Obama Takes Questions on Blago

Amanda Carpenter
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Posted: Dec 11, 2008 11:24 AM
Obama took some questions after his presser announcing the nomination of Tom Daschle to HHS. Obviously, with everything going on in Illinois, nobody really wanted to talk about Daschle and universal health care. Although, as Daschle reminded, anyone can go to change.gov to submit their own (sanctioned) ideas/suggestions for their plan.

A reporter asked Obama how Governor Blagojevich knew Obama's staff wasn't going to play ball with his requests. This is an excellent question because it doesn't accuse Obama of any wrong doing, but it gets to the heart of the issue: what communication was going on between Obama and Blagojevich? Obama says "none", Axelrod said they had lots of talks (although he says he "misspoke") but Obama's blanket denial seems off-base. Wouldn't it be natural for the former Illinois junior senator, or his staff, to have a discussion with the Governor about who may take his vacated seat? The answer is "yes" and yet Obama is being really defensive.

Obama's answer was not yes: "I can't presume to know what was in the mind of the Governor of this process, so I won't even speculate on that, all I can do is read what was in the transcripts like the rest of you who have read it and shake my head."

Obama also said he would "gather all the facts about any staff contacts that i may have -- that may have taken place between the transition office and the governor's office and we'll have those in the next few days and we'll present them."