By Fran Spielman and Natasha Korecki
Mayoral hopeful Rahm Emanuel addressed the subject of the "missing" tape with some of the same language he has used for months to describe his conversations with Rod Blagojevich.
He hearkened back to a two-year-old report by then-President-elect Obama's transition team that concluded there were "about four" conversations between Emanuel and Blagojevich Chief-of-Staff John Harris, but "nothing inappropriate or any deal-making."
"It also noted that I was asked at the time by the President's transition (team) to provide a list of four names for the U.S. Senate: Tammy Duckworth, Jan Schakowsky, Dan Hynes and Congressman Jesse Jackson [Jr.]," Emanuel recalled, noting that there was a separate conversation about Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Trial testimony indicated that Blagojevich and his team considered this list a "BS list."
"I provided that list. Then, there was a question -- The governor's representative said, `What's in it for us.' And I responded, `You'll get thanks and appreciation‚ [but nothing more]. You also know how the [former] governor responded to the word, `appreciation.' That's been detailed over two years ago in the report."
Testimony at Rod Blagojevich's trial indicated that it was in fact lobbyist John Wyma who passed on that message to the Blagojevich team in early November, 2008 at Emanuel's request. Wyma at that point had been cooperating with the feds in their probe against the former governor and provided the government with the necessary information to put up wiretaps against Blagojevich.
Emanuel sloughed off the suggestion that the Blagojevich filing might be politically timed to embarrass him less than two weeks before the mayoral election.
When a television reporter noted that the filing goes out of its way to say that Emanuel did nothing wrong, the candidate laughed and said, "I look forward to your coverage tonight."