The question is, how will they like him now that he is poking around in Obama's old neighborhood?
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald on Tuesday accused Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich of participating in a "political corruption crime spree" that was a blatant effort to sell the state's U.S. Senate seat in the latest "pay-to-play" scheme in Illinois politics.
Rest of story
While everyone is bending over backwards to stress that Obama had no involvement in this, Obama evidently still has that bus around to throw people under.
"Obviously like the rest of the people of Illinois I am saddened and sobered by the news that came out of the US attorney's office today," said President-elect Obama this afternoon in Chicago, speaking of the criminal complaint against Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich for corruption. "But as this is a ongoing investigation involving the governor I don't think it would be appropriate for me to comment on the issue at this time."
Asked what contact he'd had with the governor's office about his replacement in the Senate, President-elect Obama today said "I had no contact with the governor or his office and so we were not, I was not aware of what was happening."
But as is usually the case the truth is well, hard to find in Obama's statements.
But on November 23, 2008, his senior adviser David Axelrod appeared on Fox News Chicago and said something quite different.
While insisting that the President-elect had not expressed a favorite to replace him, and his inclination was to avoid being a "kingmaker," Axelrod said, "I know he's talked to the governor and there are a whole range of names many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them."
Of course with every statement by Obama, there is a clarification by the Obama team.
(UPDATE: An Obama Transition Team aide says that Axelrod misspoke on Fox News Chicago.)
Further, Obama has a long history with the indicted Governor. I have no doubt you will see this on the front page of your newspaper tomorrow and Matt Lauer will certainly be covering this on the Today Show in the morning.
And, it should be pointed out, Mr. Obama has a relationship with Mr. Blagojevich, having not only endorsed Blagojevich in 2002 and 2006, but having served as a top adviser to the Illinois governor in his first 2002 run for the state house.
That 2002 endorsement came at the same time that Axelrod had such serious concerns about whether Blagojevich was ready for governing he refused to work for his one-time client.
According to Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., Mr. Obama's incoming White House chief of staff, Emanuel, then-state senator Obama, a third Blagojevich aide, and Blagojevich's campaign co-chair, David Wilhelm, were the top strategists of Blagojevich's 2002 gubernatorial victory.
Emanuel told the New Yorker earlier this year that he and Obama "participated in a small group that met weekly when Rod was running for governor. We basically laid out the general election, Barack and I and these two."
Then of course, we have the correction;
Wilhelm said that Emanuel had overstated Obama's role. "There was an advisory council that was inclusive of Rahm and Barack but not limited to them," Wilhelm said, and he disputed the notion that Obama was "an architect or one of the principal strategists."
There seems to be quite a pattern here in which Obama serves on committees but doesn't really do anything or know anyone on the committee.
So I think we can rest assured we will never hear the full story of Mr. Obama's involvement with the Governor of Illinois just as we will never hear the full story of his involvement with a lot of people.
The question remains though. What will the left think of Mr. Fitzgerald now? My gut is that he will no longer be a hero. You know, he has donated to GOP candidates. It will be interesting to watch.