Obama Statement on Blagojevich Charges

MSNBC just read a statement from President Elect Barack Obama on today's arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Obama said he's saddened and sobered by the charges.

No mention of being "shocked." Interesting.

Random note: Blagojevich may be the most cumbersome name to type since Schwarzenegger. Anyone have a shorthand way of remembering how to spell it?

Update: Obama says he was not aware of Blagojevich's attempt to sell his Senate seat, a point, as we wrote earlier, was also made by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald this morning.

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    Seems easier when you think (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 02:08:18 PM EST
    "Blago" and "jevich" separately.

    As to Obama, he doesn't do "shocked" in my experience.

    Given the years of scuttlebutt about (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 02:13:55 PM EST
    Blago-jevich ;) - Obama would look like a naif if he were to say he was "shocked".

    The Chicagoans I've read and talked to seem to have taken a not "if", but "when" view of Blago's imminent fall.


    All of Illinois (none / 0) (#5)
    by STLDeb on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 02:33:18 PM EST
    I actually think ALL of Illinois not just Chicago was just waiting for him to fall, just wasn't expecting anything like THIS!!!!!  Oh my gosh, what arrogance on his part.  Did he really think he could just get away with this?

    As the previous governor is already in jail (none / 0) (#11)
    by Cream City on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 02:45:06 PM EST
    one would think that Blago, who was elected as the reformer to clean up that mess, might have figured out that he couldn't get away with it.

    Except that the Chicago Way is that the pols still get away with the money, waiting for them when they get out of the pokey, so they figure it is worth it!


    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Steve M on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 02:49:08 PM EST
    Reminds me of that guy who was elected to restore "trust and integrity" to Mark Foley's seat in Congress, and turned out to be no better.

    Oh yeah! (none / 0) (#16)
    by STLDeb on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 02:53:29 PM EST
    Sheesh!  I guess that's why you & I enjoying living our normal lives so we won't be called "hypocrites".  The old saying goes for politicians I guess ... do as I say, not as I do.

    What is it with politicians?  Do they think they are NEVER going to get caught in their lies, especially now with our 24/7 news, texting, facebook, etc.


    No better at all? Maybe just a tiny bit. (none / 0) (#37)
    by Don in Seattle on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 07:57:47 AM EST
    Sexually soliciting, online, a teenage male (a former Congressional page, no less) is the sort of scandal one resigns over. [At least, that was the rule in the pre-Larry Craig era.] Whereas paying a mistress hush money to conceal an extramarital affair is the sort of scandal one loses re-election over.

    The distinction may be small, but I think it is worth maintaining.


    Thinking the same thing (none / 0) (#15)
    by STLDeb on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 02:51:24 PM EST
    I was thinking the same thing.  Ironic, isn't it, that the former governor sits in a prison also.  Also, wasn't Blago going to, along with Durbin, send a letter to Pres. Bush to ask him to pardon Ryan.  Now isn't THAT ironic??!!??

    It may be the "Chicago" way but, still, WHY do politicians think they can get away with stuff like this?  I mean, he is VERY arrogant, do they forget who they are supposed to really be working for (the citizens of IL)?  He was only out for himself & himself alone (which I guess most politicians are for that).  It's a shame but power does corrupt.

    He started out his governorship on a bad note, he did not want to move into the governor's mansion in Springfield, IL.  He stayed in Chicago then billed the state everytime he flew into Springfield, which THAT was a nice chunk of change that the state had to pay.  Even when he had the IL congress in special session, he would fly in for a couple of hrs then fly back the same day.  Sheesh!


    Blago wanted to pardon Ryan (none / 0) (#39)
    by hazeleyes on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 09:04:57 AM EST
    ...could it be that Ryan, or some friend of Ryan's knows something about Blago and that the Blago investigation opened up a door for Ryan to scoot through? Power people have powerful friends and lots of strings they can pull. Ryan's been around forever - knows lots and lots. And lots.

    As the previous governor is already in jail (none / 0) (#47)
    by hazeleyes on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 09:24:08 AM EST
    It's amazing to me that the label "reformer" is still so potent in Illinois and Chicago. To me it represents the penultimate political hypocrisy - the pols know they're lying and so does the voting public. How can you be so naive?

