President-elect Barack Obama hasn’t even stepped into office and already a scandal is threatening to dog him.
Obama isn’t accused of anything. But the fact that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a fellow Democrat, has been charged with trying to sell Obama’s now-vacant Senate post gives political opponents an opening to try to link him to the scandal. A slew of questions remain. The investigation is still under way. And the ultimate impact on Obama is far from certain….
Republicans pounced nonetheless.
"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," said Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the new GOP House whip.
Added Robert M. "Mike" Duncan, chairman of the Republican National Committee, "President-elect Barack Obama’s comments on the matter are insufficient at best."
Digby called this yesterday, but let’s contemplate the rinse, lather, repeat planting here, shall we? Quotes from the GOP House Whip and the RNC Chairman, with no specific evidence of wrongdoing, planting political seedlings nonetheless because that makes for pretend balance and allows all those seedy little doubts to be floated publicly.
Never mind that the indictment information for Blagojevich actually shows that Obama refused to play ball (PDF) with the smarmy politico:
ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that the consultants (Advisor B and another consultant are believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to “suck it up” for two years and do nothing and give this “motherfucker [the President-elect] his senator. Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him.” ROD BLAGOJEVICH states that he will put“[Senate Candidate 4]” in the Senate “before I just give fucking [Senate Candidate 1] a fucking Senate seat and I don’t get anything.”
But why let a little thing like facts get in the way of a good GOP blast fax meme, eh, Sprinkles?
The Beltway slap and tickle show has begun. The WaPo jumped on the "it would be irresponsible not to speculate" bandwagon, as did Isikoff. And a slew of others, including this circular logic doozy from the New York Times. The claws are out, kids. . . someone smells ratings, and they don’t give a crap about pesky facts. As Will Bunch says:
. . . this Times story is Day One of what is going to be a brand new silly season in American politics, just when you thought it was safe. No matter how much the next few days demonstrate that Obama didn’t want any part of Blago’s scam, every phone call in which a junior staffer didn’t immediately hang up, or any time that Obama and Blagojevich were in the same room and Obama didn’t slap a pair of cuffs on the governor will be more proof of the "murky" circles that Obama travels in.
Welcome to innuendo central. All a-bored?
PS — Maybe Sidoti should send Blagojevich a dozen of her special sprinkled donuts for his birthday today — something tells me he could use cheering up a bit.