If this is the response we have received thus far, what can we expect for the next four years? This is a question likely to be asked by many:
Indeed, Obama himself – now caught in the lie that he had no knowledge that any of his aides were meeting with Blagojevich’s people about his senate seat – has shown a curious lethargy about the entire Blagojevich scandal, especially because he’s known since a week after the election that Blago was shopping his seat to the highest bidder (See Jim Lindgren’s timeline of the scandal that shows how Obama first, made it known he wanted his good friend Valerie Jarrett to get the appointment and within 24 hrs of a phonecon involving Blago and one of his advisors – probably Emanuel – he yanked her name from consideration and gave her a job in the White House.)
The Obama team will vigorously deny they knew anything about Blago’s attempts to sell his senate seat but that just doesn’t pass the smell test. Given how careless Blagojevich was about the spread of such information, it is inconcievable that the president-elect, whose Chicago and Springfield connections are as good as anyone’s, wouldn’t have been aware of what was going on.
But why should they not come forward with the truth? They didn’t break any laws. The reason they won’t and can’t reveal their knowledge in this matter is because to do so would be to reveal a hole in their moral universe that shows that they considered Blago’s auction of the senate seat “innocent” and nothing more than routine political horse trading – routine for the culture of corruption in Chicago and Springfield. Obama was smart enough to see a train wreck coming and pulled his good friend Jarrett from consideration while still allowing Emanuel to have input into the selection process. In short, there were no illegalities but rather an incredible ineptitude in recognizing a moral problem with Blago’s criminality.
It’s hard to bs a bs’er ….. unless you’re one who really believes that THE ONE will actually get around to paying allll our mortgages and filling allll our tanks with gas.
Personally — I’d settle for an ounce of truth.
The revelation [that Emmanuel did talk with Blago on several occasions about who would be appointed to the Senate seat] does not suggest Obama’s new gatekeeper was involved in any talk of dealmaking involving the seat. But it does help fill in the gaps surrounding a question that Obama was unable or unwilling to answer this week: Did anyone on his staff have contact with Blagojevich about his choice for the Senate seat?
Blagojevich and John Harris, his former chief of staff, face federal charges in an alleged shakedown involving the vacant Senate seat, which Illinois law grants the governor sole authority to fill.
Obama said Thursday he had never spoken to Blagojevich about the Senate vacancy and was “confident that no representatives” of his had engaged in any dealmaking over the seat with the governor or his team. He also pledged Thursday that in the “next few days” he would explain what contacts his staff may have had with the governor’s office about the Senate vacancy.
Emanuel, who has long been close to both Blagojevich and Obama, has refused to respond to questions about any involvement he may have had with the Blagojevich camp over the Senate pick. A spokeswoman for Emanuel also declined to comment Friday.
One source confirmed that communications between Emanuel and the Blagojevich administration were captured on court-approved wiretaps.
Another source said that contact between the Obama camp and the governor’s administration regarding the Senate seat began the Saturday before the Nov. 4 election, when Emanuel made a call to the cell phone of Harris. The conversation took place around the same time press reports surfaced about Emanuel being approached about taking the high-level White House post should Obama win.
Emanuel delivered a list of candidates who would be “acceptable” to Obama, the source said. On the list were Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, Illinois Veterans Affairs director Tammy Duckworth, state Comptroller Dan Hynes and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Chicago, the source said. All are Democrats.
Sometime after the election, Emanuel called Harris back to add the name of Democratic Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan to the approved list, the source said.
Blagojevich and Harris, who resigned his state post Friday, are charged with plotting to sell the selection of Obama’s replacement in exchange for lucrative jobs or campaign cash for the governor. Among other things, a government affidavit filed with the charges claimed that Blagojevich had kicked around the idea of using his Senate selection to leverage an appointment to an ambassadorship or Cabinet post in the Obama administration.
Federal authorities have not suggested Obama or his team knew about Blagojevich’s alleged schemes.
Testimonies in the pending Grand Jury proceedings will shed light on that issue ….. Wherein may lie the possibility of additional indictments —
In an interview, Schakowsky said she spoke to Emanuel on Thursday and he seemed unfazed by the controversy.
