Reporting with Natasha Korecki
On a November 7 conference call with his advisers, Rod Blagojevich tells them if he's appointed secretary of Health and Human Services, he would appoint Valerie Jarrett "in a heartbeat."
"And if I'd get that, and, and, and if, if that was somethin' available to me and maybe it's really unrealistic, but if that was available to me I could do Valerie Jarrett in a heartbeat," Blagojevich says on the tape. He's relating to his advisers what he told Barack Obama's emissary, union leader Tom Balanoff, in a meeting.
Today Blagojevich tells his lawyer Aaron Goldstein that he never said that to Balanoff.
"'I never told him that," Blagojevich said. "I floated the idea. He thought it was an idea that was going nowhere."
Instead, Blagojevich said he was simply excited by the idea of helping promote healthcare nationally.
It was "a thought that was evidently in my mind at that particular time, being able to play a role, to replicate across America what we did," Blagojevich testifies. He was saying, "It sure would be nice to be the Health and Human Services secretary. ... It's sort of like, if I could play center field for the Cubs, I'd do that in a heartbeat, too."