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'Nothing inappropriate' in Obama-Blagojevich contacts, report finds

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Blagojevich, according to the snippets of wiretapped material released in the affidavit, had hoped he could get something from the president-elect by appointing the woman he believed to be Obama’s choice for the seat: Valerie Jarrett, a close Obama adviser who later took herself out of the running and instead accepted a top White House position.

At various times, Blagojevich speculated about getting a cabinet position, an ambassadorship, a high-paying job with a union organization (as part of a “three-way” deal that would have involved himself, the Service Employees International Union, and Obama), or a well-paying job at a private foundation or political organization set up by Obama.

When such offers weren’t forthcoming, according to the tapes, Blagojevich complained that “they’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation” and used obscenities to describe Obama and his team. “If I don’t get what I want and I’m not satisfied with it, then I’ll just take the Senate seat myself,” he said at another time. In yet another permutation of possible outcomes, the governor said that if Obama’s people “feel like they can do this and not [expletive] give me anything ... then I’ll [expletive] go [with Senate Candidate 5],” later revealed to be US Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

The Obama team’s internal report has been ready since Dec. 15 but was not made public at the request of US attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, so that his office could interview Obama, Mr. Emanuel, and Ms. Jarrett. It confirmed that Emanuel had “one or two conversations” with Blagojevich within a few days of the election. The two discussed Emanuel’s own House seat and potential candidates to replace him, and Emanuel recommended Jarrett as a candidate for the Senate seat. He subsequently learned that Obama had ruled out recommending any one candidate, according to the report.

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