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December 12th, 2008
01:47 PM ET

How much damage will the Illinois scandal do to President-elect Barack Obama?

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, has been avoiding reporters since news broke Tuesday that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich allegedly tried to sell Obama's seat in the Senate.

More specifically, he refuses to answer questions about whether he was the emissary who talked to Blagojevich about the Senate vacancy.

The criminal complaint says Blagojevich was willing to appoint Valerie Jarrett, a friend and advisor to Obama, to fill the seat, in exchange for a reward such as a high level appointment.

Obama maintains that he nor anyone on his staff had anything to do with the Governor's pay for play politics scheme caught on tape by FBI wire taps.

Rahm Emanuel was noticeably absent from a press conference Obama had yesterday.

A reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times reports seeing him at Chicago's City Hall yesterday afternoon to watch his kids perform in a school concert.

When the reporter asked him directly if he was the advisor named in the criminal complaint, he said, "You're wasting your time, I'm not going to say a word to you. I'm going to do this with my children ..."

Our question is: How much damage will the Illinois scandal do to President-elect Barack Obama?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.

And we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment


Filed under: Barack Obama
soundoff (180 Responses)
  1. D. R. Texas

    I don't think it will hurt him at all.

    December 12, 2008 at 1:51 pm |
  2. Jenny Rome Ga

    Jack,
    Because it was caught and acted upon fairly quickly and Obamas seat has remained untainted I doubt it will do much to effect Obama.

    December 12, 2008 at 1:53 pm |
  3. J.D. in NH

    Why on earth would the scandal affect Obama? This is media-generated hype. I'm betting someone on the Obama team dropped the dime on the Governor and, in the end, they'll be heroes. Will the media bother to cover that?

    December 12, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
  4. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    Not much. As I understand it, they were never really buddy buddy and kept eachother at arms length. President-elect Obama will check out his transition team to see if any of them were in cahoots with Blagoveich and if so,I,m certain he would idsmiss them immediately.

    December 12, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  5. Atlanta Charlie

    I believe Obama is still on his Honeymoon, so he will probably come out of it unharmed. Besides, unless there are connections that have not been released yet, he seems to be pretty well distanced from the real scandel. All told, it is nothing like some of the things that occurred under President Bush's watch. On the down side, I am not sure Jessie Jackson Jr. will do so well.

    December 12, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  6. Stacy from Loudoun County VA

    Jack, I think there will be little or no damage to P.E. Obama. When the cursing Governor calls you names on tape, it goes a long way to helping your case off the bat. If he is thrown out of office for being unfit to lead, then that leads even more credibility to your case.

    December 12, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  7. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    No more than just being a black, Democratic President-elect has already done. The Rabid Right hates anything Democratic and detests the thought of black man in the White House. No matter what Obama does or says, they will constantly be on his case, more so then they were on Bill Clinton.

    December 12, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  8. Jan from NW Iowa

    No much – unless somebody can prove that Obama or his close associates were talking deal with Blagoeiviech. Though the Republicans pundits are working hard to try to spin it that way – there's got to be proof.

    December 12, 2008 at 1:58 pm |
  9. Sharmaine

    None. He's hasn't done anything wrong. Why should he be held accountable for other people's actions. Again. People are finding any reason to make him out the bad guy. Get over it and give him a chance

    December 12, 2008 at 1:59 pm |
  10. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    The intensity of Blagojevich's hatred of the Obama team is a golden thing. Rather than doing damage, proof is now in that politics as usual is history after January 20th.

    I bet President-elect Obama is as proud of his enemies as he is of his friends.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  11. John in Arizona

    Gov. Blog is a clown, Obama is not. End of story.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  12. Daniel Ambrose

    Jack,
    None, if the President-elect himself or any of his staff members of "Team Obama" isn't involved. But if contrary, all credibility will take an abrupt detour.

    Daniel Ambrose,
    Atlanta, GA

    December 12, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  13. Rowena NC

    No damage at all for rational, sensible and sane people. That President-elect Obama's initial response was not as some thought it should have been is really no big deal.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  14. RI from Santa Rosa Ca

    If it plays out as it has so far, reasonable people will credit Obama with personally staying at arm's length and his staff for refusing to "pay to play." Of course, the right wing net cases will keep blathering on as usual with guilt by association.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:04 pm |
  15. Harriet

    If Ram Emanuel talked to the Governor,it would surprise no one, so why not tell all and be done with the speculation. Of course President
    Elect Obama and his transition staff should give the Governor some
    suggestions. Knowing that would stop those who would like to
    keep this issue up front in the news.Obama and his staff did not
    make any deals!!! So why cast doubts?

    December 12, 2008 at 2:04 pm |
  16. don in naples, florida

    nothing, it reveals more about the political arena. Can we trust it? Do our votes really count?

    December 12, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  17. Katiec Pekin, IL

    Only by being from the same state. PE Barack Obama got an ethics bill passed that goes into effect Jan 1, which seems to have instigated the governors quest for money as he could not have
    after then. There is no way they are even remotely connected in
    policies, ethics and integrity. Unfortunately there are some who
    will try to make it so. So, what's new?

