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Giannoulias reaction to Blagojevich calling him "mother f------"

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SEIU leader Tom Balanoff testifying at former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's corruption trial on Tuesday, said Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, (now the Illinois Democratic Senate nominee) a friend of then President-Elect Barack Obama, raised himself as a possibility to be tapped for the newly vacant Obama senate seat.

The conversation came on Nov. 24, 2008, after Valerie Jarrett removed herself from contention for the slot, instead taking a job as a senior White House advisor.

As reported in the Chicago Sun-Times Blago Blog, Balanoff testified that Blagojevich bristled.

"That mother f-----, I wouldn't do s--- for him. Every chance he got he took a shot at me," Blagojevich said, according to Balanoff.

I asked the Giannoulias Senate campaign for a reaction and spokesman Matt McGrath said in a statement, "As he has discussed openly, and which was confirmed by today's testimony, Alexi was a strong advocate for Valerie Jarrett's appointment to the vacant Senate seat. When Valerie signaled she was no longer a candidate, Alexi half-jokingly raised the idea with his friend Tom Balanoff of being appointed himself, never expecting for the request to be passed along to the former governor. The former governor's response - an expletive-laced tirade - says all you need to know about the seriousness of this idea and the relationship between the two of them."

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Valerie Jarrett withdrew her name from consideration on November 9. The Balanoff conversation happened on November 24. It just so happened that Giannoulias' shared his "half-joking" reaction with Balanoff and two weeks later Balanoff is discussing it with Blagojevich.

As Giannoulias' campaign states, Balanoff and Giannoulias are friends. It seems like Balanoff took his friend's statement seriously enough to go through the trouble to set up a meeting with Blagojevich and to ask if he would consider Giannoulias for the seat. Are we supposed to believe that Giannoulias had no knowledge of the meeting and that Balanoff went through the whole process because of a misunderstanding?

I guess the explanation is good enough for some people. But for those of us who care more about getting to the truth than we do about partisan politics, it leaves too many unanswered questions. Nobody is saying Giannoulias did anything wrong or illegal. But he has not done an adequate job of reconciling the facts on his involvement in the Senate appointment process.

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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 June 29, 2010 6:17 PM.

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