By FRAN SPIELMAN AND ABDON PALLASCH
CHICAGO--President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, refused to take questions from reporters this morning about whether he was the Obama "advisor" named in the criminal complaint against Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
The complaint states Blagojevich wanted a promise of a high-level appointment or some other reward for Blagojevich in exchange for Blagojevich naming Obama's friend Valerie Jarrett to replace him in the U.S. Senate.
Emanuel was uncharacteristically absent from Obama's news conference this morning. He was spotted two hours later in the lobby of Chicago's City Hall. He was there to listen to his two children performing in a concert with their school, Anshe Emet.
A Sun-Times reporter pressed him to comment about whether he was the emissary named in the criminal complaint.
"You're wasting your time," Emanuel said. "I'm not going to say a word to you. I'm going to do this with my children. Dont do that. I'm a father. I have two kids. I'm not going to do it."
Asked, "Can't you do both?" Emanuel replied, "I'm not as capable as you. I'm going to be a father. I'm allowed to be a father," and he pushed the reporter's digital recorder away.
Blagojevch was caught on tape saying that he wanted the Obama advisor in question to know what Blagojevich wanted in exchange for the Jarrett appointment.
Blagojevich said, "He asks me for the fifth CD thing, I want it to be in his head." Emanuel represents the 5th Congressional District in Illinois.
No one in the Obama campaign or administration has been charged with any wrongdoing. Obama said this morning that none of his staff has had a hand in any dealmaking on his Senate replacement.