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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Obama Report: Time to Dust Off Your Dictionaries

Thanks to Illinois Review for cross-posting this piece.
One of the highlights of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's criminal complaint against Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, played out dramatically at Fitzgerald's news conference, was that Blagojevich used extreme profanity to describe Barack Obama's refusal to make a deal over the selection of a replacement for Obama's open Senate seat. Blagojevich allegedly is caught on tape complaining in colorful language how Obama only would give him "appreciation."

The report released today by Obama's transition staff repeatedly denies any conversations regarding a "personal benefit" to Blagojevich in connection with the Senate seat. If there were no conversations and the subject of giving Blagojevich personal benefits never came up, why was Blagojevich so mad?

Or is the Obama report's focus on "personal" benefits a smokescreen? Was there some benefit Blagojevich demanded that wasn't "personal" which was discussed? Or were the communications with someone not on the "transition staff"? Does this all depend on the meaning of "personal benefit" and "transition staff"?

Looks like with the new Obama administration, we are going to need to dust off our dictionaries, which haven't been used since, oh, about 1998.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent point. I recall Obama telling us that we would have a report of all contacts between his people and Blago's people, full stop. But the first thing Craig tells us is that this is a summary of contacts with Blago or his office "in which the subject of [Obama's] successor came up." A little more restrictive, so how many contacts did Craig - who is Obama's lawyer - place in the pile labeled "contacts where the subject of Obama's successor did not come up"? This reads like a discovery response.

    And Craig has left several outs as you note above (well, technically Julie isn't part of the "transition staff").