As the scandal involving the arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on corruption charges made waves across the country, President-elect Barack Obama sought to distance himself from the scandal by claiming he had never spoken to the governor about his replacement for the U.S. Senate seat he vacated.
But Obama's claim was directly contradicted by David Axelrod, Obama's chief political advisor, during a TV appearance on November 23rd.
On Tuesday, federal authorities charged, among other allegations, that the disgraced governor sought to receive cash or other benefits in exchange for making an appointment to fill Obama's U.S. Senate seat.
Obama, meeting in the day with former Vice President Al Gore, told the press he was "saddened and sobered" by news of the case.
The AP reported that Obama was asked if there had been contact by him or his staff with Blagojevich about the Senate seat.
Obama responded: "I had no contact with the governor or his office and so I was not aware of what was happening. But as I said it is a sad day for Illinois. Beyond that I don't think it's appropriate to comment."
But Obama's response differs from Axelrod's account. Appearing on the local Fox News show in Chicago on November 23rd, before news of the Blagojevich arrest was released, Axelrod was asked if Obama had expressed a preference for his Senate replacement.
Axelrod told Fox: "He has not. I know he has talked to the governor. There's a whole range of names, many of which have surfaced. And he has a fondness for a lot of them."
Reportedly, the Obama campaign says Axelrod "misspoke" during his TV appearance.
See the video of Axelrod on Fox:
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