Video of Gov. Blagojevich discussing plans for Obama Senate seat

No mention here of a meeting with President-elect Obama. But Rod “Show Me the Money” Blagojevich puts on a good show:

In light of yesterday’s criminal complaint, there are quite a few SNL skits begging to be written. Stunning, just stunning.
Some quotes and points of interest in this tape:
Blagojevich hopes to name the Senator by Christmas or by Jan 1, 2009 but did not want to overpromise since (at 5:26) “there could be some other circumstances and factors that develop” (guess so).
He said (at about 5:40) the process begins immediately (although it had already begun according to this October 30, 2008 article in the Chicago Tribune indicating Blago and Obama had already spoken about it).
At 5:45, Blago says Obama’s thoughts on his replacement would have “a great deal of weight.”
At 6:10, he says he is looking for a Senator that shares “the values that make us Democrats.”
Blago’s may really believe health care should be a “fundamental human right”, as he says at 6:24, but even this human right is subject to “pay to play” if the criminal complaint is to be believed. From the complaint:

During his testimony, Levine described a plan to manipulate the Planning Board to enrich himself and Friends of Blagojevich. The plan centered on an entity commonly known as Mercy Hospital (“Mercy”) that was attempting to obtain a CON [certificate of need] to build a new hospital in Illinois. Levine knew the contractor hired to help build the hospital. In approximately November 2003, on behalf of the contractor, Levine checked with Rezko to determine whether Rezko wanted Mercy to obtain its CON. Rezko informed Levine that Mercy was not going to receive its CON. According to Levine, he asked Rezko whether it would matter to Rezko if Mercy’s construction contractor paid a bribe to Rezko and Levine and, in addition, made a contribution to ROD BLAGOJEVICH. Levine testified that Rezko indicated that such an arrangement would change his view on the Mercy CON.
Rezko has admitted that he manipulated the Mercy vote based on Mercy’s agreement to make a contribution to ROD BLAGOJEVICH, which agreement he states was communicated to ROD BLAGOJEVICH, but denies that Levine offered a personal bribe to Rezko as well.

A more blatant “pay to play” scheme involved another hospital – Children’s Hospital. Page 34 of the complaint reads:

According to Individual A, on October 8, 2008, during a discussion of fundraising from various individuals and entities, the discussion turned to Children’s Memorial Hospital, and ROD BLAGOJEVICH told Individual A words to the effect of “I’m going to do $8 million for them. I want to get [Hospital Executive 1] for 50.” Individual A understood this to be a reference to a desire to obtain a $50,000 campaign contribution from Hospital Executive 1, the Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Memorial Hospital. Individual A said that he/she understood ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s reference to $8 million to relate to his recent commitment to obtain for Children’s Memorial Hospital $8 million in state funds through some type of pediatric care reimbursement. As described in further detail below, intercepted phone conversations between ROD BLAGOJEVICH and others indicate that ROD BLAGOJEVICH is contemplating rescinding his commitment of state funds to benefit Children’s Memorial Hospital because Hospital Executive 1 has not made a recent campaign contribution to ROD BLAGOJEVICH.

Then at 7:50, Blago notes that in Illinois, funds are spent for public works such as “schools and hospitals.” How nice. Taxpayers provide money for construction of facilities and politicians get contributions in order to direct those funds to friendly benefactors. One great circle of life.

Did Obama meet with Blagojevich about the IL Senate seat?

He says he didn’t but this article scrubbed from a Quincy, IL television stations sure sounds like he intended to and Blago’s office sure implied they met. Read on.

By Carol Sowers
Wednesday, November 05, 2008 at 10:39 a.m.
CHICAGO, ILL. — Now that Barack Obama will be moving to the White House, his seat in the U.S. Senate representing Illinois will have to be filled.
That’s one of Obama’s first priorities today.
He’s meeting with Governor Rod Blagojevich this afternoon in Chicago to discuss it.
Illinois law states that the governor chooses that replacement.
There’s already been speculation about his selection…from Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. of Chicago’s south side who co-chaired Obama’s presidential campaign, to recently-retired state senate president Emil Jones, to the governor himself.
It’s likely the governor will make his decision quickly so the new senator will get some seniority before newly-elected senators take office in January.
Part of the timing depends on when Obama officially vacates his senate seat.
KHQA’s Alexis Hunt is speaking with Illinois Senator John Sullivan today about his thoughts on that replacement process, his time working with Obama in the state senate, and if there’s a chance Sullivan might play a role in the Obama administration. Watch KHQA News at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. tonight to hear what he has to say.

