It was expected that President-elect Barack Obama would not address the alleged play-to-pay scheme the U.S. attorney’s office has charged Gov. Rod Blagojevich with, in connection with filling Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat.
It was expected that President-elect Barack Obama would not address the alleged play-to-pay scheme the U.S. attorney’s office has charged Gov. Rod Blagojevich with in connection with filling Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat.
But Obama was forthcoming Thursday at a press conference called to announce his Cabinet appointment of health secretary.
After giving a recap of grim unemployment news, Obama addressed the Blagojevich issue right away, saying that he, personally, did not have any discussions about his senate seat appointment with Blagojevich, who was arrested Tuesday on corruption charges.
Obama added that he would look into whether or not anyone from his camp had contact with the governor or any of his aides and would provide full disclosure if they did.
The president-elect said he was “as appalled and disappointed as anybody about” the allegations in the 76-page complaint the U.S. Attorney’s office issued against Blagojevich, which also detailed unflattering comments directed at Obama by the governor.
Still, Obama said Thursday that he is “confident” that no one on his team talked to the governor. Further, he was “certain” that there was no “deal making” from his camp with the governor’s office in regards to the senate seat.
“That’s not how we do business,” Obama said of his administration.
He reiterated his call for Blagojevich to resign.
“I think the public trust has been violated,” Obama said, adding that Blagojevich, “cannot effectively serve” the people of Illinois.
Obama is hopeful that Blagojevich would come to the same conclusion and step down immediately. The governor is charged with attempting to sell the senate seat appointment to the highest bidder, to any of supposedly five candidates who would help fill the governor’s personal and political coffers. Obama said at the press conference that the senate seat, “does not belong to any politician to trade.”
Under the Illinois Constitution, the governor appoints someone to the vacant senate seat for the remainder of the term and until a regular election for the seat is held.
Ironically, Obama’s comments on Blagojevich came as the president-elect announced his choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Former South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle was tapped for the post.
It is the same post mentioned in the Blagojevich complaint that the governor supposedly wanted to have in exchange for a senate seat appointment. ______ Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.