Chicago Sun-Times
Inside the Rod Blagojevich investigation and related cases

Rod Blagojevich. Ambassador to India.

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Reporting with Sarah Ostman

John Harris' testimony continues and prosecutors play another recording where jurors can hear Rod Blagojevich negotiating ways he can benefit from appointing Valerie Jarrett to the Senate seat.

On the call, Blagojevich also explores appointing himself, describing it as the "ace in the hole." Harris says regular people won't be offended by the move.

Rod Blagojevich at one point wonders what a Jarrett appointment is worth to Obama. He again brings up the secretary of Health and Human Services position.

"If I were him, a top cabinet post. I wouldn't consider it. I wouldn't do it if I were him," Harris says on the tape.

Blagojevich and Harris talk strategy for the governor's planned phone call to union leader Tom Balanoff, who he believes is acting as a go-between for the Obama camp. Blagojevich is trying to figure out the best way to ask for a job.

Harris likens the potential conversation to bidding for a house, urging Blagojevich not to shoot too high to start. Instead, he suggested, let the Obama camp make the first move.

"Let them feel like they're helping you," Harris says. "Let them come to you first."

"Let's go down the pecking order. What else is good?" Blagojevich asks.

Harris said he thinks Obama would "do an ambassadorship."

Blagojevich: "OK. I'm interested. How about India? South Africa? ... That's realistic? No s---."

Harris explained his reasoning from the stand, saying, "An ambassadorship in some small country somewhere would pretty much sideline (Blagojevich) for the rest of his political life" and therefore may be appealing to Obama.

On the tape, Blagojevich is clearly taken with the India idea.

"I'm the governor of a $58 billion corporation, why can't I be ambassador to India?" he asks.

Adding: "What's more important, commerce secretary or ambassador to India?"

He argues that he has "a bigger resume" than Bill Daley did when he was appointed commerce secretary.

"What do you think?" he asks Harris, referring to the commerce post. "Unreachable? Or, you know, not necessarily unreachable but hard to get?"

Back to the ambassadorships. "Canada? France?" Blagojevich asks.

"All those are easier than India," Harris says.

But, Harris says, Blagojevich may face an uphill battle.

"It's the Rezko issue," Harris is heard saying. "I think your qualifications are there. It's not about your qualifications."

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Week recap Scores of recordings are played in open court, and Rod Blagojevich is heard lusting over landing a high-placed, high-playing job in exchange for appointing President-Elect Obama's friend to the U.S. Senate. The recordings make clear that Bl... Read More

1 Comment

I just want to say that you two are doing a fantastic job with the reporting and blog. This particular post is flat out hilarious.

"I'm the governor of a $58 billion corporation, why can't I be ambassador to India?" he asks.

Just, wow. I've become a loyal reader. Keep up the great work!

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on June 22, 2010 4:42 PM.

Blagojevich on Senate seat: "The objective is to get a good gig over there." was the previous entry in this blog.

Blagojevich on secret tapes: Here are the tapes is the next entry in this blog.

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