Sunday, July 11, 2010

When Axelrod saved Blagojevich

From Obama and Blago Blog. What's also ignored by MSM is this crew was the face of Illinois Progressive Politics for more than a decade. This was good, progressive, Liberalism in my State.
Barack Obama and his coterie of top aides now act as if they barely know Rod Blagojevich. What isn’t widely absorbed is that David Axelrod played a key role in Blagojevich’s rise in politics. He guided his election to the U.S. Congress in 1996 and, at a critical juncture, deflected a Chicago Tribune investigation that could have derailed his career years before the U.S. Attorney did.

The story included evidence that Blagojevich was a ghost payroller on the Chicago City Council payroll and that he was illegally moonlighting as a lawyer in cases opposing the city.

Before the Chicago Magazine explored this episode last year, a Tribune reporter not associated with the 1996 story told me that Axelrod worked furiously to tone it down. He may have succeeded, according to the Chicago Magazine account.

Axelrod was also a fierce protector of his client. He brought in his friend Carol Ronen, a progressive state representative and vocal gay-rights activist, to be campaign manager—a move intended to put a good-government face on Blagojevich, who was seen by many as simply a Machine hack. And when Axelrod got word that a team at the Tribune was working on an investigative series on Mell (and, by extension, his young protégé, Blagojevich), the ex-Trib reporter complained vociferously. He argued, as the former city editor Hanke Gratteau recalls today, that the paper was “conducting the equivalent of a proctology exam” on Blagojevich. When the Tribune finally ran its story—a probing but not particularly hard-hitting portrayal of Mell that extolled Blagojevich as the “perfect candidate” with “good looks a soap opera star would envy”—some inside the newsroom suspected that Axelrod’s aggressive pushback had killed a tougher version. Gratteau told Crain’s Chicago Business, “The only thing he killed at the Tribune was his good name and reputation.”
Despite its lack of impact, the story should have served as a red flag for Illinois voters when Blagojevich sought the Governor’s office. Sadly, it didn’t.
Maybe 'cause way too many of us in Illinois were a little mixed up about red flags with too many wacky ideas left from our youth.

Update: Via The Real Barack Obama with a nod to anon below,

Below: Axelrod “explains” why POTUS Obama made a recess appointment for Donald Berwick to head Medicare/Medicaid and bypassed the hearing process — completely. Guess why? Urgency — to avoid a political circus. He talks about General David Petraeus’ demotion from CENTCOM to Afghanistan to replace General Stanley McChrystal. Finally, watch Axelrod squirm dithers about Tom Balanoff, Valerie Jarrett, and the Rod Blagojevich trial.


Anonymous said...

Bill; I don't think it's available yet I just viewed David Axelrod on ABC's "This Week"...He was asked about the testimony of Balanoff and how in contradicted the statment Obama made just after the arrest of Milorad...He sounded like a blabbering idiot.

Bill Baar said...

Thanks it