Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Continuing Saga of Rod Blagojevich: Barack Obama strikes back

The latest in the never-ending saga of Rod Blagojevich is that President-elect Barack Obama is confident that his staff did not try and cut any sort of a deal for his old senate seat.
With the national spotlight focused on the Blagojevich scandal following the governor’s arrest Tuesday, Obama tried to explain to the nation the political culture in his home state of Illinois.

“I was appalled and disappointed by what we heard in those transcripts,” the president-elect said. “Here in Illinois, as I think is true across the country, there is a tradition of public service where people are getting in it for the right reasons and to serve. But there’s also a tradition where people view politics as a business.”

Obama also once again suggested Blagojevich should step aside as governor.

“We have to reclaim a tradition of public service that is about people and their lives and their hopes and their dreams, and it isn’t about what’s in it for me. And I think the public trust has been violated. Let me absolutely clear, I do not think that the governor at this point can effective serve the people of Illinois,” Obama said.[...]

“I have never spoken to the governor on this subject. I am confident that no representatives of mine would have any part of any deals related to this seat. I think the materials release by the U.S. attorney reflect that fact,” Obama said. “I’ve asked my team to gather the facts of any contacts with the governor’s office about this vacant seat, so that we can share them with you over the next few days.”

Later, Obama added: “But what I’m absolutely certain of is that our office had no involvement in any deal-making around my senate seat. That, I’m absolutely certain of. That would be a violation of everything that this campaign has been about. And that’s not how we do business.”

As for his former U.S. Senate seat, Obama said he wants “to see is a quick resolution of this issue. I want to make sure that the next senator from the state of Illinois is carrying a forward tradition of service, that the next senator from Illinois is not tainted by what has taken place so far.”
John Kass writes that by Chicago standards, Blagojevich is not crazy.

But is that all there is to the story? No way. Last night, Jon Stewart touched kids and here's what he had to say before that.
"Rod Blagovich," blurts Lou Dobbs, the CNN commentator, shown on tape..

"Lou Dobbs cant say a foreign-sounding name, what a surprise" Comedy Central's Jon Stewart says, with his Daily Show take on the many accusations facing Gov. Rod Blagojevich, accused in a federal complaint of trying to sell the vacant Senate seat of President-elect Barack Obama.

"What isn't he being charged with?" Stewart asks - for the answer, in the clip above, viewer discretion is advised,

The governor has moved on from being "a sleazy politician," Stewart suggests, to something out of a 19th Century German children's fable.

"Sadly," Stewart concludes, "graft is nothing new to Illinois" - noting that three of the last seven governors have landed in jail.

Comparing the percentage of that record with the numbers of people who are estimated to get away with murder each year, he concludes: "You are more likely to end up in jail if you become governor of Illinois than if you are a murderer."
You can vote on what we call the scandal! At 11:24 CT, gBay and Corruptapolooza were tied at 26%.

Prosecutors are unsure at this time were Tony Rezko will testify at Blago's trial.

The FBI did contact Sam Zell.

Both Blago and his chief of staff were at work this morning.

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