According to Blago, Obama did not want to deal for more than “appreciation” but if they did meet, perhaps this is how Blago knew Senate Candidate 1 was Valerie Jarrett.
Gateway Pundit has the screen capture and lots more.
What is strange about this is that the KHQA articles about this topic are now gone. At least, the Gov’s office has not scrubbed their website of the meeting info.
And more from RBO…
KHQA issues a retraction on the stories that were scrubbed:

KHQA TV wishes to offer clarification regarding a story that appeared last month on our website The story, which discussed the appointment of a replacement for President Elect Obama in the U.S. Senate, became the subject of much discussion on talk radio and on blog sites Wednesday.
The story housed in our website archive was on the morning of November 5, 2008. It suggested that a meeting was scheduled later that day between President Elect Obama and Illinois Governor Blagojevich. KHQA has no knowledge that any meeting ever took place. Governor Blagojevich did appear at a news conference in Chicago on that date.

However, the station reported on the 8th that a meeting did take place. Both Obama and Blagojevich were in Chicago but other than these reports, I have seen nothing else linking them. Itineraries, anyone? Blago held a news conference and indicated that Obama’s opinion would be important but did not confirm a meeting.
UPDATE: Via Gateway Pundit, and DirectorBlue, another source (Chicago Tribine) quoting Blagojevich acknowledging conversations with Obama regarding the Senate selection process.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Thursday cited the potential for bad “karma” and avoided discussing potential Senate successors to Barack Obama should the Democratic nominee win the White House, but acknowledged he has a process in mind for making the most important appointment of his career.
“I just don’t want to jinx him and I don’t like the karma of me thinking that far ahead,” Blagojevich said of Obama’s prospects in Tuesday’s election. The governor added, “We have had some discussions about a process which we’ll share … if all goes well.”

The Wall Street Journal puts two and two together to wonder aloud if Blago did indeed talk to someone in the Obama camp. Valerie Jarrett’s exit from Candidate 1 status may be related to Obama’s reluctance to make a deal.

Obama and Axelrod disagree about Senate appointment conversations with Blagojevich

Jake Tapper at ABCNews raises some significant questions regarding conversations between the Obama campaign and Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Obama’s statement today on the matter: “I had no contact with the governor or his office and so we were not, I was not aware of what was happening.”

But earlier David Axelrod said Obama had conversations with Blagojevich about possible nominations to Senate (“I know he’s talked to the Governor…”)

Tapper writes the following after this YouTube clip from Axelrod:

(UPDATE: An Obama Transition Team aide says that Axelrod misspoke on Fox News Chicago.)

There are no allegations that President-elect Obama or anyone close to him had anything to do with any of the crimes Gov. Blagojevich is accused of having committed.

In fact, there are indications that Mr. Obama and his team refused to go along with the “pay to play” way Blagojevich is accused of operating, offering only “gratitude” if the governor appointed his friend Valerie Jarrett to take his U.S. Senate seat, much to the governor’s chagrin.

But there remain questions about how Blagojevich knew that Mr. Obama was not willing to give him anything in exchange for the Senate seat — with whom was Blagojevich speaking?

Did that person report the governor to the authorities?

Now Axelrod misspoke? I would like to hear Axelrod himself explain that. Given Axelrod’s prior writings on patronage, the nature of Chicago politics, and the cozy relationship of all these players, questions about ethics and influence peddling are relevant. This just scratches the surface of the questions both Obama and even Joe Biden (long time fundraiser and friend of Biden, Joseph Cari provided Blagovich information secondary to a plea agreement in the Rezko case) might have to confront about people involved in this sting of Blagojevich.

This indictment is R-rated (lots of F-word variations) and has some interesting twists. One is the outing of the Governor’s leakmeister, Michael Sneed. Gawker has more…

Tapper keeps up the with the questions. The Axelrod misspoke thing is incredible. Furthermore, it seems incredible that the Obama team would not have spoken to Blagojevich about something so important as a Senate seat appointment. As Tapper notes, the issue that is obscured is who on the Obama team told Blago that Obama would not be dealing up plums.

UPDATE: Read this lengthy Huffington Post column with the Blago phone calls in mind. This column goes all the way back to early November, just after the election, with a blow by blow account of what seemed like high-minded deliberations by Blagoshowmethemoneyvich.