    December 12, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  18. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    This is nothing more than a temporary distraction for Obama and his transition team. They have much more important things to spend their time worrying about.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  19. Janis, Lafayette, IN

    If this scandal was going to do any damage to President-Elect Obama, it would have been revealed at the onset. It is unfortunate that Gov. Blagojevich's corrupt dealings were revealed at this time, but better now than later. The people of Illinois have been waiting for this day for a very long time. He, not other politicians of the state, have sold Illinoians short for way too long. He is a crook, everyone knows it and that is why smart politicians like Obama kept their distance.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:10 pm |
  20. Kerry Diehl

    Not as much as it should do.

    As usual, Mr. "Squeaky Clean" will most certainly side-step most of this dirt.

    However, in my mind, this certainly provides another major "dot" to be connected in the long line leading to his past associations, alliances, possible deceptions and true political agenda.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:11 pm |
  21. Terry from North Carolina

    Jack
    Lets wait a couple of days and see how Obamas internal investigation of his staff turns out. If I have to guess I am sure there will be some fallout. It would not be fitting for an American President to take office without some sort of scandal.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  22. Tony S, Bourbonnais IL

    Hopefully, none. But they're already out to get him. This is really the last thing our country needs.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  23. Judy from Arizona

    Not much.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  24. Conor in Chicago

    This plays in well with one of your other questions Jack. This scandal will destroy Obama before he even takes office. Why? Rush Limbaugh. He will likely talk about this all day everyday until the end of time and all of his listeners will suck it up because somehow, someway, they think he is anything other than Nazi in a suit.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  25. Roger from Espanola, New Mexico

    Unless Obama did something completely out of character in his past , there shouldn't be any damage at all. Lets keep the blame focused of this corrupt governor where it belongs. There are too many serious issues awaiting our new president to waste time on which hunts

    December 12, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  26. Ivan

    Ooh, ooh, I have the answer... none.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  27. Joe, Wurtsboro,New York.

    None. The illioniosAttorney General is tryiny to remove him from office, in effect, to deny him a fairtrial through the media. He has not been found guilty of anything as of yet. She needs to do this so they can get their Democrat in office (Jessie Jackson Jr.). This is just good ol fashioned Illonios corrupt politics. Bussiness as usual. What a country!

    December 12, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  28. Dee in Florida

    If there is evidence that Obama was in any way implicated then it will do a lot of damage.

    On the other hand, if there is NO evidence or even suspicion that Obama had anything to do with this scandal, then I think it is the obligation of the media to stop linking the man to the issue, even in a "no, he didn't do it" way. People often cannot distinguish between guilt and no guilt, then only connect the 'name' with the crime and do not even notice that the 'name' was innocent.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  29. Mark in OKC

    It will do absolutely NO damage to Mr. Obama. Just like being impeached did not hurt Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton is a rock star now and he lied before federal prosecutors.....a crime which many people are serving time in prison for right now.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  30. Ray Lawson from Danville, VA

    Since Obama is involved with the Illinois mafia up to his eyeballs he should be damaged a lot but the news media will not report the facts so most citizens will not be aware of the situation.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  31. Pete from Atlantic Highlands, NJ

    No damage at all. The people who are parsing the President-elect's sentences and demanding "full disclosure" are pole-vaulting over mole hills and will never be satisfied no matter what information his team puts out. The facts are that the prosecutor said there was no evidence of the President-elect's involvement, and that the Governor called him a foul name. Neither of those things would have happened if Obama's team were dealing with the governor.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  32. Kris

    It will do little to damage Obama amongst his supporters and much to damage him amongst his doubters. Unless, of course we find out who let Blagojevich know Obama wouldn't play ball and why that person didn't report the attempted 'pay to play' scheme. If we ever get those facts Obama's actions towards that person will determine the damage done to Obama.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  33. Rose in Az

    I don't think it will do him much damage at all, he has been surrounded by these Chicago crooks for a long time and he keeps talking his way out of every issue. On the other hand I don't think it is going to do him much good either.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  34. Jerry Alpharetta, GA

    This will do no damage to him or to his agenda. What a big surprise, crooks in politics, especially from Illinois. It's time to move on. The Clinton advisors he has surrounded himself with know very well how to handle this type of topic, they have had lots of practice in protecting the Big Guy.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  35. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    None! Obama has NOTHING to do with the criminal idiotic governor of Illinois. Of course, the condervative right will try to connect the dots anyway they can to push dirt onto Obama.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  36. Terry in Hanover County

    The Illinois Governor scandal will not harm Obama, but it will harm those Republicans trying to taint Obama with it.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  37. Maureen in Tewksbury, MA

    It shouldn't do any damage, Jack. But that won't matter in the end because people will believe what they want to believe no matter what the truth is. People don't want to think about things, but would rather be told what to think. That's why talk radio is so popular. Just look at how many people still thought Obama was Muslim on election day, even though it was repeated reported as false for almost a full year prior. It's sad, really.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  38. Vinnie Vino

    Jack,

    None, he as no involvement in the matter...

    C.I., New York

    December 12, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  39. ajks

    Yes, if they needed the money that bad, they should have made concessions. And I am a union member.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  40. jyll from TEXAS

    none

    December 12, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  41. ajks

    The Republicans are very gleeful, hoping they can rub Obama in the mess. It won't happen!

