Obama defenders will no doubt argue that Obama has no connection to the Blagojevich scandal, citing the FBI and U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s emphasis in yesterday’s press conference that the President-Elect is not implicated in this scandal.
But that’s what makes yesterday’s “it would be inappropriate to comment” stonewalling from Obama so bizarre. He said nothing beyond that it was a “sad day.” There was no glimpse of anger at the governor, no sense of betrayal in the tone of his words. He spoke as if Blagojevich had been in a car accident. If Obama is in the clear, why can he not say what he thinks of these disturbing revelations? Why didn’t he do what almost every other Democrat in the state did, and call for Blagojevich’s resignation?
On the issue of whether Obama spoke to Blagojevich, strategist David Axelrod probably did indeed misspeak, as even the Lightworker would probably find it reckless to repeatedly claim that he’d never spoken to Blagojevich if he in fact had and FBI recordings of those conversations exist. Having said that, this exculpatory explanation suggests that Axelrod regularly, on the record, gives definitive answers that he does not know are true.
But over at the Volokh Conspiracy, they put together a detailed timeline, and conclude:
From the evening of Nov. 10 until yesterday, Blagojevich, Obama, and his transition team acted in ways that are consistent with a knowledge of Blagojevich’s bribery attempt and a rejection of that attempt. What doesn’t fit easily with the timeline is Obama’s statement yesterday…
Yet, looking at this timeline of Blagogate, it seems quite possible that someone in the Obama Camp is either lying or at least not revealing what they know. I also find it hard to believe that Obama’s closest advisors were hiding major corruption from him, especially as he was making decisions about where to place Senate candidates such as Jarrett. Something important is missing from this story. Let’s hope that, whatever it is, the absent fact or explanation will allow the narrative to fit Obama’s denial more naturally.
Since by all accounts, the Obama camp refused Blagojevich’s bribery attempt, it would be extremely unwise to lie about it.
We haven’t gotten the whole story on this. We know the Obama camp didn’t want to play ball with Blagojevich, and that’s reassuring. But who heard what from the corrupt governor? What was the response? Did anyone go to Fitzgerald or the FBI? And who gave Blago his answer that all he would get in return was “appreciation”?