Sunday, December 14, 2008


Barack Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is being urged to resign. After days of insisting that the Obama team had no contact with Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich in connection with the alleged attempts by the governor to sell the US Senate seat vacated by Obama, it is now known that Emanuel did, in fact, discuss the seat with Blagojevich - and it was recorded by federal investigators during wire tapping sessions. Question: Does Obama have control over his transition team? Does he know what's going on? Is he simply naive, or was he lying to us last week? The Chicago Tribune reminded us of what Obama said late last week: Obama said Thursday he had never spoken to Blagojevich about the Senate vacancy and was "confident that no representatives" of his had engaged in any dealmaking over the seat with the governor or his team. He also pledged Thursday that in the "next few days" he would explain what contacts his staff may have had with the governor's office about the Senate vacancy. Full Article... The Trib, in the same article, notes: Rahm Emanuel, President-elect Barack Obama's pick to be White House chief of staff, had conversations with Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration about who would replace Obama in the U.S. Senate, the Tribune has learned. The Trib also noted that Emanuel "delivered" a list of Obama-approved candidates who would be "acceptable" to Obama. Comment: Are we to believe that Rahm Emanuel simply delivered that list, and that Blagojevich made no demands, or that Emanuel applied no pressure? Or both? The International Herald Tribune reports that the "[Chicago] Tribune reported that communications between Emanuel and the Illinois governor, both Democrats, had been captured on court-approved wiretaps, but Obama associates gave conflicting accounts of the interactions." Full Article... IHT goes on to say that "Emanuel has not been accused of wrongdoing by U.S. prosecutors." (They didn't add the word "yet.") The Australian newspaper reports: Rahm Emanuel has come under pressure to resign as Barack Obama's chief of staff after it was revealed he had been captured on court-approved wire taps discussing the names of candidates for Mr Obama's Senate seat. Mr Emanuel's presence at the heart of the scandal threatens to roil the US president-elect's administration as a Chicago prosecutor builds his corruption case against Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Full Story... The Australian's correspondent, Sarah Baxter, makes an interesting observation: Mr Obama faces a stark choice. Mr Emanuel as his chief of staff was his first appointment after the election. If Mr Obama were to throw him out of the inner circle now with his reputation under siege, it would be a singular act of disloyalty before the transition team has even had a chance to take office. Mr Emanuel has yet to resign as a member of the House of Representatives for Illinois, although he has pledged to do so. RELATED: Barack Obama chief Rahm Emanuel urged to resign Details emerge of Blagojevich's talks with Obama team Emanuel Discussed Senate Replacement With Blagojevich Staff Emanuel Had Contact With Governor's Office, Papers Say Pressure builds on Obama to release his Blagojevich contacts John Kass: Will 'feditis' spread to Obama and Daley? Obama's Bert Lance