    I was going to say the same thing (none / 0) (#17)
    by ruffian on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 02:54:57 PM EST
    Blago is easy because it has been the shorthand for a long time - then just remember
    the 'jevich' part.

    And yes, I can't imagine Obama ever admitting to shock, even if he felt it.


    I can't imagine Obama ever admitting to shock, eve (none / 0) (#44)
    by hazeleyes on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 09:15:53 AM EST
    : - )

    Obama 'saddened' not 'shocked' (none / 0) (#40)
    by hazeleyes on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 09:09:16 AM EST
    "Saddened" sounds more sympathetic. Which he may or may not feel. In this situation, "shocked" would seem silly, I think. Who can actually feel shocked about anything that happens in Illinois politics?

    It's funny (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Steve M on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 02:23:29 PM EST
    Being from Detroit, I find that saying or spelling Blagojevich comes naturally.  After you meet your 24th Dzierzawski it all starts to sound like Smith to you.

    Ditto. Heck, he's got vowels in his name (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Cream City on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 02:47:11 PM EST
    which makes it easy.  I had classmates with names full of s's and c's and z's and nary a vowel . . . but I even know how to breeze through those now.

    Personally, I find all those Anglo surnames odd.:-)


    I find all those Anglo surnames odd (none / 0) (#45)
    by hazeleyes on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 09:17:47 AM EST
    Ohy now stop that !!  : - )

    Blagojevich, Dzierzawski (none / 0) (#41)
    by hazeleyes on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 09:11:00 AM EST
    : - )

    Just what the country needs... (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 02:36:58 PM EST
    some more guilt-by-association junk, as the economy is in total free fall.  

    I saw a neighbor get booted out of their house by their mortgage company.  Very sobering event. They moved them out-lock, stock and barrel.

    If politicians really paid attention to the plight of their constituency, they wouldn't have time to be crooked.

    If politicians really paid attention to the plight (none / 0) (#42)
    by hazeleyes on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 09:12:59 AM EST
    Guess what?

    They don't care about constituents. They throw crumbs to the masses to get votes, they they continue on their corrupt way.


    some more guilt-by-association junk (none / 0) (#46)
    by hazeleyes on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 09:20:58 AM EST
    "guilt-by-association junk"

    Maybe. We'll see.

    Is it the 'guilt' or the 'association' that you deny?


    No mention (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 02:43:17 PM EST

    No mention of being "shocked." Interesting.

    Not remarkable at all.  This is Chicago after all.

    This is Chicago after all. (none / 0) (#43)
    by hazeleyes on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 09:14:13 AM EST
    : - )

    London Times has Axelrod (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Cream City on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 05:20:38 PM EST
    a couple of weeks ago, contradicting what the Obama camp said today  :

    Mr Obama said . . . insisted he had never discussed his Senate seat with the governor.  "I had no contact with the governor or his office and so I was not aware of what was happening. But as I said it is a sad day for Illinois."

    However, David Axelrod, Mr Obama's senior advisor, told Fox News on November 23 that the president-elect had spoken to Mr Blagojevic about the choice of his successor in the Senate.

    "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," Mr Axelrod said.

    You're straining to tie Obama to this story. Why? (none / 0) (#33)
    by Don in Seattle on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 09:20:28 PM EST
    "I had no contact with the governor" cannot reasonably be taken to mean "no contact of any kind ever." Obviously every Senator from every state has some sort of working relationship with her or his home-state Governor.

    Obviously Obama knew that as Illinois Governor, Blagojevich was tasked with replacing him in the Senate. So "I was not aware of what was happening" must mean that Obama was unaware of Blagojevich's bad behavior. No one, as far as I know, has any evidence that Obama is being untruthful here, and Patrick Fitzgerald specifically said that Obama was not implicated in the scandal in any way.

    Why are you trying to insinuate otherwise?


    Aha, I wondered where you were (none / 0) (#34)
    by Cream City on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 09:59:36 PM EST
    and could hardly wait for your straining at denial about this story.  Go away.  

    Nice to see you back, too. (none / 0) (#35)
    by Don in Seattle on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 10:44:07 PM EST
    I'm confused, I guess. Did I deny some charge that somebody made? It sounds to me like Blagojevich is guilty as hell.

