Dec 23 2008

Depends On The Meaning Of “Inappropriate”

Updates Below

The next lame attempt by TEAM Obama to address its contacts with TEAM Blagojevich is due out this afternoon. And from the preliminary reporting I can see we are in for another round of lame Clintoneque word parsing. VP-Elect Joe Biden stepped into the spotlight today to give his pre-spin spin:

“I don’t think there’s anything to exonerate,” Biden said. He said the report will show “there has been no inappropriate contact between any member of the Obama staff or transition team with Blagojevich.

Emphasis mine. First off we need a definition of “inappropriate”. Second, why is the investigation limited to contact with Blagojevich, and not his staff? Remember, the latest revelation is that Team Obama (in the guise of incoming Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel as one example) was pushing Blagojevich to dump his preferred choice of Illinois AG Lisa Madigan. Obama wanted Valerie Jarrett instead. 

This begs the question of why Obama lied to the nation in his first press interview on the matter, to wit:

“I had no contact with the governor’s office. I did not speak to the governor about these issues. That I know for certain.”

These ‘issues’ of course being who would replace him in the Senate? More lame denials:

In response to a reporter’s question, Obama said, “What I’m absolutely certain about is that our office had no involvement in any deal-making …That would be a violation of everything this campaign has been about.”

Did his office discuss the senate seat selection and push for Jarrett or not? Did they discuss ways to compensate Blagojevich for changing his selection or not? Illegal or not, America wants to know what happened between the two camps and why Obama continues to pretend there was no politics involved!

My guess is we will find the ‘investigation’ is incomplete and cherry picks the focus of the results so as to not even hint that Team Obama was pressuring Team Blagojevich to place Obama’s preferred choice in his old Senate seat. That would be ridiculous on its face since we know Rahm talked on two occasions with Team Blagojevich about Obama’s choices for the seat. He and the media can try and snow America, but it will only rebound on them and complete the picture of this being politics as usual.

Watch for updates later as the white wash comes out.

Update: Well apparently the ‘report’ will cover contacts between Team Obama and Team Blagojevich:

The report, according to three people familiar with its findings, is a memorandum that will lay out a narrative in about a dozen paragraphs the limited contact Mr. Obama’s advisers had with the governor’s office. 

That’s a good start to getting past this. Will it be enough? The NY Times is carrying the PR water pretty good for Obama. Let’s see if these dozen paragraphs answer questions or raise new one.

Addendum to the Update: I should note that Obama does still have one other conflicting comment to resolve, as noted in the article:

It is unknown whether one of the leading unanswered questions will be resolved: Did Mr. Obama, through his aides, give Mr. Blagojevich a list of preferred candidates for the Senate seat?

At a news conference three days after the election, Mr. Obama said he was staying out of the matter. “There are going to be a lot of good choices out there,” he said, “but it is the governor’s decision to make, not mine.”

I would also note that the Obama staff are running a bit of a legal tightrope here:

The review was compiled from memory by Mr. Obama’s aides, rather than from recordings of any phone calls.

We all remember what happened to Scooter Libby when he did not recall phone discussions the same way others did …

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Depends On The Meaning Of “Inappropriate””

  1. crosspatch says:

    I seem to remember that Obama had some people look into what was going on and when he made a comment about their findings, he was pretty careful in his words. Now, mind you, I was busy with something else at the time and was only hearing this in the background, but I remember him saying something like:

    “There was nothing in the report that would indicate any …”

    Notice that he didn’t say that nobody had done anything wrong, he just said “there was nothing in the report”. So he is going to be a weasel on this one and do the semantics tap-dance.

  2. crosspatch says:

    Ah, here it is:

    “I had no contact with the governor’s office,” he said, “and I had no contact with anyone in the governor’s office.” He said that his team has produced a report on the interaction between the Obama transition office and Blagojevich’s circle, and that “there was nothing in the report that contradicted my earlier statements.” Obama said the report has not yet been released because of the state of the federal investigation.

    So he says HE didn’t have any contact and then says there is “nothing in the report that contradicted” his statements. He is being very careful in choosing his words here and is being very careful not to say that his OFFICE wasn’t in contact with Chicago.

    So HE orders people who work for him to produce a report and the report his subordinates issue does not contradict his statements. Amazing.

  3. Dc says:

    The Obama admin investigating itself issuing it’s own reports. Hmmm. That never flew during the Bush admin. Why should it be acceptable now?

  4. crosspatch says:

    That never flew during the Bush admin

    Or the Nixon administration, for that matter.

  5. crosspatch says:

    If you want to make sure a story doesn’t get any “oxygen” be sure to release it so it shows up in the Christmas Eve papers. And by the time next Monday rolls around, it is “old news”.

  6. Redteam says:

    but, but, doesn’t it depend on what the meaning of is, is?