>Will this hurt Sen. Obama?

>From the New York Times:

Antoin Rezko, a once-powerful fund-raiser who helped propel the career of Senator Barack Obama, was found guilty on Wednesday by a federal jury of 16 counts, including fraud, money laundering and bribery in an influence-peddling scheme that touched the highest levels of the administration of Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois.

Mr. Rezko, 52, was acquitted on eight other charges, including attempted extortion. After the verdict, he surrendered to the authorities. Sentencing is Sept. 3.

While Mr. Obama’s friendship with Mr. Rezko has been debated on the campaign trail, no evidence surfaced in the courtroom to suggest that Mr. Obama was involved in any wrongdoing.

In a statement, Mr. Obama said that he was “saddened” by the verdict.

“This isn’t the Tony Rezko I knew,” he said, adding that the charges against Mr. Rezko “once again shine a spotlight on the need for reform.”

“I encourage the General Assembly to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent these kinds of abuses in the future,” Mr. Obama said.

While Sen. Clinton repeatedly referred to Sen. Obama’s relationship with Rezko, she was unable to capitalize on her tactics. The Republicans, foaming at the mouths, have already started to build a smear campaign against Obama. They compiled a list of media sources which chronicles Obama’s relationship with Rezko.

I’m not surprised that the Grand Old Party is seizing on this opportunity to degrade Sen. Obama’s character. As to this will work against the assumed Democratic nominee: the Republicans are basically shooting in the dark at this one. I’ll be surprised if they hit anything.

If you folks think Sen. Clinton and her political machine is dirty, just wait until the GOP pulls out their guns and ammunition. This is going to be the dirtiest general election campaign in the history of this country.