As the staggering corruption allegations unfold against Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, a curious event occurred during the Obama press conference on December 9th. See the video below. President-elect Barack Obama claimed to have had no contact with Blagojevich about the upcoming Senate appointment that the governor is accused of selling to the highest bidder.

“I have had no contact with the governor or his office, so I was unaware of what was happening.”
–Barack Obama on Rod Blagojevich Senate Appointment, December 9th, 2008

But with a little research, ABCNews exposed the Obama-Blagojevich senate seat discussions. Appearing on Fox News Chicago on November 23rd, senior adviser David Axelrod made what was a non-controversial statement at the time which now directly refutes Obama:

“I know he’s [Obama] talked to the governor [about the Senate vacancy] 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.”

And that makes sense. Given that Blagojevich was (allegedly) tape recorded admitting that he attempted to trade the appointment for an Obama cabinet position (reportedly Secretary of Health and Human Services), Obama’s denial cannot possibly be true. And it would be irresponsible for Obama not to make his opinion known. In fact, Obama insider Valerie Jarrett is thought to be one of the leading candidates.

One might think that Obama is making a Clintonesque statement in an attempt to mislead the public. Oh you know, Obama himself may not have talked with Blagojevich but his surrogates did. But Axelrod tells us that Obama did hold conversations with Blagojevich, and not indirectly but directly.

Anything less would be irresponsible for the president-elect, whose wishes would provide valuable council to the governor and serve the public interest. Why would Obama deny attempting to influence Blagojevich’s choice?

That is the million dollar question that will be answered when the dust settles. Obama’s press conference statement appears to be an early attempt at damage control, but what damage if any is there to control in a Blagojevich Obama connection?

Meanwhile a Chicago television station reported contemporaneously on Obama meeting with Blagojevich on November 5th. Just one week later, Obama inexplicably resigned his Senate seat early, a move which flummoxed his Senate colleagues since it meant he could not lead on the economic bailout bills. Why did Obama resign early?

Illinois governor meeting with Obama today.

In the face of a growing political problem, Obama is keeping a low profile. He has canceled an FBI briefing and his office has been mute on the issue so far other than to belatedly call for the governor’s resignation.

Obama video below. The denial of any contact with Blagojevich occurs at the 3:15 mark.

Obama Blagojevich Video (Press Conference)

Axelrod on Obama-Blagojevich (Video)