Rising through Illinois politics, Barack Obama learned to recognize a crook when he saw one, so he kept a healthy distance from Rod Blagojevich, writes Eli Saslow in the Washington Post. At the convention, Obama disappointed Blagojevich by giving nearly every other Illinois official a speaking slot. Says a mentor, “You don't get through Chicago like Barack Obama did unless you know how to avoid people like that.”
Blagojevich and Obama haven’t spoken for more than a year. Both were intensely ambitious local pols, and quickly found reasons to become leery of each other. Each failed to endorse the other at key points in their careers. “The governor didn't offer his support, and to be honest, we didn't really ask for it,” says Obama’s Senate campaign manager.