Escaping Scandal

by Dave Schuler on December 10, 2008

This morning Time.com asks “Can Obama escape the taint of Blagojevich?”:

On more than one occasion during his stunning press conference Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald bluntly said he has found no evidence of wrongdoing by President-elect Barack Obama in the tangled, tawdry scheme that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich allegedly cooked up to sell Obama’s now vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder. But for politicians it’s never good news when a top-notch prosecutor has to go out of his way to distance you from a front-page scandal. And indeed, there are enough connections between the worlds of Blagojevich and Obama that the whole thing has the potential to grow beyond a colorful Chicago tale of corruption to entangle members of the Presidential transition team, to test Obama’s carefully cultivated reformist image and to distract the President-elect just as he is preparing to take office.

The authors then proceed to lay out the contacts between the governor and President-Elect Obama, his transition team, and his advisors just since his election in November.

My answer to Time’s question, as it was yesterday, is yes, he can. But only if he’s completely forthright and gets out ahead of this story, acknowledges that he was aware of Blagojevich’s corruption, and, presumably, paints himself as a victim of the governor’s schemes rather than a participant or beneficiary.

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