Is Blagojevich Scandal A Distraction To Obama? President-elect Barack Obama has sought to distance himself from the scandal in Illinois involving Gov. Rod Blagojevich. But is the scandal affecting Obama's transition? At the very least, some say the scandal has become a distraction.
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Is Blagojevich Scandal A Distraction To Obama?

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Is Blagojevich Scandal A Distraction To Obama?

Is Blagojevich Scandal A Distraction To Obama?

Is Blagojevich Scandal A Distraction To Obama?

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/98255008/98254985" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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President-elect Barack Obama has sought to distance himself from the scandal in Illinois involving Gov. Rod Blagojevich. But is the scandal affecting Obama's transition? At the very least, some say the scandal has become a distraction.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

Joining us to talk now more about that controversy and other political developments is NPR news analyst Cokie Roberts. Good morning.

COKIE ROBERTS: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: Now, there's been a lot of talk since this story broke about how it might affect President-elect Barack Obama and his transition. How does that stand as of this morning?

ROBERTS: Reports of contacts between Governor Blagojevich and Chief of Staff-designee Rahm Emanuel were released over the weekend. But there was no indication that there was anything untoward in those conversations. And the U.S. attorney has gone out of his way to say that Obama and his team have not been part of this investigation. And also, Renee, Blagojevich seems, shall we say, displeased with the Obama camp's unwillingness to play ball with his ideas.

MONTAGNE: Right. According to - you can hear him on tape being displeased, with expletive-laced displeasure.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ROBERTS: Right.

MONTAGNE: You know, at the very least, though, Cokie, the scandal seems to have become at least something of a distraction for Mr. Obama.

ROBERTS: So he's keeping people interested in him through the Web, through all of his campaign operation, and hoping to not only keep them interested in him as president, but also interested in the legislation that he hopes to put forward, starting right away when we come into the new Congress with that big economic stimulus package that we expect to see.

MONTAGNE: Well, meanwhile, the man who is still president, George W. Bush, returned from his weekend trips to Iraq and Afghanistan to continuing bad economic news. What's happening with the bailout of the auto industry?

ROBERTS: There was a story in the Washington Post today saying that the financial services bailout has not really checked executive pay. So these measures are much tougher to write than they seem. And the president, though, has a problem with if he doesn't act, what effect it will have on the markets with only 10 more shopping days till Christmas.

MONTAGNE: Cokie, thanks very much. NPR news analyst Cokie Roberts. And you are listening to Morning Edition from NPR News.

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