• WEATHER ALERT Winter Weather Advisory

Obama: I never spoke to Blago about seat

Pres.-Elect calls for gov's resignation
December 11, 2008 4:57:18 PM PST
President Elect Barack Obama says he is working with his team to see if anyone talked to the Illinois governor's office about filling his vacant senate seat. "Let me say that I was as appalled and disappointed as anybody by the revelations earlier this week. 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 released by the U.S. Attorney reflect that fact. I have asked my team to gather the facts of any contacts with the governor's office about this vacancy so that we can share them with you over the next few days," said Pres-Elect Barack Obama.

The president-elect says he never spoke to Governor Rod Blagojevich about it-- and he's trying to find out if anyone else on his team did.

On Thursday, Pres.-Elect Obama once again bluntly called for the governor to resign as he spoke for length about the secret FBI tape recordings that have shattered Blagojevich's world. Those tapes could raise the possibility of collateral damage to Pres-Elect Obama if anyone on Pres-Elect Obama's transition team got too close to Blagojevich's toxic political dump. Obama's still trying to find out if his advisors were in the vicinity of the dump, but Obama said he is confidant that no that no one on his team is contaminated.

"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," said Pres.-Elect Obama.

The confidence that President-Elect Barack Obama has in the integrity of his top advisors-- including Rahm Emanuel, Valerie Jarrett, and David Axelrod-- is shared by the director of Chicago's pre-eminent government reform group.

"I would remind people of what the governor said about the president-elect. I believe it was bleep, bleep, bleep. No, they are not in the same crowd, not in the same boat," said Cindy Canary of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

Pres-Elect Obama said he is still trying to figure out who on his team may have talked about the seat with the governor or his emissaries.

" What I want to do is to gather all the facts about any staff contacts that may have taken place between the transition office and the governor's office," said Pres-Elect Obama.

The president-elect is also reiterating what a transition spokesman said Wednesday.

" Let me be absolutely clear. I do not think that the governor at this point can effectively serve the people of Illinois," said Pres-Elect Obama. I hope that the governor himself comes to the conclusion that he can no longer effectively serve and that he does resign."

This is the first political crisis of the Obama transition and his supporters in Chicago are hoping that he can put it behind him before the inauguration.

"I think he's going to have to do a fair amount of work to make sure that the transition into his administration isn't slowed down by it," said Harold Woodridge,Chicago resident.

On Thursday, Pres-Elect Obama called the tapes appalling and said he is confident that if the governor doesn't resign shortly the legislature will do the right thing and take the power to fill the senate vacancy away from him.

When asked about corruption in Illinois, Obama said it's the ongoing battle between politicians who want to help people and those who want to help themselves.


Load Comments