Late Tuesday afternoon we learned that President-elect Barack Obama’s incoming chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel has spoken personally to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich about potential candidates to fill Obama’s U.S. Senate seat. But all of the contact was “appropriate and acceptable,” according to top Obama lawyer Greg Craig.
Emanuel, along with Obama and top aide Valerie Jarrett, was interviewed this past week by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. The report released by Obama’s transition team detailed the extent of the contact Obama aides have had with Blagojevich and the governor’s chief of staff.
The report says that no members of the transition team discussed, or were aware of any “deals” Blagojevich was attempting to make in exchange for a senate appointment.
The Obama camp says the report was delayed at the request of the U.S. Attorney’s office. And despite the fact that there isn't any real damaging news contained in it, the release still feels like a news dump.
Recall that one of the Bush Administration’s biggest news dumps came the day before Christmas Eve three years ago.
It was December 23, 2005 when the administration admitted that its domestic surveillance program was a bit more detailed than previously revealed. That story didn’t exactly fade from the headlines.
It also brings to mind the many Friday/holiday news dumps over the course of the 2008 presidential race. It was a Friday afternoon in mid-March that we learned Tony Rezko was a much bigger fundraiser for Barack Obama than previously disclosed.
John McCain’s medical records hit reporter’s inboxes after 5 p.m. the Friday before Memorial Day. And the McCain camp dumped a whole lot of Sarah Palin oppo right before Labor Day and as a major hurricane was bearing down on the Gulf Coast.
It was also a Friday afternoon this past August that former Sen. John Edwards admitted to an extramarital affair.
No doubt there are others I haven’t mentioned here, but it’s not as though the timing of any of these revelations really lessened the impact of whatever news they contained. At least I would argue that it didn’t.
Tuesday’s Drudge headline blared, “Obama’s Christmas Eve Blago Dump.”
Look at it this way—if the timing doesn’t even keep the news off the Campaign Insider Blog…it’s not really a good strategy.
Shane D’Aprile is senior editor at Politics magazine. firstname.lastname@example.org