He never spoke to Blagojevich personally, he insists, and is “absolutely certain” there was no dealmaking by anyone on his team, which is quite an assertion when the facts haven’t been gathered yet. Isn’t Jesse Jackson Jr’s whole defense that you can never be sure what your cronies are up to, since occasionally they’ll go rogue and try to make deals on your behalf unbeknownst to you (Jackson Sr insists it wasn’t him)? Assuming The One’s right that his own aides would never act so recklessly, the contrast tells you a lot about Junior’s management discipline.
As for the fact-gathering, there’s an easy place to start.
The presser was called ostensibly to talk about the economy and introduce Daschle, his new health-care quarterback, but the number of questions about the scandal shows that the media’s got Blago on the brain. Skip ahead to 1:45 for his initial statement about it and then to 13:00 or so for Q&A, including him calling on Blagojevich again to quit. (84 percent of Illinoisans agree.) Highlights come at 15:30, when he tries to contain his glee at being cursed out in the transcripts for refusing to play ball, and then again a minute later when a reporter asks him the question on everyone’s mind. The One, for once, has no easy answers.