Breaking: Obama finally releases report on staff’s contacts with Blagojevich; Update: No quid pro quo

posted at 4:41 pm on December 23, 2008 by Allahpundit

4:30 p.m. on December 23rd, when both he and Emanuel are literally thousands of miles away. Well played, Messiah.

Here’s the five-page PDF. Updates coming.

Update: In brief: Obama talked to Emanuel and Axelrod about his preferences for the seat, then Emanuel talked to Blago once or twice and to Blago’s chief of staff (who’s also been indicted) four times to relay those preferences. The NYT had considered it a “leading unanswered question” whether Team Barry actually gave them a short list of preferred candidates; now we know. No offers of any quid pro quo were made, but who knows if Blagojevich assumed that appointing someone on The One’s list might earn him something from the administration down the line.

The most interesting bit comes at the top of page 3, in the explanation for why Valerie Jarrett was initially touted by CNN as Obama’s top choice and then suddenly untouted: According to the memo, Emanuel was confused about whether Obama wanted him to push any single candidate for the seat. It was he, supposedly, who took the initiative and recommended Jarrett to Blago, thinking Obama would want him to; only “later” did he learn that The One didn’t want to express any preference beyond the short list. Question: Um, is that likely?

See also the bottom of page 3 for a friendly chat between Jarrett herself and an Illinois SEIU chief, who told her that Blagojevich had told him he wanted to be Health and Human Services head. They both agreed that “it would never happen,” but if you’re looking for evidence that people in Obama’s inner circle knew that Blago was interested in a position with Team Barry, there you go. Exit question: If Rahm only had five or six calls with Blago and his aides, where’d the Sun-Times get the number 21 from?


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