    December 12, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  42. grandma lorraine

    Hopefully, none. I don't believe that Obama had anything personally to do with the governor's actions.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  43. karen-phoenix

    Absolutely NONE!!! It will show just how honest and forthright Obama is. Obama would NEVER have anything to do with Blagojevich from the minute he walked into the state senate!!! They disliked each other instensly. Obama was born and brought up in Hawaii which is more of an honest and visionary state and that is what Obama wants for this country!!! Read "Audacity of Hope"!!!

    December 12, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  44. Fran

    Unfortunately, it is hard to imagine Barack Obama not at the very least knowing about this. How much can he keep hidden is the answer. During the campaign so little was learned about him which was relevant. It is a shame if he gets hung out to dry now.
    Fran
    Bradenton, Florida

    December 12, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  45. Larry in Florida

    Probably nothing. I think he's covered with a protective shield. We need change and damn it, he better bring it on because we've over looked alot of question marks about him so lets let this one roll off his back too.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  46. Jay-San Antonio

    With full disclosure none.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  47. Bill, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    I think it depends on how they handle it. If they put everything out there in the open for everyone to see and prove they had no involvement with any bidding for the senate seat. Then they should be OK. In fact and might even help Obama prove that this is part of the change he has been talking about, by cooperating and open about their involvement if any in this matter. That is definitely something we haven't seen for quite some time.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  48. Treena, Pensacola,FL

    None Jack, If there was anything in Obama's character that would lend him to the corupt politics of Chicogo, his candicy would not have made it far enough to get any one to support nor endorse him beyond Chicogo

    December 12, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  49. Modest

    I don't know why the media tries to tie or bound the elected President to the governor behavour. Obama senate seat is vacant. The law allows the governor to appoint whoever qualified, instead off appointing someone he turns it to a free market. Therefore what the elected President has to do about this Governor behavour. Leave the president alone pls...

    Modest

    Toronto, Canada

    December 12, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  50. Karen - Nashville

    Unless there is an undidclosed connection, which I sincerely doubt, Obama is too far from the bad apple to be affected.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  51. Bob In Baltimore

    My Republican co-worker was quick to point out that Obama is from the corrupt Chicago gang and should be impeached before he takes office.....I pointed out that he was a sore loser idiot and to get over it.

    It will be looked into but don't think they will find anything but suspicious rhetoric that the Republicans will be shouting for the next 4 years. More fodder for Limbaugh I suppose.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  52. Anthony Smith

    None! I can't say as much for Jesse Jackson Jr though. Alot of dirt will come out in this wash.

    Wildwood Crest, NJ

    December 12, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  53. Vivian Fauntleroy, Largo MD

    Why are Americans, particularly politicians and pundits, so hell bound and determined to hold P-E-Obama accountable for, and damageable by the words and deeds of every lunatic who crosses his path. Yet, for eight years we were complacent and complicit in allowing the current administration to make a Humpty Dumpty out of our Constitution, our peace of mind, and our world standing? And we expect Obama to rebuild all that was torn down in six days. Folks, he is the elected one, not the CHOSEN ONE.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  54. Gary Dekko

    Obama needs all the help he can get from us. Let the media cool down about his involvement. We don't need another problem now

    December 12, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  55. AndyZ Fairfax, VA

    I personally believe no damage has been done to Obama. If there is any damage it will be from the massive hyperbole, hysteria, and yellow journalism as reported by the press. The last couple of days I've seen more Republican talking heads on TV than at any time since McCain lost. I would like to have an in depth examination of these radicals each time they go after a person with merely innuendo, like Obama. Jack, a little help please; which one applies, libel or slander?

    December 12, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  56. Erik

    About the same as Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers, his citizenship, his attending school in Indonesia, etc... I'm just curious to see what he'll be implicated in next. Maybe he had some involvement with Al Capone. He's also from Chicago. Or maybe Obama was there when the aliens were taken to Area 51. I am waiting with baited breath for the next scandal.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  57. KarenB, Florida

    Hard to say. Its also difficult to believe, if the entire Illinois system is affected by the highest officials being like that (so many for all these years), how could anyone not have been "touched at some time in some way."

    December 12, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  58. Annie, Atlanta

    That depends on how far those who hate the thought of a President Barack Obama are willing to take it. Of course they took the "fake" birth certificate all the way to the Supreme Court, and lost, so my guess is they'll get all the mileage they can out of this one, too.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  59. Charlie in Belen, New Mexico

    I doubt if the President-elect will suffer any political damage by the mess presently taking place in Illinois. Embararrassed, perhaps, in the same way that any Illinois resident is embarassed by such events. Not exactly something to bragg about, is it ???

    December 12, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  60. Harold from Anchorage,AK

    The right-wing nuts couldn't even wait till Barack takes office before trying to tear himdown!

    December 12, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  61. Irv Lilley

    Jack , If Obama is as intelligent as I hope he is, he will put to rest any
    and every attempt to harass him. The press does not help by constantly trying to link him to a stupid person. That is what the Grovernor Blagojveich is.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  62. Larry in Houston

    I think you're right Anthony....The more you hear Jackson keep defending himself, or to continue to keep making comments on the air, the more you feel that he may have more to do with it, to be perfectly honest.

