Team Obama has.

The Newsweek story is by Michael Isikoff, one the nation’s premier investigative journalists. If Obama wins in nine days, we should begin a story count of how many scandal-related stories flow from Isikoff. Given the Chicago connections and the ongoing Rezko investigation, an Obama Administration could easily be the Second Golden Age of Isikoff.

The question of Patrick Fitzgerald’s future also grows more relevant. It should be an enormous scandal if a President Obama were to fire him, but the Chicago team knows this is a big threat and not just to their political ambitions. Perhaps in the closing sprint of the campaign some intrepid journalist will bother to ask about Patrick Fitzgerald’s future?

Good News for Norm (and McCain?) in Minnesota

Saturday, October 25, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

From a Star Tribune story on the new State Cloud State University survey:

A St. Cloud State University poll shows that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama leads Republican opponent John McCain 42 percent to 37 percent in Minnesota.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate race continues to display the volatility seen in polls throughout the season. After earlier surveys showed DFL challenger Al Franken with an edge, the SCSU poll shows Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman leading with 36 percent, compared with 27 percent for Franken. Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley trails with 16 percent.

The poll, which surveyed 509 people Oct. 14-22 and has a margin of sampling error of 4.6 percent, might be the first in state history to include cell-phone users, which make up about 15 percent of those polled.

Norm Coleman is one of the most intelligent, reasonable members of the United States Senate, a happy warrior from the center-right, whose work on the United Nations food-for-oil-for-terrorists scandal should by itself earn him a return ticket from Gopher State voters.

The attack on Coleman’s home –and the homes of other MN electeds including Democrats– unlike the Pittsburgh hoax, was a real and despicable manifestation of the lunatic fringe at work in this year’s election, and should focus the “Minnesota nice” voters on the need to rebuke the nutters of both left and right by sending an accomplished, talented and selfless public servant back to D.C. to provide balance in a Senate that will be dominated by Democrats. Minne-so-coldians know Coleman from his days as the Democratic mayor of St. Paul and as a genuinely good natured, deeply humble and very committed legislator. He deserves your help in the closing days of this campaign, which you can provide at www.colemanforsenate.com.

The Weekend Before The Weekend Before

Saturday, October 25, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

That’s the title of my new Townhall.com column.

And here’s Michael Barone’s musings on what an Obama-Pelosi-Reid troika might want to legislate should McCain fail to close the gap.

And here is McCain’s latest campaign ad which ought to focus the mind wonderfully:

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