The president-elect, who says his office "had no involvement in any deal-making," actually has some reason to be thankful to the Illinois governor.
As expected, President-elect Barack Obama’s press conference on Thursday morning, at which he announced the nomination of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to head the Department of Health and Human Services, featured a lot of talk about Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
It’s still unclear what, if any, contact Obama’s staff might have had with Blagojevich’s staff about the president-elect’s vacant Senate seat. But Obama took the opportunity to reiterate that he himself did not speak with Blagojevich about it, and also to promise a full accounting of any staff contacts. Obama promised to “gather all the facts,” saying, “We’ll have those in the next few days and we’ll present them. But what I am absolutely certain about is that my office had no involvement in any deal-making about my Senate seat. That I am absolutely certain of.”
It was at this point that a slight smile crept onto Obama’s face. He knew, as the reporters questioning him did, that Blagojevich essentially cleared the transition staff of any involvement in pay-for-play politics with the intemperate remarks about the president-elect and his aides that were documented in the government’s complaint against the governor.
“I won’t quote back some of the things that were said about me,” Obama said. “This is a family program, I know.”
This is almost certainly the most thankful anyone’s ever been to have been called a “motherfucker.”
Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon. More Alex Koppelman.
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