Barack Obama adviser David Axelrod says he was 'mistaken' when he said in November that his boss had talked to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich about Obama's Senate seat.
WASHINGTON -- Though Barack Obama isn't accused of anything, the charges against his home-state governor -- concerning Obama's own Senate seat no less -- are an unwelcome distraction. And the ultimate fallout is unclear.
As Obama works to set up his new administration and deal with a national economic crisis, suddenly he also is spending time and attention trying to distance himself from Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and charges that the governor was trying to sell the now-vacant Senate post.
The president-elect was blunt and brief in addressing the case on Tuesday: "I had no contact with the governor or his office, and so I was not aware of what was happening" concerning any possible dealing about Blagojevich's appointment of a successor.
It's Obama's first big headache since his election last month, and Republicans were anything but eager to let it go away.
Said Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the new GOP House whip: "The serious nature of the crimes listed by federal prosecutors raises questions about the interaction with Gov. Blagojevich,
President-elect Obama and other high ranking officials who will be working for the future president."
Added Robert M. "Mike" Duncan, chairman of the Republican National Committee: "Americans expect strong leadership, but President-elect Barack Obama's comments on the matter are insufficient at best."
In Chicago, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said prosecutors were making "no allegations" that Obama was aware of any scheming.
The TrekMedic rejoices in the schadenfreude:
This is the same Obama that didn't know his minister was an outright racist for 20 years, didn't know William Ayres was a natural-born terrorist, and didn't know he and Tony Rezko used the shady real-estate agent? I guess he didn't know how much of a f**king tool Bill Clinton was when he was infesting the White House for 8 years, either. That would explain the Obamistake's cabinet picks!