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

Blagojevich: Obama's guy looked embarrassed when I asked for cabinet post

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Reporting with Lark Turner

Rod Blagojevich testifies that Barack Obama's emissary looked embarrassed when the then-governor "floated the idea" of getting a cabinet post in exchange for appointing Valerie Jarrett.

Blagojevich described his one-on-one meeting with union leader Tom Balanoff, the same man Obama called and gave the green light to talk to the then-governor about appointing Jarrett to the U.S. Senate.

In the meeting, which happened right after Obama's Nov. 4, 2008 election, Balanoff said he was a major supporter to both Obama and Blagojevich and he wanted to work out something for Jarrett.

Blagojevich said he hesitated and explained his own personal, political predicament if he appointed Jarrett and he got nothing.

"You all go to Washington D.C. doing all this historic, beautiful stuff on health care and I'm left behind. I gotta consider those dynamics, too," Blagojevich said he told Balanoff. "He said he understood."

Then Blagojevich made the ask: Could he possibly get a cabinet position, specifically, be named to head up Health and Human Services.

"You could just see the embarrassment in his face," Blagojevich said of Balanoff.
"You have no chance at that. It's not going to happen for you. ...I felt so uncomfortable for how he looked."

Blagojevich described the conversation as a bad try. He denied ever pushing it any further by saying he'd only appoint Jarrett if he got something in return.

"I did not want to convey a promise to Tom Balanoff ... I floated the idea," Blagojevich said. "He was quick to honestly reject it as being unrealistic."

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1 Comment

Appointing a senator to a vacated seat is not an 'opportunity' to 'give up', it's not quid pro quo, it is the duty of the public servant serving as Governor. To select the best representative of the interests of the people of Illinois. Is the concept of public service completely dead?

He 'worked' from home, spent a huge chunk of his time running his campaign management and how to take advantage of this and that and play stupid political games - is this his idea of public service? If money is what he wanted then he should have busted his a** off working in the private industry like all those lawyers defending him. And now even more of the taxpayers' money are being shed for this cheap drama to continue. We can only hope the people of Illinois find this soap opera sufficiently entertaining for the tax bill it generates.

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on June 1, 2011 4:39 PM.

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