December 11th, 2008
11:15 PM ET
4 years ago

Axelrod: No recent contact with Illinois governor

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (CNN) – Top Obama advisor David Axelrod says he has not recently spoken to scandal-plagued Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Asked by PBS's Gwen Ifill when the last time Axelrod spoke with the governor, he replied, "Thankfully, a long time ago." Axelrod's firm once advised the Illinois governor.

Axelrod and Ifill were participating in the Harvard Institute of Politics forum of 2008 campaign leaders.

Axelrod was also asked about the revelation that Blagojevich may have wanted to trade personal and political favors in exchange for the appointment of Obama advisor Vallerie Jarrett to fill Obama's vacant senate seat.

Axelrod said that Obama never wanted Jarrett to fill that seat. Axelrod said, "His (Obama's) preference was always that she serve in the White House. He eventually expressed that to her and said, 'I need you.'"

Obama named Jarrett a senior White House advisor on November 14.

Earlier this week, Axelrod released a statement that he had been "mistaken" when he told an interviewer last month that Blagojevich and Obama had discussed the Senate vacancy. "They did not then or at any time discuss the subject," he said.


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