Barack Obama has gone out of his way to make his incoming administration Clintonesque.  Not only has he built 63% of his transition team from Clinton administration officials, he even picked Hillary Clinton for a Cabinet post.  Now Obama appears to have restored another Clinton tradition — in word parsing.  Ace has this picture from the December 2nd meeting with the National Governors Association:

That image belies Obama’s statement from Tuesday, following the arrest of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich:

“I had no contact with the governor or his office and so we were not, I was not aware of what was happening.”

Is this anything like parsing the meaning of the word “is”?  Obviously, Obama made contact with Blagojevich a week before the statement at the December 2nd NGA conference.  Did they discuss the Senate succession?  Probably not, but it’s not necessarily out of the question, either.

Barack Obama had better learn precision in the future.

Update: Verum Serum notes this photo as well, — taken from Blagojevich’s official newsletter dated 11/12/08, eight days after the election .  The topic of the story?  The Senate succession:

Governor Blagojevich confers with now President‐Elect Barack Obama

“Last night’s victory was bittersweet for Illinois ‐ as we gain a great President, we lose a great Senator.  And it goes without saying that our next Senator has big shoes to fill. Because it’s important that the best person for Illinois is selected, I want to be clear that the calendar won’t dictate our search. Instead, I want to ensure that Obama’s successor will understand and fight for the needs of average Illinoisans,” Governor Blagojevich said.

Governor Blagojevich will be looking for candidates that will support the President‐Elect’s agenda for the people; effectively represent the interests of the state of Illinois in the U.S. Congress; work with the  governor’s administration to achieve their shared goals of ensuring access to affordable healthcare, rebuilding Illinois’ infrastructure, improving the economic security and livelihoods of Illinois workers, and caring for our most vulnerable; and prioritize the average Illinoisan who is too burdened by taxes and economic hardship.

Does this mean that they discussed the Senate succession?  As I wrote above, not necessarily, and it’s worth pointing out that the photo itself is undated.  Neither, though, does it mean that they didn’t discuss it, either before or after the election, or both.