    Larry
    Houston TX

    December 12, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  63. Teresa NY

    I dont believe it will do any damage at all. Obama has an unbelievable temperment and knows how to handle problems well. It will take much more than the wrongdoing of someone else to get degrade his high standing.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  64. Lady T

    NONE.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  65. Ryan, Galesburg, IL

    So long as the media are trying to drag him into this, it could do a lot of damage. On its merits however, this story has no legs.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  66. Paul

    Obama will survive, but I can't say the same for Rahm. His silence is deafening. Obama may be in the process of considering another Chief of Staff.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  67. Bruce St Paul MN

    I think all of the swing states have finished swinging and the invites have already gone out for the inauguration. So short of an indictment, there is not much that can hurt him.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  68. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    I don't understand why the two persons are mentioned in the same sentence.

    I live in the suburbs of Detroit, because I live here am I part of the Kwame Kilpatrick scandal?

    We must stop the fantasized guilt by association in the spirit of sensationalism.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  69. Peter

    what is wrong with folks in the media? so if your neighbor doesn't show up at work, your boss should fire you? i am getting really sick about this guilt by association, if anything this election shows that most of us in this country are sick of it too.

    Peter Ikiriko

    Dallas, TX

    December 12, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  70. Sherman Daniels

    Maybe not too much, and not that it should.

    How much will the scandal affect the Illinois governor?

    honestly,
    S. Daniels
    WV

    December 12, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  71. Kyle- DuPont, WA

    Hopefully none. However, if Blagojevich even hints that he spoke to Obama on the subject,..even in jest,..then the damage will be undoable.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  72. ANGIE IN PA

    No Damage Jack, Obama has no control over what the Goverment did or was Doing, as long as Obama is not Involved Thats the Problem the Media the RNC All want to make it seem Obama is Responsible for the Govenors actions,And thats wrong.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  73. June in FL

    None....why should it? Luckily Obama represents the "good" in Chicago. Not everyone is corrupt, just the ego maniacs.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  74. Cynthia

    It should not do any damage to President Elect Obama because as far as I have heard thus far he did not have anything to do with it. All the blame should go to the Governor who attempted to do the pay to play or whatever it is called.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  75. Ruthie, Stone Mountain, GA

    None. Obama roll in this is all media hype. He can not say enough to satify the media. The DA and FBI said he had no role in any wrong doing and that where it ended for me. I wished the media felt the same.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  76. shirley thibodeaux

    Jack,

    Absolutely nothing!!!! They didn't seem to have a relationship with each other. Time will tell will it not?

    December 12, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  77. arilion (from NY)

    Very little. Besides, any auditory dirt on him would have been leaked long ago by the Bush administration to derail his election. This information, however, does give cause to retain US Attorney Fitzgerald (who has eclipsed Rudy's record) in his present capacity to prosecute this case.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  78. Jasmine in Germany

    I originally saw it as potentially damaging (Illinois being Obama's State), but I see it differently now. I see it to be an advantage to Obama, because political corruption crime has been something Obama has considered to be of great concern for many years and has been part of his "Change" package. Corruption has been around since the beginnings of mankind, especially in civil politics. The USA should not be tolerant to those who have lost their way through greed, after all this is the 21st Century and no one can claim ignorance. Obama has been placed in a position as a world leader and will improve humanity via a more transparent government. Jack, maybe this was a much needed example of how low people in power can go.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  79. mac from traverse city Michigan

    Unless there is a "smoking gun" that implicates Mr. Obama this "scandel" will be like a jeopardy question in thirty days. The talking head hate mongers will roll around in it longer than that but the thinking public will move on.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  80. Brad in Wichita, KS

    The scandal will actually be viewed as a feather in Obama's cap. The fact that their is audio evidence proving that Obama was able to elevate out of the corruption is a positive, not a negative, and the world needs more like him.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  81. Joyce in Florida

    Let me do the math... Obama represented Illinois in the U.S. Senate; Blagojevich represented his greed and corruption in the Illinois Governor's Mansion. They know each other well enough to say, "Hi. How ya doin'."

    I'm just not seeing a connection there. We'll have to leave it up to the media to create one.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  82. F Machado - Connecticut

    I think none. Obama has nothing to do with the ambition of the IL governor.
    He wanted go get something out of it and not he will get out of it for something he did wrong.

    F.Machado – CT

    December 12, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  83. Ricky

    Well according to the daily tracking poll from Gallup today was Obama highest ratings yet. So for now the answer is no, I think people still remember the Governor cursing out Obama because Obama not corrupt .

    December 12, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  84. John

    Jack: None!!! Just because you live in a state does not make you guilty of anything.

    John
    Alabama

    December 12, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  85. Chris - Savannah GA

    He may not have been directly involved, but the question is did he have knowledge and decided to look the other way. Looking the other way is condoning the behavior, and therefore he is just as guilty. I hope this is not the case for the sake of the country.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  86. Anna, Virgin Islands

    None

    December 12, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  87. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    None when we find out it was a Republican that offered Blago a half million dollars for Obama's senate seat.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  88. mcarey from Ohio

    No damage at all. There is no proof of ANY involvement from Obama or his team and if there was even an iota of evidence it would have been BREAKING NEWS!! Also, we are too worried about more important things (like eating and having a job) to care about something that never even took place

    December 12, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  89. Gigi in Alabama

    As long as he keeps the high road, it won't hurt him. Let the Illinois attorney general take care of it. She seems to be doing a creditable job of getting rid of Blogojevick (sp!).

