No discussions between Blago and Obama? Maybe

posted at 11:36 am on December 10, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, President-elect Barack Obama tried to distance himself from Governor Rod Blagojevich after his arrest on corruption charges related to his pending appointment to Obama’s now-vacant Senate seat.  Obama himself said that he had had no contact with Blagojevich about the open seat and had no awareness of Blagojevich’s attempts to sell it to the highest bidder.  Even after Jake Tapper pointed out that Obama’s right-hand man, David Axelrod, claimed that Obama and Blagojevich had been in contact, Team Obama issued a denial.

So how do they explain this contemporaneous report from KHQA (via Gateway Pundit)?

Ill. governor meeting with Obama today
By Carol Sowers
Wednesday, November 05, 2008 at 10:39 a.m.

CHICAGO, ILL. — Now that Barack Obama will be moving to the White House, his seat in the U.S. Senate representing Illinois will have to be filled.

That’s one of Obama’s first priorities today.

He’s meeting with Governor Rod Blagojevich this afternoon in Chicago to discuss it.

Jim also has a press release from Blagojevich’s office, but it doesn’t explicitly discuss any meeting with Barack Obama in the same manner as KHQA’s report.  And a search of the two Chicago newspapers, which were in position to report on this story, shows that the KHQA report may not have been accurate.  The Sun-Times reported on November 6th — the day after this report — that Blagojevich himself stated that he had no contact with Obama:

When it comes to filling the remaining two years of Obama’s term, Blagojevich said he intends to turn over the vetting process for Obama’s successor to several high-level staffers in his office whom he wouldn’t name. The governor also said he intends to appoint someone no later than Jan. 1 and possibly before Christmas.

“I’ve never had more friends than I do today. And when I make the final decision, I won’t have nearly as many as I have now,” he said.

Saying he had no favorite candidate yet, Blagojevich said he has not spoken to Obama about the matter but would give “a great deal of weight” to the recommendations the president-elect might make.

The governor said some suitable Obama replacements included Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago), Veteran Affairs secretary Tammy Duckworth, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) but cautioned against “reading anything into” his naming of those people.

Blagojevich had no particular reason to obfuscate at that point.  In fact, he’d have had more reason to brag, especially since it looks now like Blagojevich wanted to increase the commercial potential for the appointment.  It appears that the KHQA report might have been mistaken, although it’s certainly a good point to pursue if evidence appears of complicity on behalf of Obama or his staff in Blagojevich’s shake-down attempts.

However, KHQA stuck with its reporting on November 8th (via Stop the ACLU):

Duckworth comments on consideration for Senate
By Alexis Hunt
Saturday, November 08, 2008 at 9:48 p.m.

QUINCY, IL — Now that Barack Obama will be moving to the White House, his seat in the U.S. Senate representing Illinois will have to be filled.

Obama met with Governor Rod Blagojevich earlier this week to discuss it.  Illinois law states that the governor chooses that replacement. There’s already been speculation about his selection…from Congressman Jesse Jackson, Junior to Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth.

Stay tuned!

One last note: I’d say that these five candidates named by Blagojevich could get mixed-and-matched to Candidates 1-5 in the Fitzgerald affadavit.  I bet Blagojevich wished he’d stuck to the idea of a committee selection process now, too.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

Entelechy on December 10, 2008 at 1:42 PM

That’s exactly what The Note is saying. a capella linked to this in the Headlines.

The media should have done this before the election!

What the stunning charges leveled against Gov. Rod Blagojevich, D-Ill., mean for the heretofore flawless transition:

1. The underbelly of the Obama political operation, with all its Chicago tints and taints, is now fair game for reporters looking for a story.

2. Obama will not control a news cycle for a while — maybe until Christmas.

3. David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel (and Valerie Jarrett and Andy Stern, and especially Senate Candidate 5) will cringe with every BlackBerry vibration as Blagojevich and his chief of staff are pressed to name names by a no-BS prosecutor.

4. The culture of corruption has put its home on the market and is well into the process of moving to the other side of the aisle.

5. The most open and transparent transition in American history just by necessity got more closed and opaque.

6. Obama’s still-cautious political enemies have what they need to advance the story: a contradiction (and one involving no less an eminence than Axelrod).

INC on December 10, 2008 at 1:51 PM

How is than an Obama issue?

DeathToMediaHacks on December 10, 2008 at 12:43 PM

It wasn’t, until He Himself corrected the record. Cardinal Axelrod made a statement some weeks ago that confirmed in no uncertain terms that someone in the Office of the President-elect (OOTPE) had spoken to Gov. Blago. This statement stood un-corrected until yesterday.

The proof of the contact between the Gov’s office and the OOTPE is in the reported transcripts, where the Gov is heard cursing The One for not playing ball. If there was no contact, why the profane outburst at The One?

Why doesn’t the OOTPE just come out and say “Blago did in fact want a quid pro quo from Obama, and for that reason we said no, and removed our preferred candidate from contention”.

As I read and hear analysis of the complaint, those appear to be the facts.

Why deny having done the right thing? I believe this is an automatic response from the OOTPE, and something we will hear more often than in any previous administration. Just deny all accusations, suggestions and implications of wrong-doing. Carte Blanc.

