Hannity, Rove repeated refuted claim about Obama's house

››› ››› CHRISTINE SCHWEN

Fox News' Sean Hannity and Karl Rove each repeated the claim that Sen. Barack Obama paid below market value for his house, despite the fact that the sellers reportedly said that they did not cut the price for Obama.

On separate programs on August 21, Fox News co-host Sean Hannity and Fox News contributor Karl Rove each repeated the claim that Sen. Barack Obama paid below market value for his house. In fact, the sellers reportedly said that they did not cut the price for Obama.

On Hannity & Colmes, Hannity said that Obama got "a property next to this convicted slum lord, Tony Rezko. His property is $300,000 below value. The other guy paid full price. He buys part of Rezko's property, and lo and behold, what did we find? That the convicted slum lord, with the help of Barack Obama, got $14 million from the state of Illinois, thanks to Barack's help." On On the Record, after host Greta Van Susteren asked about Sen. John McCain's reported inability to say how many houses he and his wife own, Rove said that the controversy "does open up the question of how did you buy a house for cheaper than the market price, and then either the day after or that day, the -- Rezko buys the next-door lot at full price and then sells you a part of it so that you can have as big a yard as you want to have, and this guy is a dirty guy who's now on his way to the federal pen."

In fact, as Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted, Bloomberg News reported that "[t]he couple who sold Barack Obama his Chicago home said the Illinois senator's $1.65 million bid 'was the best offer' and they didn't cut their asking price because a campaign donor bought their adjacent land, according to e-mails between Obama's presidential campaign and the seller." The Obamas subsequently bought a portion of Rezko's lot, According to documents posted on the Obama campaign website, Obama paid Rezko $104,166 for the piece of property in question, while the property was appraised at $40,500, as Media Matters has repeatedly noted. Obama told the Chicago Tribune in a March 14 interview how the price for the parcel of land was determined: "[T]he appraisal did note that the other parcel, Rezko's remaining parcel, would be fully developable if he sold this to me. And so rather than pay the appraised price, I paid one-sixth of the cost of his property. He agreed to sell that 10-foot strip."

Additionally, while the Chicago Sun-Times reported that "Obama wrote letters to city and state officials supporting his political patron Tony Rezko's successful bid to get more than $14 million from taxpayers to build apartments for senior citizens" in 1998 -- several years before Obama purchased his house in 2005 -- it also reported that Obama spokesperson Bill Burton stated that he did not "know that anyone specifically asked him to write this letter." Rezko attorney Joseph Duffy said that Rezko had not asked Obama to write the letters.

Hannity has previously made false statements about the purchase of Obama's home.

From the August 21 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

HANNITY: But it does, as Amanda [Carpenter, national political reporter for Townhall.com] point out, bring up the issue of Tony Rezko. Now, here Barack Obama gets a property next to this convicted slum lord, Tony Rezko. His property is $300,000 below value. The other guy paid full price. He buys part of Rezko's property, and lo and behold, what did we find? That the convicted slum lord, with the help of Barack Obama, got $14 million from the state of Illinois, thanks to Barack's help. Now, what do you care more about, Michael?

MICHAEL BROWN (Democratic strategist): I'm sure, Sean, at the top of the Republican talking points, it says "distraction politics."

From the August 21 edition of Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:

VAN SUSTEREN: We continue now with Fox News contributor Karl Rove. All right. Well, who wins this, and where's this one going?

ROVE: Well, nowhere good. Look, Senator Obama deliberately misstated the -- he said that was a true quote, that John McCain couldn't remember how many houses he had. Remember, the question from Mike Allen of Politico was, "How many houses do you and your wife own?" Mrs. McCain is a wealthy woman. She owns a number of, not only homes, some of which, for example, her elderly aunt lives in, but investment properties.

And so Senator McCain has filled out forms on which that information is, but, you know, he can't recall how many are considered houses, how many are considered investment properties. He's filled out a form on that in the past. But, you know, it'd be better if he had said, "Well, you know what? We've got X and Y." The fact that he didn't created this problem.

However, having said that, this is not wise for Barack Obama to pursue, because it does open up the question of Rezko. It does open up the question of how did you buy a house for cheaper than the market price, and then either the day after or that day, the -- Rezko buys the next-door lot at full price and then sells you a part of it so that you can have as big a yard as you want to have, and this guy is a dirty guy who's now on his way to the federal pen. What the heck were you doing, doing deals with a crook?

VAN SUSTEREN: But is he -- he said it was a boneheaded thing that he did. I mean, it's prob-- look, everyone who buys a house tries to get the best deal.

ROVE: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know? And even in the trial, Rezko -- they said that there was no suggestion Senator Obama had done anything criminal.

ROVE: Well, but here's -- I grant that. But here's the point: Why bring up an issue where you have to then begin defending your dealings with a guy who's on his way to the federal pokey who's now going to be sentenced one week before the general election?

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity
Show/Publication
Hannity & Colmes
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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