The 538 electors of the Electoral College will meet today at noon to cast their votes for President and Vice President. While Barack Obama has the trappings of the President-elect, he doesn’t officially assume that office until the votes are certified in the 50 state capitals and the District of Columbia.
Truth be told, the Obama administration is not shaping up to be the “new dawn of American leadership” promised six weeks ago. Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, Bill Richardson and Tom Daschle are not exactly fresh faces.
And big-hair Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is overshadowing the transition to power.
Throughout the primary and general elections, Obama lamented “distractions.” Now, he will enter the White House with the mother of all distractions – his incoming chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is a key witness in an ongoing criminal investigation.
The Blago mess may also be a cautionary tale for Obama supporters.
Shortly after Election Day, Jackson Jr. launched a very public campaign to be appointed to Obama’s senate seat. My inbox was clogged with messages from the Jackson camp touting his newspaper endorsements and a poll showing he was the “top choice of Illinois Democrats to succeed Obama.”
BTW, the poll also showed that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan had zero support among black Democrats.
While Jackson Jr. thinks he’s “entitled” to the seat, the Chicago Tribune reports he didn’t make the cut of candidates who would be “acceptable” to Obama:
Another source said that contact between the Obama camp and the governor's administration regarding the Senate seat began the Saturday before the Nov. 4 election, when Emanuel made a call to the cell phone of Harris. The conversation took place around the same time press reports surfaced about Emanuel being approached about taking the high-level White House post should Obama win.
Emanuel delivered a list of candidates who would be "acceptable" to Obama, the source said. On the list were Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, Illinois Veterans Affairs director Tammy Duckworth, state Comptroller Dan Hynes and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Chicago, the source said. All are Democrats.
Sometime after the election, Emanuel called Harris back to add the name of Democratic Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan to the approved list, the source said.
The respite from political scandals was short-lived. A new Rasmussen poll found that 45 percent of American voters say “President-elect Obama or one of his top campaign aides was involved in the unfolding Blagojevich scandal in Illinois.”
Now in production: “The Hunting of the President President-elect.”