    December 12, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  90. Hope M. Madisonville, KY

    I don't see why it would. He's not involved in Illinois politics
    anymore and when he was, he was the one who pushed for
    ethics reform in IL and DC. It just goes to show he was right and
    these politicians need to be held accountable when they betray
    the public trust.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  91. Richard Green

    None, Jack. The President-elect is from Illinois. That's the only connection Obama has with this clown. Your viewers should be reminded that throughout the campaign Obama kept his distance from this jerk. The right-wing goofballs are going to waste a lot of electrons trying to connect Obama with this buffoon.

    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Cal.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  92. paul in haddam

    none what soever. obama is too intelligent to get wrapped up in all of this, but if the republicans have their way, they will do their best to discredit what could be the greatest presidency since f.d.r.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  93. joey yankee lake n.y.

    I think that Obama will come out of this without a stain. However, I don't beleive he or his staff is innocent of any wrongdoing. Is Obama really the only Illonios politician that is not corrupt? He made David Alelrod say he mispoke, this is their way of saying I should not have opened my mouth, just like Hillary with the "sniper fire" incident. It is just another way of saying "i'm lying". This Gov. is entitled to a fair trial, but he won;t get it because the media is already got this guy guilty.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  94. Howard M. Bolingbrook IL

    Jack, This Blagojevich scandal should do absolutely nothing to Obama, unless he is directly implicated. This is more Ayers and Wright, guilt by association nonsense. I believe the country is sick and tired of that process, which was rejected via this years election.

    Obama nor anyone else can or should be held accountable for the actions good or bad of every one they know/knew or rode the bus with in their life time, in Illinois or any place else. To me this alleged Obama taint is all media supposition, in an effort to fill the 24/7 news cycle need.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  95. Nuwan

    None. I think majority of the Americans who elected him knows that Obama needs to focus on saving this country from a damaged economy than worrying about being damaged by an act of a indecipline politician. So people would not shift opionion to bring damage to Obama. I am talking about the majority of Americans, not the cunning republicans who may still use this to sling mud at Obama.

    – Nuwan from Houston, TX

    December 12, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  96. Lynne

    It's rediculous that the question is even being asked. Obama is clearly on the other end of the spectrum politically as noted in Blagojevich's colorful comments. The question that should be asked is "Why is it that Bush and Cheney can walk away from Libby squeaky clean (to include commuting his sentance) with hardly any media attention, but anyone commits a crime within 100 miles of Obama and he gets all the blame?"

    December 12, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  97. Kevin, Chester Springs PA

    Zip. Zilch. Nada.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  98. cy gardner

    Unless you're still listening to the right wing noise machine, Obama comes out looking pretty good. He seems to have had about as much to do with Blog... Blago.... the Illinois Governor as he had to do with William Ayers, Bruno Hauptman and the Grinch who stole Christmas. cy arlington,va

    December 12, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  99. arlene in iowa

    I don't think Barrock Obamma had anything to do with this scandal, but boy is this going to get really good..I'm wondering how many careers are going to be flushed down the toilet on this one. should be interesting..

    December 12, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  100. vern-t anaheim,ca

    it depends wether he was involved which i don't believe he was,i take him at his word saying he had nothing to do with the illinois scandal.republicans will try to involve him in the scandal but i don't believe they will suceed.there are scandals in the republican party as well like the sen.from alaska ted stevens and others

    December 12, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  101. June-NY

    I doubt it will do much damage to him- the country wants and needs him to do well and will cut him a lot of slack.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  102. Lois,

    Absolutely, none.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  103. Independent for Obama

    Hopefrully none....but it does make you wonder if we may find out Obama did some dirty deals in order to thrive as Senator of such a politically corrupt State. I guess we'll just have to "stay tuned" for the next 4 years and see what comes out.
    Janie, Springfield IL

    December 12, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  104. claudia dick

    thats a foolish question ,the media always try to blame oboma for someone elses problem.its like he cant win if he talks to some scum and they do something wrong its like he did it .

    December 12, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  105. bigjoerice

    None if he's right when he says that he and his are clean. Otherwise, he might be the first President in history who gets inaugurated on one day and impeached the next.

    December 12, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  106. Lois, Canada

    Absolutely none. Pres.-elect Obama will come out of this, 'smelling like a rose!'

    December 12, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  107. Mike, Syracuse NY

    It depends Jack; how much will the MSM actually dig, or will they just accept Obama's word like they do for everything thing else?

    December 12, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  108. bigjoerice

    eden prairie mn

    None if he’s right when he says that he and his are clean. Otherwise, he might be the first President in history who gets inaugurated on one day and impeached the next.

    December 12, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  109. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    Obama's riding high. He's clean no matter what the fanatical radical right wing conservatives say and write. I have no doubt and no worries about that.

    December 12, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  110. Ray Kinserlow

    I hope this tempest flies by quickly. We need a functioning government.

