Those who follow Illinois politics with even a mild degree of interest are not in the least bit surprised to find out that Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested and accused of having involved in pay-to-play schemes at the highest levels of Illinois government. What happens with Blagojevich is anyone's guess; he may try to remain Governor through this entire sordid mess, he may resign or he may be impeached and convicted. One thing appears to be certain--he will have his power to name the next Senator from the State of Illinois taken away from him as a result of having basically thrown the Senate seat open to the highest bidder.
What interests me concerning this story is the fact that in the past, David Axelrod, the chief strategist for President-elect Barack Obama, said that the President-elect spoke with Blagojevich about who might be best to succeed to the Senate seat the President-elect held. Today, we are being told that Axelrod "misspoke":
[Obama's] statement that he didn't have contact with Blagojevich about the Senate seat seems to conflict with that of top adviser David Axelrod, who told Fox News Chicago on Nov. 23: "I know he's talked to the governor, and there are a whole range of names, many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them."Obama transition officials say Axelrod misspoke.
To be sure, today, Patrick Fitzgerald stated that Obama was not implicated in any way in the investigation. We have no reason to believe otherwise, but how is it that a smart man like David Axelrod "misspoke" on the issue of whether Obama met with Blagojevich to talk about successors to Obama's Senate seat? Either the meeting occurred or it didn't; how is it that Axelrod imagined it? And why was the "misstatement" not corrected until Blagojevich was arrested and the President-elect's news cycle started looking . . . well . . . iffy?
Oh, and Ben Smith has a question. It deserves an answer.