December 11th, 2008
12:00 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama says his office had no role in governor scandal

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested on federal conspiracy charges Tuesday.
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested on federal conspiracy charges Tuesday.

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama Thursday said no one in his office engaged in dealmaking with Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich over who would succeed him in the Senate.

FBI agents arrested Blagojevich on Tuesday on federal corruption charges related in part to the selection of Obama's successor as a U.S. senator. Federal officials said Blagojevich was looking to sell or trade the position.

Obama said the vacant Senate seat is not for "any politician to trade," and he said he had never spoken to the governor on the subject.

He said he was confident that "no representatives of mine would have any part of any deals related to this seat." The Senate seat "belongs to the people of Illinois and they deserve the best possible representation," he said.

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Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (241 Responses)
  1. Rose

    We will find out soon ...

    December 11, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  2. Peggy - TX

    There are no facts connecting Obama with the scandal.

    The one, off-the-cuff remark, that his advisor latter retracted is so innocuous that anyone characterizing that remark as an “inconsistent statement” is distorting the facts and clearly out to make something out of nothing.

    Every fact that has emerged indicates that Obama’s people were not involved in the illegal quid pro quo that was going on.

    The people I have heard saying Obama needs to discuss this further just want to cloud his administration with any hint of scandal they can invent. The people that are now saying that “it’s hard not to believe that Obama is not more involved” are the same people who said really bad things about him during the campaign. Their advice to Obama is not sincere, rather they are out to get him and the media by giving these people the microphone are just promoting sleaze.

    This is a time for our country to stand firmly behind our new President. Continuing to try and diminish him is unpatriotic.

    December 11, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  3. Marc in Virginia

    The more you deny, the more you look guilty. You'll see Obama's story change day to day. We're supposed to believe that then-Senator Obama had no talks with the Illionois governor? Yeah, right. I think we're seeing the beginnings of a scandal ridden presidency.

    December 11, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  4. Simply another politician

    Do we really care what lawyers and politicians, especially from Illinois, say any more?

    December 11, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  5. Jackie in Dallas

    I've read some absolutely ludicrous nonsense trying to link our President Elect to this scandal. I made the effort to go read the 76-page charge (which includes some pretty graphic transcripts of some of the wiretaps), and can see no connection. Instead, it seems that Blagojevich was pretty upset (to put it mildly) that Obama and his staff WOULDN'T get involved. Other than offering his recommendations or suggestions (which is totally consistent with professional courtesies in this situation throughout the US), I can see no reason why Obama would want to be involved, either. He has much bigger issues to deal with, and more on his plate than should be there due to the abdication of our current President from his responsibilities.

    December 11, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  6. Doc

    I'm appalled as well. This man is the reason why I stayed away from politics for so long. People like him are amongst those monoplist (sorta speak) that take and hold for ransom things that should be for all and that all should have a say in. I hope he rotts in a jail cell, he is as bad as the worst thief. And it is not ok to say "its politics". No longer should that be an acceptable response.

    December 11, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  7. Richard E.

    We need to know why the Gov thinks that all he would get from Obama is appreciation. That statement means he must have talked to someone on Obama's team. I for one do not believe that Obama is guilty of anything except telling streaching the truth because he wants to look like he can do know wrong. Mr. Obama at the risk of having you look into my taxes and personal life for simply asking you a simple question I will ask this anyway. Why does the Gov of Ill think that all he would get from you is appreciation? Someone had to tell him that. A newspaper artical on Nov 5th said that you were meeting with the Ill Gov about your Senete seat. Were they mistaken? What about one of your aids not being able to make up his mind about you speaking with him on the phone. Character does matter sir and I and the american people desearve answers. You work for me, you work for all of us and all we require and desearve is complete honesty. It just like when you said you quit smoking. Then you said you had a slip. I am sorry sir but as an X smoker I know that a slip means you smoked a cig. It is not a terrible thing but not being honest about it is. It seams you can not be honest even with yourself. If I am wrong then prove it to me. Stop the spinning and tell us all the truth.

    December 11, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. jacques

    be creative people. want to rid the political world of this Ill. cancer? easy. bail is denied to those found to be a danger to the community. normally construed to involve violence. what is a greater danger to the people then a corrupt politician selling membership to the senate. revoke bail,incarcerate the moron,and watch him deal

    December 11, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  9. No Hillary = No Obama

    Check those emails and Blackberry messages Obama's campaign used so much – Obama likes to think of himself as some sort of Cyber Czar and that's where loose lips sink ships.

    December 11, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  10. A longtime Democrat

    It is interesting that Obama could not just come out and say that nobody "did" have any part of any deals

    He knew he was going to have to answer to this...yet he doesnt have the answer.

    Rather suspicious.

