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Skip to comments.RAHM EMANUEL | Pressed for Jarrett appointment to Senate
Posted on 12/17/2008 6:05:13 AM PST by randita
Blago drama for Obama RAHM EMANUEL | Pressed for Jarrett appointment to Senate
December 17, 2008
BY NATASHA KORECKI AND FRAN SPIELMAN Staff Reporters
President-elect Barack Obama's incoming chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, was pushing for Obama's successor just days after the Nov. 4 election, sources told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Emanuel privately urged Gov. Blagojevich's administration to appoint Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett, and the Sun-Times learned Tuesday that he also pressed that it be done by a certain deadline. » Click to enlarge image Rahm Emanuel (right) and Gov. Rod Blagojevich at a news conference in 2004. Sources told the Sun-Times that Emanuel urged Blago's administration to select Barack Obama's Senate replacement by a certain deadline. (John H. White/Sun-Times)
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Jarrett was initially interested in the U.S. Senate post before Obama tapped her to be a White House senior adviser, sources say.
The disclosure comes days after Obama's camp downplayed Jarrett's interest in the post.
At one point, an "emissary" who said he represented Jarrett had discussions with Blagojevich chief of staff John Harris and the governor about naming Jarrett to the post, according to a criminal complaint.
In addition to the discussions, Emanuel submitted a list of names of candidates suitable to the Obama team to the governor's administration. Jarrett was not among those names because she had pulled herself out of the running at that point, a source with the Obama camp said.
Obama said Monday that an internal report detailing any staff contacts with the embattled governor or his aide would be made public next week.
Emanuel's discussions do not indicate he was involved in dealmaking with the governor. However, his deeper involvement creates a sticky political situation for Obama.
An Emanuel source said it was "possible" that Emanuel discussed the appointment with Harris and that a specific date was mentioned. "Valerie was deciding whether she wanted to go the Senate. Others had talked to her about it. There were plenty of people who talked to her about it and thought she would be a good choice," the source said.
Jarrett could not be reached for comment about the conversations. Emanuel has refused to answer questions about his conversations with either the governor or his top aides.
Last week's explosive charges and arrest of Blagojevich have put into play impeachment proceedings against the governor, which continue today in Springfield. The arrest also triggered a request to the Illinois Supreme court to remove Blagojevich from office.
Blagojevich was charged with trying to leverage the U.S. Senate seat appointment for campaign contributions, an ambassadorship or job for himself and his wife.
Contributing: Lynn Sweet