    You know what? You forgot to answer my question.


    guilty as hell (none / 0) (#49)
    by hazeleyes on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 09:34:12 AM EST
    : - )

    Seems so!!


    straining to tie Obama to this story (none / 0) (#48)
    by hazeleyes on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 09:32:53 AM EST
    Innocent until proven guilty, ob course. But the investigation rolls on.

    And to answer your question "why"...

    Because we live in Chicagoland, that's why. Lots of historical justification for suspicion and even for anticipation of 'more to come', Mr. Seattle.

    Your political climate is verrrry different than ours.

    Or, gosh, is Chicagoland's rep so faded?


    Yes, I suppose, but... (none / 0) (#57)
    by Don in Seattle on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 02:29:34 PM EST
    Obama was just elected President. And if he hadn't been elected, there would be no Illinois open seat for Blagojevich to name.

    Blagojevich, on the basis of what he is charged with, is demonstrably an idiot. And his reputation in Illinois was shaky even before this week. (There has to be a reason he was not asked to raise his ugly head at the Convention.)

    Obama is demonstrably not an idiot, and he was not in the position to name his own Senate successor. I can well imagine that stories of what Blagojevich was trying to do filtered back to Obama's camp, but I can't imagine any scenario in which Obama would try to get a piece of Blagojevich's take.

    Even if I supposed Obama to be motivated by graft, which I don't for a second, this is penny-ante stuff. As Bill Clinton has shown, an ex-President with good speaking chops can write his own ticket, to the tune of tens of million$ per year. The idea that Obama would need or want a slice of Blagojevich's $300,000-per-year sinecure is ludicrous.

    Trying to tie Obama to the Blagojevich scandal makes about as much sense as trying to tie Hillary Clinton to the Elliot Spitzer scandal. Since there is no evidence implicating Obama in the scandal -- as Fitzgerald went out of his way to stress -- my question remains:

    Why would someone who claims to be a liberal strain at the facts to try to tie Obama to this story? I asked Cream City that question above, just as politely as I could muster myself to do it. She gave me, I think it's fair to say, the brush.

    An answer does suggest itself. I believe Cream City's head is still so stuck in the primary fight that she wants the worst about Obama to be true. She wants to replay every primary outrage -- every "Iron my shirt!", every "You're likeable enough," every "Hold on a second, sweetie." I believe she is a Miss Havisham (see Note), who thinks endlessly reliving the pain of those moments will keep her sharp.

    I believe she wants Obama to fail.


    Note: For the benefit of oculus and any young people here, "Miss Havisham" is a reference to a character in Great Expectations, a famous novel by the well known 19th-century British author Charles Dickens.


    London Times has Axelrod... (none / 0) (#56)
    by hazeleyes on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 10:39:46 AM EST
    Pardon me, but what in hell does the London Times know about Chicago politics, which is so deep, murky, and unpredictable that even if one follows avidly for decades it's still unfathomable? Chicago politics is justifiably infamous around the world, and that is NOT because of its simplicity and opaqueness.

    Quoting the LT weakens, not strengthens, your argument.

    Chicago bloggers know more than the LT can possibly know because they know the turf, study it from close range, keep scorecards, and are sharing info all the time. I am not tooting my own horn as being well-informed, but I can state with certainty that the Chi blogosphere is very well informed indeed and that I benefit.


    Just heard a report (none / 0) (#4)
    by Cream City on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 02:29:53 PM EST
    about the gov's wife involved, too -- and tapes of the gov talking about getting her a fancy, well-paying corporate board seat with the help of . . . the president-elect. It's just hearsay  from the gov on tape, I gather -- regardless of what some media outlets may do with it.

    that's all in the complaint and affidavit (5.00 / 0) (#6)
    by txpublicdefender on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 02:34:03 PM EST
    That's all in the complaint and affidavit.  The governor was talking about wanting to get Obama to do all sorts of things for him, his wife, etc. in order to appoint the person Obama wanted as his successor.  But, as time goes by, the Governor laments the fact that Obama won't give him anything but his appreciation, and refers to him with an expletive.

    Not [deleted expletive] (none / 0) (#7)
    by Cream City on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 02:35:46 PM EST
    as we learned to say from the transcriptions of the Nixon tapes?

