DECEMBER 17, 2008
Barack Obama’s chief of staff was recorded discussing Illinois’ vacant Senate seat with the state’s indicted governor 21 times, even though the president elect assures his staff did nothing wrong in the bribery scandal that has rocked the nation.
To prove it, Obama conducted a thorough internal review which, for unknown reasons, can’t be released until Christmas week when few pay attention to the news. Not surprisingly, the Camp Obama probe concluded that no one in the administration had “inappropriate discussions” with Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich concerning the search for Obama’s Senate replacement.
Perhaps the mysterious report will explain why Obama’s new chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, had so many discussions with Blagojevich about the Senate vacancy. Close friends and political allies, Emanuel and Blagojevich were recorded on FBI wiretaps having 21 different conversations about Obama’s Senate replacement.
Days after the November 4 presidential election Emanuel began pushing for Obama’s successor, strongly urging the corrupt governor—charged with trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat and for years the influence of his office—to appoint Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett.
Jarrett eventually dropped out of the running to become Obama’s senior advisor, but Emanuel continued pushing for candidates that his new boss obviously endorsed. He even gave the governor a list of candidates suitable to the Obama team.
Emanuel, a veteran legislator who usually basks in the media limelight, has been suspiciously elusive and tight-lipped regarding his repeated contact with Blagojevich. The entire Obama team has tried desperately to distance itself from Blagojevich, even though the soon-to-be commander-in-chief and the Illinois governor are close pals and longtime allies who have endorsed each other’s political careers and shared a major (convicted felon Antoin Rezko) donor.
In fact, Obama’s top advisor (David Axelrod) innocently revealed during a television interview last month that his boss had spoken to Blagojevich about his Senate replacement. When the massive Blagojevich indictment became public however, Axelrod issued a statement saying that he was mistaken, claiming that Obama and Blagojevich “did not then or at any time discuss the subject.”
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