    December 11, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  11. Ian Minneapolis, MN

    I'm sorry, but this is getting ridiculous. Why is this man still in office, he should be impeached, or forced to resign immediatly. This makes no sense, he is cheating the american people, and what are our elected officials doing about it? Debating. Come on, get something done. SOMETIMES THINGS ARE IN BLACK AND WHITE!!!!! Not everything is circumstancial and needs technicalities discussed.

    December 11, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  12. neshahblogspot

    in the real world/rat race, bosses are held accountable for their employees. if you are a boss and say you dont know what was going on, you may be fired tommrrow but if you're a political boss it may be all good, as we can see.

    December 11, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  13. Repuges are sore loosers

    There are times when the media over steps their boundaries, which was aparent when they jump the gun and started trying to tie Obama in this scandal. As a matter of fact it wouldn't have been focused on as much if were another State. I am so disappointed in the MSM for jumping to conclusion and not giving Obama the benefit of the doubt, even after the States Attorney said he was not involved. And the public wonders why we African Americans never trust that we will get a fair trial or consideration. Where is the integrity of the media? I guess ratings out weigh their ability to be honest and to wait for a logical answer before they go shooting their mouths off making accusations which the Republicans used to spread their hatred and evil, vile racist lies. The focus should really be on the people of Illinois and unfair it has been to them that these Governors have betrayed them but the media knew that if they tried to make Obama part of this scandal they could get higher ratings. I hope you all of you who made all of those hateful accusations one day will be accused of a crime before you are given a chance to investigate and defend yourself or your family because that's what you did to President Obama, you idiots.

    Please post

    December 11, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  14. The Truth

    really? do you think that with Obama's close affiliation with this man that he never helped him? how naive the voters really are, obama has had his pockets greased by this man and vice versa. Obama probably helped him early on, but pulle dout in concern for his public image. Obama needs to keep up his rep. stay away from his old corrupt dealings in illinois and move onto to his post as president. he has no opposition in the congress, the democrats control both houses. Go socialism

    December 11, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  15. facts are facts

    The press and the GOP are going to try and get as much mileage out of this story as possible as both right wing groups will go the extra mile to try and drag Obama into the fray.

    The fact is the governor appears to have some severe mental problems and I don't think he feels he has done anything wrong. Then again corruption is as large a part of U.S. politics as are the two political parties.

    December 11, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  16. Derek Rubin

    This guy ain't just conniving and greedy, he's flat out stupid. How would he have gotten away with this? It's a very important and prestigious seat that Obama is leaving, and I'm truly disappointed how much money can corrupt and influence even the most important people, such as a State Governour. I'm just happy to see this guy get caught, but we'd better keep our eyes on our own Governours & Politicians.

    December 11, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  17. Atlanta- GA

    Is this about President Elect Obama or the Gov Blagojevich?

    December 11, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. Oblivious

    How is it that Obama never seems to know what is going on around him?

    Wright...Ayers...Rezko...Blagojevich...

    December 11, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  19. Matt, Chico, CA

    Maybe he did or maybe he didn't, but we do know this: Obama is still a corrupt Chicago politician who will do/say what he needs to get what he wants.

    December 11, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. Tom

    We know, Barack. But there are some that will try their darndest to
    link the two together. Obama is way too smart for that.

    December 11, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  21. watcher

    Same state, campaign advisers and political ties, but how can they be connected? Ha ha! Good one. What a bunch of crooks, and now they have their man heading straight into the White House.

    December 11, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  22. Robert Wright

    Your headline on the revolving caption line about Obama and the governor's scandal is inaccurate, I hope not intentionally. Obama did not say he was "absolutely certain" his staff had no role in the governor's scandal. He said he was absolutely certain the governor should resign. It seems like your staff is trying to set him up in case some indiscretion about which he was unaware comes out later.

    December 11, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  23. Wendy NC

    Please withhold judgement on the Obama team's involvement in this. They may be keeping tight-lipped because Valerie Jarrett and Rahmbo might have been the whistle-blowers on old Blago. If you read the complete complaint, it appears that Jarrett spoke with Blago, then withdrew her name from the list and then Blago starts the tirade about getting 'nothing but appreciation' (and all those expletives) from Obama in exchange for the seat. Just don't judge before the facts are all out there.

    December 11, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. mike

    NEED LIER DETECTOR for every single politicians..95% will agins it. if u crooked and good lie why not just run be pres

    December 11, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. chico in Virginia

    I think that this sends a clear message to politicians around the board that were thinking of contesting President Obama's zone,if you will. When I say zone, I mean his strengh, his position, his politics, his morale character all in one spot.
    I think we are going to see alot more of those willing to test him concede and tuck their tails. He has a fierce, domineering manner but it is also just. This is what will make him a great President.

    December 11, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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