The controversy over whether Barack Obama has been in contact with Gov. Rod Blagojevich about filling his vacated Senate seat took another turn, with two reports of alleged conversations now retracted by their sources.
Obama told reporters yesterday he had no contact with Blagojevich about filling the seat. But a Nov. 5 news report said the president-elect planned to discuss the subject in a meeting with the Illinois governor that day. Source
Obama Letter To Blagojevich Dec 03 - Click On The Image To Enlarge It
Barack Obama press conference, Wednesday 10 December 2008.
The youtube video With His first comment on the issue says he had no contact with the governor or his office. 7 days after the meeting on December 1st
5 or 6 days after signing the letter......
December 09, 2008 3:37 PM
"President-elect Obama today said "I had no contact with the governor or his office and so we were not, I was not aware of what was happening."
But on November 23, 2008, his senior adviser David Axelrod appeared on Fox News Chicago and said something quite different.
While insisting that the President-elect had not expressed a favorite to replace him, and his inclination was to avoid being a "kingmaker," Axelrod said, "I know he's talked to the governor and there are a whole range of names many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them."
UPDATE: An Obama Transition Team aide says that Axelrod misspoke on Fox News Chicago.
UPDATE #2: Axelrod this evening issued a statement saying. "I was mistaken when I told an interviewer last month that the President-elect has spoken directly to Governor Blagojevich about the Senate vacancy. They did not then or at any time discuss the subject."
Related November 5 Story at KHAQ In Advance Of The Obama-Blago Meeting Removed From Site
A related November 5 story at KHAQ in advance of the Obama-Blago meeting that is no longer available at KHAQ's site is here at my web host It has been taken down from the related web site, and I believe its Google cache has also been removed.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008 at 10:39 a.m.
CHICAGO, ILL. -- Now that Barack Obama will be moving to the White House, his seat in the U.S. Senate representing Illinois will have to be filled.
That's one of Obama's first priorities today.
He's meeting with Governor Rod Blagojevich this afternoon in Chicago to discuss it.
Illinois law states that the governor chooses that replacement.
The station removed the links to the archived stories today, however, and posted an explanation after they were circulated on Internet blogs and reported by WND.
"KHQA TV wishes to offer clarification regarding a story that appeared last month on our website ConnectTristates.com. The story, which discussed the appointment of a replacement for President Elect Obama in the U.S. Senate, became the subject of much discussion on talk radio and on blog sites Wednesday. The story housed in our website archive was on the morning of November 5, 2008. It suggested that a meeting was scheduled later that day between President Elect Obama and Illinois Governor Blagojevich. KHQA has no knowledge that any meeting ever took place. Governor Blagojevich did appear at a news conference in Chicago on that date."
December 2nd meeting with the National Governors Association:
Let's also not forget that Obama spoke at the National Governors Association conference last week, and that Blago was there:
Photo taken from Blagojevich’s official newsletter dated 11/12/08, eight days after the election . The topic of the story? The Senate succession: (Link Is Now Down -Surprise Surprise.)
It's a little difficult to believe that Obama and Blago "had no contact" during the conference.
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.
My take: Barack Obama was, at best, trying to limit his "no contact" statement to the last few days of Blago's troubles without saying so.
But if so, why did David Axelrod feel the need to back off his assertion of November 23 that "I know he’s [Obama] talked to the governor [about the Senate vacancy] and there are a whole range of names many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them"?
Somebody's pants are on fire.
It seems surreal that this would be "breaking news" a full 21 hours after Obama's "no contact" statement. But there it is.
I believe Obama's call for Blago's immediate resignation is as much a matter of self-protection as it is any interest in getting rid of a corrupt governor. The faster Blago goes away, the more quickly Obama's apparent untruth becomes "old, irrelevant news" to Old Media.
IL Governor Blagojevich arrested on corruption charges
U.S. Attorneys say federal charges accuse Blagojevich of trying to benefit financially from his ability to appoint President-elect Barack Obama's replacement in the U.S. Senate, essentially putting a 'for sale' sign on that office.
The FBI says wiretaps last month caught Blagojevich conspiring to sell or trade the vacant Senate seat for personal benefits for himself and his wife, Patti. FBI officials say even seasoned investigators were stunned by what they heard on those tapes. The 76-page FBI affidavit contends that governor was intercepted on wiretaps last month conspiring to shake people down, and it alleges he even considered appointing himself if he wasn't offered anything of value. On the intercepted phone calls, Blagojevich also allegedly discussed getting campaign funds for himself or possibly a post in the president's cabinet or an ambassadorship once he left the governor's office.
The governor has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.