Former Gov. Blagojevich, awaiting trial on public corruption charges, including how he allegedly tried to sell a Senate seat, writes in his new book, The Governor, about how White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel--then a Congressman--tried to get a placeholder in his House seat in case he wanted to go back some day. Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, was asked about it at Monday's briefing. His answer below.
The Sun-Times Natasha Korecki, who broke many of the major stories about the Blagojevich probe, provides a quick over view of the Blagojevich book over at her blog.
White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett was in play for the appointment.
Writes Blagojevich of Jarrett, "I knew her and I liked her. But was this the best I could do for the people of Illinois?" He also writes that Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan would not support Jarrett. Blagojevich also writes that Marilyn Katz, a public affairs consultant, made overtures to him about appointing Jarrett, saying--according to Blagojevich--it would help him get Obama contributors to donate to him.
Back to Emanuel. Blagojevich said that in that same conversation--where Emanuel, Blagojevich wrote, was trying to figure out a way around the Illinois law where House vacancies are filled through a special election, not an appointment--he brought up his brother, Hollywood superagent Ari.
"After chiding him for not acknowledging the help I gave his brother Ari in the past to help one of his clientts bring the sport of Ultimate Fighting to Illinois--an idea, incidently, that I didn't like but nevertheless I did try to help him--I told him I would talk to my legal counsel. and see if there was a way where this perhaps might work."
from the Gibbs briefing.....
Q The AP is reporting that Governor Blagojevich's new book says that Rahm Emanuel asked him to see if they could have a placeholder appointed in his House seat so that after two years as White House Chief of Staff he could go back and win the seat again and pursue his ambition to become Speaker. Can you tell us if that's the case?
MR. GIBBS: I have not -- I barely cover with Rahm what's going to happen the rest of the week. I have not talked to him about that nor have I -- I've not seen the book by the indicted former governor of Illinois.
Q And is this something that ever came up in the transition that you're aware of?
MR. GIBBS: No, not that -- I do not remember any discussion about that.