    I think that in Nixonian time (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by rdandrea on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 02:51:07 PM EST
    it was [expletive deleted]

    Correct (none / 0) (#31)
    by cal1942 on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 05:47:30 PM EST
    she was there.. (none / 0) (#23)
    by jedimom on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 04:27:47 PM EST
    the complaint indicates Mrs Blago was actually in attendance at some conference with some union rep about a three way deal to get her a job, him a job, and get PEBO to help the Union (zero indication PEBO had any idea about this), with a certain candidate for senate being appointed. A package deal..

    p 73 Mrs Blago (none / 0) (#30)
    by jedimom on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 05:23:57 PM EST
    Oh this is brutal:

    ...Later, ROD BLAGOJEVICH's wife got on the phone and, during the continuing discussion of the critical Tribune editorials, stated that Tribune Owner can "just fire" the writers because Tribune Owner owns the Tribune. ROD BLAGOJEVICH's wife stated that if Tribune Owner's papers were hurting his business, Tribune Owner would do something about the editorial board. ROD BLAGOJEVICH then got back on the phone. ROD
    BLAGOJEVICH told Deputy Governor A to put together the articles in the Tribune that are on the topic of removing ROD BLAGOJEVICH from office and they will then have someone, like JOHN HARRIS, go to Tribune Owner and say, "We've got some decisions to make now." ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that "someone should say, `get rid of those people.'"...


    pg 73 (none / 0) (#27)
    by jedimom on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 05:19:21 PM EST
    Malkin -sigh- has the pg 73 clip posted of Patsy Blago in the background cursing up a storm saying F- them, hold them up! and ranting away (like I did when we had issues with a contractor :0))

    yeah methinks she is coming to a plea deal or a charge soon...



    CUBS (none / 0) (#29)
    by jedimom on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 05:21:42 PM EST
    As an added insult to Chicago, she is ranting to "Hold up that Cubs shxt", meaning block Zell from selling Wrigley thru the Illinois Lending Facility..

    Zell did the bankruptcy filing but left out Wrigley and the Cubs, but imagine the rage of the Cubs fans, Mrs Blago holding the Wrigley and Cubs hostage for payoffs? biiiig trouble..


    talking about getting her a fancy, well-paying co (none / 0) (#50)
    by hazeleyes on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 09:49:04 AM EST
    Michelle O. in fact has had a seat on at least one "fancy, well-paying corporate" board.

    And powerful people, whether they are qualified or not, often are asked or contrive to become directors of well-paying corporations whose upper-echelon execs and directors support the aspirations of their powerful friends and vice versa -- revolving-door-syndrome.

    That is one reason why so many corporations have problems -- their pet board members don't help keep them honest and in fact venal boards lead to the decline companies over time. Witness what's happening right now around the world -- without due-diligence of execs and board members things spin out of control.

    It might be that Mrs. O. is mentoring Mrs. B. And with Mr. O's new power, that could lead to lots of board memberships...

    Oops, that doesn't look too good.


    AP reports Sen. Durbin is calling (none / 0) (#18)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 02:58:50 PM EST
    Illinois Legislature to quickly pass a veto-proof bill calling for a special election for Obama's uncompleted term.  Says could combine with special elecction to fill Rahm Emanual's seat, which must be filled via special election as apposed to appointment by the Governor.

    Glad it is not my state (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by ruffian on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 03:29:12 PM EST
    The thought of another election just exhausts me

    The best first step, in my view, (none / 0) (#20)
    by KeysDan on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 04:01:03 PM EST
    is to get rid of Blagojevich, preferably by impeachment as fast as due process permits, inaugurate the Lt. Governor Pat Quinn as governor, and then appoint the senate replacement for the remaining two years of the Obama term. The senate replacement should be a solid citizen and someone who will not be a candidate in the next election, such as Abner Mikva (Hyde Park resident and former Federal Appeals Court Judge, District of Columbia and former Counsel for President Clinton).  Maybe steps like these will help to restore the integrity of Illinois politics.

    I wonder what the impeachment procedure (none / 0) (#21)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 04:14:06 PM EST
    is in the IL legislature?

    It's not "what" (none / 0) (#24)
    by Cream City on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 04:57:01 PM EST
    -- it's "how much" . . . as it's Illinois.  

    The Chicago Way is not just in Chicago.  With its dominance in the state, the legislature has its corruption, too.  I would bet that more will come out about others in the Springfield Gang, too.  Some of 'em like it there, even if Blagojevich only flew in when forced to do so.