Gee….isn’t that the Clinton strategy?

BobMbx on December 10, 2008 at 1:53 PM

Nothing wrong with Obama telling Blago who his preference for the replacement would be. In fact, I would be suprised if he didn’t.

percysunshine on December 10, 2008 at 11:47 AM

Absolutely. The claim that there was NO contact raises even more red flags, at least for me.

If Obama had said something like, “we had some contact with the Governor’s office, but only discussed generalities and offered a few names for possible consideration,” that would be very plausible… and expected.

No contact? Please.

malclave on December 10, 2008 at 1:58 PM

Yes Bobmbx

Hit back harder, tell a bigger lie, give them nothing, delay answers, keep liabilities around long enough to see how badly they can hurt you…and then…under the bus they go!

IlikedAUH2O on December 10, 2008 at 1:59 PM

The One’s horse may have thought something was being given for the seat. Disappointment. Awkward.

IlikedAUH2O on December 10, 2008 at 2:00 PM

Wait and see, someone will try and destroy all connection between hussein and Blago. Sounds to me that Blago just wanted what hussein has, and went about it the same way he did, but jumped the gun to fast.
I guess he missed lesson
#1.Patients young grasshopper!.

christene on December 10, 2008 at 2:31 PM

Anybody else think Obama or someone from his campaign fingered Blagojevich to Fitzgerald? These sorts of wiretaps normally go on for many months.

jim m on December 10, 2008 at 4:25 PM

Anybody else think Obama or someone from his campaign fingered Blagojevich to Fitzgerald? These sorts of wiretaps normally go on for many months.

jim m on December 10, 2008 at 4:25 PM

The Feds have been after the Gov for several years. This was just serendipity, or bad karma, depending on your political shade.

BobMbx on December 10, 2008 at 4:40 PM

Wow, first time I’ve been ‘Fisked’! I’m honored, even if

DeathToMediaHacks on December 10, 2008 at 12:43 PM

didn’t cite my original post.

Be that as it may, there is sufficient evidence, documentation, literature, etc. that points to an environment of corruption that seeps to the very marrow of Chicago/Illinois politics. For example, Kenneth Timmerman’s book, Shakedown
offers credible evidence of less than altruistic motives behind Jesse Jackson’s career. Al Capone is known to have ‘dozens’ of Chicago politicians on his payroll. Does that mean every citizen in Chicago and Illinois is corrupt? Absolutely not. It does suggest that anyone getting involved in Chicago/Illinois politics and rises to State/National Prominence is likely to be ‘dirty’.

SeniorD on December 10, 2008 at 4:49 PM

According to this NewsBusters article, the original KHQA stories have now been purged from their website. This story needs an update!!

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2008/12/10/obama-busted-his-no-contact-statement-oh-i-think-so

JannyMae on December 10, 2008 at 5:52 PM

ChiTcago politicians know how to play the game. Deny, deny, DENY!

What B. Hussein Obama doesn’t understand is there are a LOT more people who will be digging for every scrap of dirt they can get from this, and dirt they will certainly find.

How long was the shortest time in office for a sitting President? I’m getting the feeling that any previous record is in danger. :oP

DannoJyd on December 10, 2008 at 7:58 PM

Anybody else think Obama or someone from his campaign fingered Blagojevich to Fitzgerald? These sorts of wiretaps normally go on for many months.

jim m on December 10, 2008 at 4:25 PM
The Feds have been after the Gov for several years. This was just serendipity, or bad karma, depending on your political shade.

BobMbx on December 10, 2008 at 4:40 PM

The timing of this definitely stinks, and has caused me to wonder if Fitzgerald learned of some effort coming from Team Obama to end his investigation in some manner.

DannoJyd on December 10, 2008 at 8:01 PM

I think the taped quotes by Blagojevich about Obama make it pretty clear that Obama did nothing wrong. But it’ll be fun to watch you guys grasp at straws for the next week or so.

crr6 on December 10, 2008 at 11:42 AM

You don’t think that, you hope that.

theregoestheneighborhood on December 11, 2008 at 12:41 AM

Seems like a red herring to me. Nothing wrong with Obama telling Blago who his preference for the replacement would be. In fact, I would be suprised if he didn’t. A politician lying to the media? Chuckle. Like that has never happened before.
percysunshine on December 10, 2008 at 11:47 AM

Exactly. The most telling aspect of this in terms of Obama is that his choice, Valerie Jarrett, pulled her name out of contention weeks ago and got a job as an important Obama adviser. If Obama was willing to “play ball” with Blago, then Jarrett would still be in the running and things would have been promised. As is, the affadavit has Blago cursing Obama (multiple times) for not being offered anything. Or if anything was offered it was small time, something within the bounds of quid pro quo politics. In short, this isn’t an Obama scandal. Obama’s senate seat is involved, btu that’s about it.

DeathToMediaHacks on December 10, 2008 at 11:55 AM

Your faith that Obama is without corruption is touching, but naive. Unless, of course, it’s cynical, but well-paid.

theregoestheneighborhood on December 11, 2008 at 12:42 AM

Comment pages: 1 2