    Ray Kinserlow
    Lubbock, Texas

    December 12, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  111. NANCY M.- Colorado

    If there is damage, it should be to the people who are still trying to damage him. For Pete's sake, let the dirty tricks stop, already. Makes you wonder if everybody in the US really wants us to succeed. It is interesting how some folks in the Grand Old Party still have their spears out.

    December 12, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  112. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    None, no matter how hard the bleepin' Republicans try to link him to the corrupt Governor. The tapes show he had nothing but disdain for Obama because his "people" wouldn't take part in the wrong-doing.

    December 12, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  113. Ann from S.C.

    As long as no link is found between the Illinois governor and the president-elect, there will be no damage. There may be some who are against Obama who will attempt to create a link but I doubt that a real connection will be found.

    December 12, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  114. susan from Idaho

    Somewhat if the republicans have anything to do with the story. Next week it will be one of them in the hot seat and this will all die down. Corruption talks and honesty walks or something like that.

    December 12, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  115. James in TN

    Shouldn't be that much but you know the right wing will try everything they can to put him there.

    December 12, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  116. John from collinsville, Illinois

    President elect Obama should have his hands full with economic problems and not worry about republican hoopla. I beleive the american people care more about this and keeping their jobs. If there is damage cool hand can handle it !

    December 12, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  117. Kenny in Austin, Texas

    Blagojevich is a pig and President Obama is the new Teflon Don. This will not touch him (Obama) at all similar to his so called connection to terroist, Pastor Wrong (I mean Wright), and Hillary of course.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  118. Brian

    None

    December 12, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  119. Richard, Syracuse, NY

    NONE. But just like with the Clinton's the GOP and Rush Limbaugh and other will keep it alive for the faithful who is willing to drink the kool aid. the GOP motto is "Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up"

    December 12, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  120. Travis Kelso

    No one will remember this in 4 years.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  121. Bridget

    Why would the criminal action of Chicago's governor damage P.E. Obama? Next PE Obama is going to be damaged by the acts of the Bush administration–oh right that's already happening.
    Texas

    December 12, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  122. Jim Green, Seguin, TX, www.Inclusivism.org

    Jack…..The media and the lunatic right love the Gov. Blagojevich scandal….which should tell the media something….but the would be Woodward and Bersteins, such as Drew Griffin, should get their head out of their arse!

    This cannot be treated as just another political scandal for several reasons!

    First, Obama needs every ounce of political capitol he can get just to get America out of the nightmare hole the Bush administration has dug for us—so even the hint of a connection to this jerk governor…who obviously is loving the attention he is getting—IS HURTING AMERICA! Is selling soap so important that the media would shoot America in the foot (again)! Where is your common sense?

    Further, Blagojevich was elected by the people of Illinois….why don’t you put them on trial?

    HINT—rely on the venerable “innocent until proven guilty”. When this crook goes on trial in a couple of years….cover it fully, but in the mean time this story belongs buried on page 100!

    Jim Green, Democrat candidate of Congress, Dist 21, TX, 2000 http://www.Inclusivism.org

    December 12, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  123. RJ Gaudet

    Frankly it does more damage to the press than it does Obama Admin in waiting ... the press has lost perspective!

    December 12, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  124. Andy

    maybe the vetting process will start now that it is too late

    December 12, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  125. Diane Ghil

    Absolutely no damage what so ever. I am so tired of hearing the reporters asking what they knew, when they knew it and on and on. He is not a target – why can't you leave it be at that?
    I guess there is no other pressing news to be analyzed in our nation's security or in our financial worlds so you can concentrate on what Obama knew. Can't you take his word for it – he said it two times.

    Diane from Alabama

    December 12, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  126. Benny

    None. However, if Wolf and others like the American Morning crew continues to force this issue I am quite sure something will be manufactured to implicate President Elect Obama.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  127. Ken Theabolt

    Jack,
    To answer your question as briefly as possible – Zero.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  128. Julie of Greenacres WA

    None; however, he and/or his team need to make everything open about any and all contacts with the governor's office. I'm sick to death of the Far Right making hay with this. Colin Powell is right – people need to stop listening to Rush Limbaugh, etc.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  129. Calandra Ferguson

    NONE. And WHY is CNN working overtime to tie Obama and one of his advisors to the story so desperately? The REAL and only story is a sitting Gov. was trying to sell a US senate seat for personal gain. That's taken a back seat to the Obama non-story. I hope with the new adminstration coming in we'll finally get back to REAL journalism versus tv personalities and wishful thinking reporting.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  130. Shari

    Even before he was caught on tape swearing at (and about) the president-elect, it was well-known in Illinois that Blago hated President-elect Obama. On election night, Blago wasn't invited to the Grant Park celebration. He spent his time visiting local TV stations. President-elect Obama kept his distance from Blago, and now the rest of the world understands why.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  131. Harry Lime

    Chicago is a cesspool of corruption in politics. You can't get to be an elected person there without making and keeping promises, and they are the worst kind of people. People who live there should revolt and toss them all out.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  132. mary jane Barenbaum

    It's just the media and the Republicans that are wishing and hoping for something, anything but it won't happen. The country needs to concentrate on the real problems we have and hope the Obama is given the chance he needs to head us in the right direction.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  133. chris