Schakowsky also spoke of a conversation she had with Emanuel shortly after he was named chief of staff. She said she called Emanuel “to get some intelligence” on whether Obama might approve of her selection as senator.
“He indicated that the president-elect would be fine with certain people and I was one of them,” Schakowsky said, adding that he did not share the identities of others on the list.
Schakowsky said it was natural for Obama to take an interest in the selection process for his Senate seat. “It makes perfect sense for the president-elect or his people to have some interaction about filling the seat he was vacating,” she said.
Though now working full-time on Obama’s transition, Emanuel has yet to resign his congressional seat. Illinois law has a different process for filling vacant House seats than Senate seats. When Emanuel resigns, a special election will be held for his replacement.
One alleged scheme outlined in the charges against Blagojevich involves the special election for Emanuel’s seat. The government affidavit said Blagojevich and others were recorded talking about an unnamed “president-elect adviser” concerned about the election for Emanuel’s congressional seat who might help the governor land a new job at a non-profit organization.
Meanwhile, how is this entire scenario affecting Obama’s image and the credibility of the Chosen One and his chosen White House Team? Let’s look at this insightful article:
No one with President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team has identified his close friend and adviser Valerie Jarrett as Senate candidate #1, as mentioned in the criminal complaint against Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but it’s clear that she is the person often mentioned.
There is a wide assumption by many that Jarrett “mysteriously” dropped out of the race for the U.S. Senate, and I’ve even heard some suggest that the Obama team got wind of Blagojevich’s alleged scheme to broker a deal for the seat appointment.
But there is nothing mysterious about what happened.
One week before the Nov. 4 election, Jarrett had multiple conversations with Sen. Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, with regards to the Senate position. This was in response to a number of Chicago allies asking her to consider taking an appointment for the remaining two years of the seat.
That doesn’t come as a surprise to those familiar with the city’s politics. A former top official with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley who is now CEO of a real estate company, she has served in many civic positions, and has had her name mentioned for various posts, including even running for mayor one day.
At the same time, multiple sources have told me that supporters of Jarrett were sending out feelers to black ministers and community activists to gauge the level of interest in her going after the job as a way to solidify support before it coalesced around another candidate or candidates.
Then after Obama’s victory, the speculation immediately turned to whether she would go after the job. It was well known that Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. wanted the post, and many were placing bets as to which way Obama would go, especially since the congressman was one of his national co-chairs. It was assumed that Obama would side with Jarrett, but he had not made a decision one way or another on who should take his place in the U.S. Senate.
One of the reasons Obama didn’t declare her as his choice for the seat is because he was considering who would serve as his key advisers. Now that he was headed to the White House, his world is even smaller than it was when he was running for president, and he is further walled off from the rest of the world. He often said that Jarrett was one of his most trusted advisers, and having her at his side was important for a variety of reasons.
That’s why on November 9, while she was in New York on business, he offered her the job as senior advisor to the president and assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs and public liaison. This position has her reporting directly to him and places her in the inner sanctum of the president of the United States, and ensures that her voice will be heard on nearly every issue.
I know the date well because on November 10, she confided in me that she had been offered the job, but I couldn’t report anything until the announcement was about to be made. I had been working the phones to ascertain what jobs were being offered to a litany of Obama campaign officials, and she was certainly high on the list because of her relationship with Obama.
On November 12, with speculation increasing that she was going after the job, she announced that she was not interested. And on November 14, I reported that she had been officially named to the post. And on November 16, Obama officially resigned his U.S. Senate seat, putting the choice for a replacement into overdrive.
No one still knows whether the Obama camp found out about Blagojevich’s alleged wheeling and dealing for the seat. But the notion that Jarrett’s decision to drop out of the running because of Pay Rod just doesn’t jive with the facts.
Interesting (or notable, at best), that for every article presenting a realistic time line or assessment of the affiliation between Obama, his team and Blago’s office — there is an outpouring of Obamatron comments generated to defend The One.
Makes you wonder what (and why) the Obamatrons have been told to attack, doesn’t it?
Hope may spring eternal — but the audacity of hope that Fitz won’t indict someone near The One may be beyond hope ….