Obama: Internal Review Clears Staff

SMU Political Scientist Cal Jillson talks about the propriety of President-Elect Barack Obama seeking input into the appointment of a successor to his Senate seat.

Sheldon Alberts
Canwest News Service

WASHINGTON - Barack Obama said yesterday an internal review has concluded members of his transition team were "not involved in inappropriate discussions" with Rod Blagojevich even as questions swirled over reports his chief of staff gave the Illinois Governor a list of preferred candidates to fill the president-elect's U. S. Senate seat.

With the scandal over Mr. Blagojevich's alleged attempts to sell the vacated seat to the highest bidder continuing to cause distractions for the incoming president, his office said it would release details of all contact with Mr. Blagojevich. . .

Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, said there is nothing untoward about a president-elect or his staff members seeking input into the appointment of a successor.

"Rahm Emanuel is [Obama's] tough guy. He's the fixer. He's the one you would expect to be talking turkey to someone on Blagojevich's staff," Mr. Jillson said.

"You just hope that Emanuel knew his new position well enough not to be talking in the terms that one characteristically uses in Chicago politics."

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