Chicago Sun-Times
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Obama team tried to keep Blagojevich out of Grant Park election night rally

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William Knapp, Rod Blagojevich at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, 2008. Photo by Lynn Sweet

While former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was scheming to trade Barack Obama's Senate seat, he did not seem to realize how radioactive he was to the Obama team. In the trial on Thursday, the Sun-Times Blago Blog is reporting on how the Obama team wanted to keep Blagojevich out of the giant election night rally in Grant Park.

The jurors just heard about an exchange of e-mails between William Knapp and Anita Dunn over that rally. Dunn was at the time one of the Obama campaign top communication advisers. Knapp was Blagojevich's media consultant. Knapp and Dunn (Dunn was on leave for the presidential campaign) were also business partners at their Washington, D.C. firm, known at the time as Squier Knapp Dunn Communications.

From Sara Ostman over at the Sun-Times Blago Blog:

Deputy Gov. Robert Greenlee said that before Election Day, he worked out a deal with Barack Obama's campaign to invite Rod Blagojevich to his Election Day rally.

Greenlee said he "suggested" to Obama's people that Blagojevich wouldn't actually show.

That way, when the media asked, Blagojevich wouldn't have to say he was snubbed by the politician from his own state. But by not showing up, Obama wouldn't suffer the embarrassment of actually having the tarnished governor at his historic rally.

Then the plan changed. Blagojevich changed his mind, Greenlee said.

"That day, Election Day, Gov. Blagojevich decided he did want to attend the rally," Greenlee testified.

When they went to obtain credentials: "the Obama campaign raised red flags," Greenlee said.

Obama staffer Anita Dunn reached out to Blagojevich consultant Bill Knapp in an email entitled "WTF." Knapp, in turn, reached out to Greenlee.

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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 July 8, 2010 3:03 PM.

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