Will Blagojevich Scandal Lead to Obama?
The circus that is former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich just got a whole lot crazier.
Wiretaps released of the disgraced Blagojevich are raising new questions about whether President Barack Obama knew about the trading of favors in order to award Obama's vacant senate seat to his close aid Valerie Jarret.
The call, released as part of the trial yesterday, clearly shows the Blagojevich and his Chief of Staff Chief John Harris were looking for favors in return for the seat.
In addition, Harris claims Obama had direct knowledge of the quid pro quo around awarding his vacant senate seat to Jarret. Blagojevich and Harris discuss the governor's "price" including a top job in the Obama White House, at one point even asking Harris if it was possible to secure the Director of Health and Human Services position in Obama's cabinet.
All of this completely runs opposite of what President Obama has claimed from the very beginning of the probe. Obama has insisted he had no knowledge of Blagojevich's effort to trade the Senate seat for influence. This news, during a time when the President’s popularity has been declining rapidly due to the BP oil spill and continued economic crisis, couldn’t come at a more critical time for Obama.
But what did Obama, his Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, and top advisor David Axelrod actually know? That is the million dollar question which should play out over time. The chances, in my view, that this scandal will bring down Obama are slim to none. But this typical Chicago-style political corruption trial won’t help him rebound from a horrible 60 days.
Usually when something like this happens to a President, a brave soldier will sacrifice him- or herself to insulate him. Who will it be?
My bet is Emanuel, who has his eye on the Chicago Mayor’s job.
Either way, this severe distraction will not serve Obama well during the upcoming mid-term elections in November. The feeling among Republicans and Democrats is that this President is on the precipice of disaster.
But don’t make the mistake of counting out Obama yet. American politics always seems to have surprises around the corner.