Obama’s circle of major Illinois political allies and supporters is largely separate from Blagojevich’s, with two major exceptions. Both Obama and Blagojevich got extensive money and support from Chicago businessman Antoin “Tony” Rezko. At least one top aide to Obama, Michael Strautmanis, previously worked for Blagojevich.
But Blagojevich’s disdain for Obama was clear in court documents released Tuesday after the Illinois governor was arrested. Blagojevich, accused by federal prosecutors of conspiring to sell or trade for personal benefits the Senate seat left vacant by Obama, was overheard complaining at one point that Obama’s people are “not going to give me anything except appreciation.” He added: “(Expletive) them.”
Obama said Tuesday, “I had no contact with the governor or his office, and so I was not aware of what was happening.”
So there wasn’t much love lost between the two men, but the President-elect’s cryptic statements don’t match with earlier news reports, as Little Green Footballs points out. As the AP reminds us, it’s hard to travel through the taint of Chicago politics with a little bit of the stink rubbing off. Since I haven’t seen anyone credibly charge that Obama or his crew were co-conspirators in Blago’s corrupt schemes, why not just come clean and put it all on the table?