Obama ‘Absolutely Certain’ Staff Not Involved in Blagojevich Scandal
December 11, 2008 - 11:46 AMPresident-elect Barack Obama attempted to clear both himself and his staff of any taint connected with charges the Illinois governor put Obama's Senate seat up for sale, saying Thursday he was "absolutely certain" there was no involvement with the alleged dealmaking.
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday on charges that he put Obama's seat up for bidding. The governor has ignored calls for his resignation and retains the power to appoint Obama's replacement.
Obama said he was "as appalled and disappointed as anybody" by the allegations.
Aiming to put to rest any questions about involvement by any of his staff, Obama said he never spoke to Blagojevich about the choosing of his successor. He also for the first time addressed the issue of whether his transition staff had any contacts.
"I am confident that no representatives of mine would have any part of any deals related to this seat," Obama said. "I think the materials released by the U.S. attorney reflect that fact." As to whether any aides were involved in Blagojevich's alleged dealmaking schemes, he said he was "absolutely certain" they were not.
Also at the news conference, he introduced former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle as his choice to be secretary of health and human services and said he favored congressional passage of short-term loans to rescue the U.S. auto industry.
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