Obama Has Nothing to Hide, Plenty to Lose With Blago

Reflexively distancing himself from Illinois mess has made him look needlessly sketchy
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2008 3:10 PM CST
President-elect Barack Obama 's White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel during a news conference in Chicago, Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008.   (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama looks to have done nothing wrong in his (however limited) dealings with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but the president-elect seemed bent on proving otherwise, Joe Conason writes on Salon. Obama’s “unnecessary mistakes” in handling the scandal “risked creating public suspicion where there need be none,” since federal authorities—and even Blagojevich himself—back Obama’s story.

Journalists and Republicans who complain that Obama isn’t forthcoming are being “unfair,” Conason concedes, noting the US attorney’s appeal for discretion. But the president-elect’s vagueness “provokes distrust,” and “innocent fumbles create an appearance of dishonesty or concealment.” Concludes Conason: “There should be no need for parsing, because the facts are entirely on Obama's side.”