    You can't be senator and not have some level of connection to the governor of the you represent. However, I think the biggest issue will be the time spent trying to diffuse questions like this one everyday instead of doing the real work. If there is more of a connection, which I doubt there is .... well... not a good start for Obama.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  134. Charlie

    I don't think there will be any damage. Most everyone is completely in love with him right now. It would take an army of scandals like this to bring him down. It is terrible that people are so blind to how corrupt the people he associates with are. He must be corrupt too, I believe.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  135. Ken in NC

    I hope President elect Obama is not a part of this mess. I have confidence in him but not so much in his staff. So many will be looking for a way to tag him even if only through a staffer. Even is he is clean there will be those that will say he bought his way out of the scandal

    December 12, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  136. patti -clevland,ohio

    Rahm Emanuel clearly was the tipoff to the Federal investigators.... good for him. I want to see some integrity in government again.... it is so sadly missed

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  137. Jim, from Las Vegas

    It will do as much damage to Obama as was done by Obama accepting for 20 years the spirital guidance of a man who thinks Dec. 7 marks the day the US bombed Hiroshima, which is to say absolutely none.

    It's an entirely different question if you want to ask how much damage will be done to the US by having a leader who has never seen a crook in Chicago politics or was unaware of what his minister of 20 years was saying.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  138. Concerned Citizen

    The world is FULL of "stupid" people .. crooks and criminals ..
    IF anything this situation should make Obama look even better ..

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  139. Delores Anderson

    My faith in Barack Obama is unshaken. People need to stop speculating and wait for the facts.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  140. Ellie

    None.. people are too busy worrying about keeping their homes, paying their bills, keeping their jobs to give a rats ass about much of anything else.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  141. Gary from Kansas

    NONE. The press has been trying to make that connection for 3 days. Forget it. Move on. Get a life.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  142. Jacqueline

    Jack, I am really confused by the news coverage of this and the press trying to link this to Obama. Where was the outrage when Bush pushed us in an unnecessary war, killing thousands of children and wounding more than thirty thousand? It is a sad day in this country when this is what the media thinks is important.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  143. ilan geva

    it depends on you, the media. When people don't want to talk to you you refuse to accept it, and you create "damage"
    Accept it, you have to create hot air, without it, you have no jobs...

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  144. Charlie

    sorry, i left our the city and state.
    Florence, SC

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  145. debg

    Obama will be fine. He's weathered far worse than this. It's unfortunate, though. The "testing" Biden warned about seems to have begun from within his own state.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  146. Joanna, North Lauderdale, FL

    As much damage as the press wants to do. The days of reporting news is over so now it's make up the news till we get the facts and sometimes by the time facts come out even if it is in dispute of the original allegations the damage is done. As of right now I don't see other than party and State relations I don't see what Obama has to do with this mess. I'm sure someone in his team spoke with Governor Nutcase but it doesn't mean they were doing a deal with him. According to the recording they weren't. But that's not good enough for the media is it?

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  147. Dagny Taggart

    As sophomoric as it may sound I can't help but admit that part of me wished Obama had somehow been found involved. Who knows? We can always hold out for a sliver of hope.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  148. Brian Galebach

    None. It only will do damage to the American public, because the more time Obama has to waste addressing this issue, the less time he has to work on fixing the problems that affect us all.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  149. Chris Turner

    The only people worrying about the Obama campaign and the Illinois corruption scandal are members of the news media. You are trying to fill the huge vacuum left by the conclusion of campaign season. This issue is "made-up," full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  150. Kris Craig in Olympia, WA

    Not much, Jack. Since the evidence seems clear that Obama had nothing whatsoever to do with this governor's crime spree, the only people who will believe Obama's guilty of wrongdoing anyway are those nutjobs who already believe he's a terrorist infiltrator from the Soviet Republic of Kenya.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  151. Jerel

    You know, who really cares about the scam at this point? I'm surprised that we are even given this the amount of coverage that it is, lets talk about this failing economy, jobs, health care, etc., etc.... This is really and truly what the American people want to hear, not about some insane Gov. that has gotten greety..... TALK ME DOWN!!!!!

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  152. andrew of california

    Why is this so serious. Blago only wanted 1.5 million for the Senate seat "pay for play." Hillary Clinton wanted 25 million for "pay to play." What's the difference? Who's the bad guy?

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  153. Jeff Campel, Scottsdale, AZ

    I don't think this will have any effect on Barack Obama. However, I'm waiting for Rush Limbaugh to implicate the Clinton's in some way.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  154. Alex - Winston-Salem, NC

    Obama ran a clean campaign, and as the first black president, he knows that people will be scrutinizing his every move. He is too smart a man to have been involved in such nonsense. He will be fine.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  155. Will T. Virginia

    This is just a continuation of the Palin-style campaign by the Republicans to make something out of nothing.. We have real issues to deal with, let's talk about the real issues. !!

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  156. Frank in Tucson

    It will do nothing to Obama, particularly long term. It may leave the news MSM with a new enemy, the left. Nobody is investigating Obama or his staff; no one is saying that they are involved in any way; the transcripts suggest that whatever was said showed Obama and the 'mystery' spokesperson above reproach; but we have the news trying to find out what was said? Is this backyard gossip news?