    The best first step (none / 0) (#52)
    by hazeleyes on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 09:58:16 AM EST
    Way too late to 'restore' Illinois or Chicago reputations, but probably the wisest step politically.

    ...after vetting all candidates thoroughly, even Mikva...


    special election for Obama's and Emanual's seats (none / 0) (#51)
    by hazeleyes on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 09:55:34 AM EST
    Oh-oh! Warning signals are sounding!! The opposition is smiling!

    Open election risks those seats to "the opposition"! Or are the two sides really one, meaning there's no risk?!

    This should be interesting.


    ugh Drudge.. (none / 0) (#22)
    by jedimom on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 04:25:14 PM EST
    the ever helpful Drudge is linking to an Axelrod comment that PEBO spoke to the Governor about the candidates for his Senate seat, right below 'PEBO says he didnt speak to Blago about Senate seat'. ugh, and Durbin must want to smack Blago in the back of the head too and yell dumpkoff, this has to hurt Ryan pardon doesn't it, just the PR I mean?

    Whatever arrogance illness Spitzer caught, Blago has a double dose of it based on reading the complaint...

    ugh Drudge.. (none / 0) (#53)
    by hazeleyes on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 10:02:19 AM EST
    There may be other people to whom PEBO spoke about the matter - and timing of when he spoke may be the worst possible for his denial. Let's hope it doesn't pan out, but stay tuned.

    So (none / 0) (#25)
    by AlkalineDave on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 05:04:37 PM EST
    Drudge is a problem for linking something legitimate? http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/12/questions-arise.html

    Tapper really impressing me lately.. (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by jedimom on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 08:17:10 PM EST
    I am glad Tapper is around, he asks the questions the infatuated media passes on..
    I have a thing against Drudge, but I read him, thus I am part of the problem, but I try not to link to him to help others avoid my Drudgitis :0)

    Tapper has included two Updates now (none / 0) (#36)
    by andrys on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 01:07:49 AM EST
    Re the URL/page you've given (which will be difficult for some to load because it has almost 1000 notes on it),
    Jake Tapper had written at his ABCNews blog:
    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 now, there are two Updates to this, from ObamaTeam and then from Axelrod himself.

    (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.")

    something legitimate (none / 0) (#54)
    by hazeleyes on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 10:13:12 AM EST
    Interesting but nothing substantive, just rehash of everything so far.

    Sit tight and wait, everyone's backing and filling regarding when who said what, and when they said it, so it's CYA time. With some digging by FBI more will emerge. And don't forget hidden recording devices - their batteries have been changed and they're ready to go.

    Hear those shredding machines buzzing in Springfield and Chicago?


    Fitz wants to keep his job through Obama's admn... (none / 0) (#26)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 05:12:21 PM EST
    How can Obama appoint someone else to fill Fitz's position while Fitz is investigating circumstances surrounding the corruption in filling Obama's senate seat? or, I should say, how can he do this without it looking like a scandal in itself?

    Maybe he can, but it creates an interesting dilemma, now doesn't it?

    No Problem (none / 0) (#38)
    by daring grace on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 12:29:41 PM EST
    Obama is on record from earlier this year that he wants Fitzgerald to stay.

    "Barack Obama, March 14, 2008, in an exchange with columnist John Kass, who was sitting in on the editorial board's meeting:

    "Kass: "[You have told us before] that you would reappoint or seek to maintain Patrick
    Fitzgerald as the United States attorney."

    "Obama: "I think I said it here in the boardroom."

    "Kass: "Given the investigations that are going on now, if you're elected president ..."

    "Obama: "I still think he's doing a good job. Yes."

    "Kass: "Would you keep him? And why would you keep him?"

    "Obama: "I think he has been aggressive in putting the city on notice and the state on notice that he takes issues of public corruption seriously."

    "So that's it. If Fitzgerald wishes to stay--he has offered no clues and we have no special insights on his plans--then Fitzgerald stays."


    appoint someone else to fill Fitz's position while (none / 0) (#55)
    by hazeleyes on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 10:23:03 AM EST
    One would think it's illegal, but maybe not in Chicago or Illinois.

    So does it mean that in Illinois Obama can fire Fitz? It's been done before.