Chicago Sun-Times
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Emanuel's letter to Blagojevich highlights governor's squandered opportunity.


WASHINGTON -- If you did not know the back story, you would not fully appreciate Rep. Rahm Emanuel's resignation letter to Gov. Blagojevich, who is the subject of impeachment proceedings in the Illinois House, for, among other reasons, trying to auction off President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat.

Emanuel, first elected to the House in 2002, formally announced Monday he would end his House career Jan. 2 to join the Obama administration as White House chief of staff. He was the fourth ranking Democrat in the House, given the post after he ran the political operation that won back control of the House for Democrats in 2006.

He informed residents of his 5th Congressional District, anchored in Chicago's North and Northwest Side neighborhoods, with robo calls on Monday. Emanuel is on a long-planned vacation to Kenya, Uganda and Zambia, traveling with his wife, Amy, their three children and friends.

Emanuel's letter makes his departure official -- he will not be sworn in to a fourth term when the new Congress convenes Jan. 6, and sets the stage for Blagojevich to call a special election to fill the vacancy. Unlike the Senate seat Obama vacated, filled by gubernatorial appointment, a vacated House seat is filled through a vote. Eleven people have filed statements with the Federal Election Commission that they are mulling a run, with more contestants expected. The Democratic primary front-runners so far (the district is heavily Democratic) are state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), Cook County Board member Mike Quigley and former Transportation Security Administration official Justin Oberman.

Emanuel's contacts with the scandalized governor and his staff have been under scrutiny as part of a federal probe of Blagojevich's alleged schemes to trade Obama's Senate seat for a spot in the Obama Cabinet, a top union job or a post running a nonprofit. Emanuel is not accused of any wrongdoing.

There is no hint of any problems in Emanuel's letter to Blagojevich.

"As sons of immigrants to this country, you and I have a deep appreciation for the opportunities America provides to those who are willing to work hard and sacrifice for their children," Emanuel wrote in his resignation letter to Blagojevich.

Opportunity squandered.

Blagojevich's father came to the United States from Serbia. Emanuel's father is an Israeli immigrant. Blagojevich faces criminal public corruption charges and almost certain impeachment.

Opportunity used.

Emanuel, who might have been Speaker of the House if Obama had not called, starts a new chapter in the historic Obama White House.


I beleive Governor Blagojevich is innoncent. Every one is innoncent until proven quilty. Where is the proof if you or anyone is reporting a story tell the story ,why is everyone proceuting this governor? I feel its really ridiculous that the Democrats and republicans are all against this governor.(what did he do to them to make them hate him so bad)

I'm surprised by Ms. Sweet's motter-of-fact comment: "The Democratic primary front-runners so far are state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, Cook County Board member Mike Quigley and former Transportation Security Administration official Justin Oberman." On what basis are they the "front runners"? The individual that has the capability, resources and fast-growing base of support to clean-up this district and take real change to DC is Charlie Wheelan. Please, Lynn, help us get a smart, dynamic leader to Congress in this District. We're tired of these machine products and deserve better. As the Washington voice of Chicago politics, I urge you to use that voice to introduce your listeners to real change, real leadership.

Dear Betty,
You must not live in Chicago or your soft in the head, either way your a crack pot. The governor has been caught red handed trying to make money off Obamas replacment. Thats all there is to it. He will more then likey be impeached in the next week and the charged. Either way its over for him.What are you going to say then BETTY???

Dear Danny,
Technically, Betty is right. Our justice system does not allow for prosecution of guilt by the media...only in a court of law. That the media can do so is just an unfortunate side effect of the exiting administration which will hopefully begin to correct itself when the new administration takes offer.

Dear Betty,
Danny is absolutely right in pointing you towards the evidence you seek. You really should read up more and make sure that anywhere you get your information you get SOURCES with that information (e.g., EVIDENCE). If you don't demand journalistic integrity you get media control of the message (and trust me, the current talking heads are fools who should NEVER control the message). You should be getting a media that is delivering the FACTS and nothing more. This is what they are SUPPOSED to be doing but mostly fail miserably on. Now, back to Danny's it and you will find that there are audio recordings of the governor claiming that whoever wants the senate appointment will have to pay up to get it because he refuses to give it up for free. This is corruption at work. Good stuff if you care to hear it. Judge for yourself...

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 30, 2008 9:02 AM.

CNN segment with Lynn Sweet on "Barack the Magic Negro" controversy was the previous entry in this blog.

Roland Burris to be named to replace Obama in Senate; Senate leaders say they will not seat Burris. is the next entry in this blog.

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