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  157. Sam

    None. He's not that stupid to be involved and will fire anyone who may be in his team that is involved. The GOP will try to make this another Whitewater, but we have too many other problems to ride this dead horse. I'm sure O'smiley & Rush (to Judgement) will try to blow this wind in President Obama's face, but he'll duck.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  158. rick meyers

    Shouldn't hurt Obama at all. He had nothing to do with it. It should be evident to everybody that this is a last ditch ploy by the republicans to discredit the president elect.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  159. PENNY

    Absolutely, positively, NONE! NADA! ZILCH!

    Oakland, Ca.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  160. Belinda Bivens

    None, but some one has a lot to fear.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  161. Mike

    None. Obama hasn't so much as acknowledged Blagojevich's existence on the political scene for quite some time. Blagojevich was probably the only democratic governor not at the DNC, and was a ghost on the campaign trail.

    To bad for Jesse Jackson Jr. though. Now the seat will go to some muppet of a state senator instead of a deserving congressman.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  162. Sharon

    No damage ! Obama was not involved !

    Get real – this guy Blago is
    a common criminal who happens to have a powerful position !

    Illinois needs to vet its politicians better !!

    December 12, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  163. Mike Farrace Sacramento

    As long as Obama is thorough, methodical and completely transparent in his presentation of any contact his staff had with the governor, this won't hurt him a bit. It didn't hurt that the Blago called him a you-know-what, either. I'd like to hear a little more about that little exchange, actually.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  164. Benny

    None. However, if Wolf, Campbell, and others continue to dramatize this and spin what was listed in the FBI charges, I am quite sure he will be incriminated sooner or later. The idiotic governor said quite a few expletives about Obama so why continue to dramatize this.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  165. Nick D. Neighbour

    None Jack! DESPITE your and the rest of the JACKAL PRESS'S best efforts!
    Nick D. Neighbour.
    Pasadena. CA.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  166. Dave Evans

    I agree with Anthony Smith. The fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  167. Christian

    None. This is yet another attempt to put charactor flaw to Obama whom he has been loosely related to. While everyone would like to think Obama has/ or will control over every issue in this country... The illinois senete seat is low on the totem poll compared to the rest of this countries problems where it is clear he is focusing his time.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  168. Carol

    If the investigation shows that Obama is not a target then why is the press determined to make him a target. If Obama and his staff did nothing wrong then no damage should be done.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  169. manesha

    I am just wondering about the timing of the arrest. I mean why didnt Feds wait and catch a transaction in process rather than just stop at phone conversation.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  170. Dwight

    The main damage is to the credibility of news reporters who aren't satisfied to let the criminal investigators do their jobs. There is no news - yet. It may come, but please report facts and refrain from elevating cynical questions and innuendo to the status of inciminating evidence.

    Springfield IL

    December 12, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  171. tammy bio

    None, just because the president elect comes from illinois does not give the media or anyone else the right to try to connect him to it. I think people are just trying to make up a scandal where there really is none. you people just need to let it go and let the pres-elect concentrate on getting the american economy back on track.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  172. Nancy Tait

    None, no matter how hard some people will try to inflict damage.

    Altamonte Springs, FL

    December 12, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  173. Justin

    Little to none... republicans will rattle thier sabers for a bit to drown out the rattling of the bones in ther own closets, then it will fade away.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  174. Jim, from Las Vegas

    It will do as much damage to Obama as was done by Obama accepting for 20 years the spirital guidance of a man who thinks Dec. 7 marks the day the US bombed Hiroshima, which is to say absolutely none.

    It's an entirely different question if you want to ask how much damage will be done to the US by having a leader who has never seen a crook in Chicago politics or was unaware of what his minister of 20 years was saying.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  175. Val

    If the media has its way, a lot, sad to say. You guys are like a pack of wolves that smell blood, you just can't resist. I long for the days when you reported the news rather than trying to make the news.
    New Jersey

    December 12, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  176. Lindsay - Clearwater Florida

    The illinois scandal won't affect Pres. Elect Obama at all. There are murders, thefts and many other crimes that will not affect him too. Obama, like Truman, came out clean from a dirty machine. He has acted with integrity and will continue to do so in an open way.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  177. Phil, Georgia

    It will have no impact on Pres. Obama!! What more evidence do evil greedy, republicans need than Blogoveigch who said Obama would not do the dirty politics that he wanted him to. He would not have called Obama those names if he was appeasing Blogo.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  178. martin wiesler

    This mess is going to drag and drag out forever–these are things that were in the works long before he was elected. J>J>JR> is the person who's going to come out smelling the worst–of course Obama was/is tight with him.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  179. Angela Hernandez TACOMA

    Jack it should have no effect on Obama, However in a attempt for CNN to keep up its ratings by asking this question... and running this information into the ground, with much speculation, I am sure no one there is asking the question Why CNN keeps saying he has been cleared, yet contuine to raise doubt, I adore you on many occasions however today is not one of them...

    December 12, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  180. claudia

    The Illinois scandal should have no effect on Pres-elect Obama because he has no part in these scandals. So, why should it effect him what another politician does for personal gain?

    December 12, 2008 at 5:15 pm |