ABC’s Jake Tapper catches Obama (or David Axelrod) in a little misstatement:
“Obviously like the rest of the people of Illinois I am saddened and sobered by the news that came out of the US attorney’s office today,” said President-elect Obama this afternoon in Chicago, speaking of the criminal complaint against Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich for corruption. “But as this is a ongoing investigation involving the governor I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to comment on the issue at this time.”
Asked what contact he’d had with the governor’s office about his replacement in the Senate, 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.”
And later on in the post, Tapper details past Obama/Blago connections:
On the Chicago TV show “Public Affairs with Jeff Berkowitz” on June 27, 2002, state Sen. Obama said, “Right now, my main focus is to make sure that we elect Rod Blagojevich as Governor, we…”
“You working hard for Rod?” interrupted Berkowitz.
“You betcha,” said Obama.
“Hot Rod?” asked the host.
“That’s exactly right,” Obama said.
In 2004, then-Gov. Blagojevich enthusiastically endorsed Obama for the Senate seat after he won the nomination, and Obama endorsed Blagojevich for his 2006 re-election race in early 2005.
In the Summer of 2006, then-U.S. Sen. Obama backed Blagojevich even though there were serious questions at the time about Blago’s hiring practices.
At the time, numerous state agencies had had records subpoenaed, with U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald telling authorities he was looking into “very serious allegations of endemic hiring fraud” with a “number of credible witnesses.”
Should Obama have been able to spot Blago’s corruption a mile away? You betcha!