Tenacious B

You gotta love this guy. He went to work today. Yep, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) sent his lawyer out to tell everyone he was in good spirits, but also "surprised, sad and innocent," and headed to the office. He may be at his desk, but the pressure is mounting in Chicago and Washington, as Barack Obama, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and the top city papers have called on him to resign, legislators are calling for impeachment and a top Blagojevich aide has resigned.

This might cause an ordinary mortal, even a tenacious politician, to step aside. But not this one. Blagojevich is digging in as the state legislature, the state attorney general and likely the Obama transition team scramble to figure out how to replace Obama in a legitimate process. Everywhere, the talk is about how to cope with the possibility that the stubborn, and some say delusional, Blagojevich just goes ahead and appoints someone now — for free ! He clearly isn't suffering from the proverbial stay-inside-with-curtains-drawn shame, and is perhaps eating some birthday cake as you read this.

Yes, Blagojevich clearly relishes the spotlight. And it looks like President-elect Obama will be sharing it with him. In the days and weeks to come, as the state likely prepares for and holds a special election, the awkward questions will continue to arise for Obama — did he or didn't he talk to his state's governor about the replacement? Though Obama hasn't been implicated in any way in the Blagojevich investigation, he told reporters yesterday he hadn't spoken with Blagojevich, contradicting a statement his top aide and alter ego David Axelrod made three weeks ago to the contrary — "I know he's talked to the governor." Unanswered questions like that will fuel this firestorm, and until there is an answer, the media and the Republican Party will continuously stoke the flames.

It was just two weeks ago that President Bush said he looked forward to the time when the "klieg lights shift somewhere else." Now they have shifted, and Obama will soon learn it’s hard to turn them off.


IS AXELROD CONFUSED, OR DID HE TELL THE TRUTH? Ask A.B. returns Monday, Dec. 15. Please join my weekly video Q&A by sending your questions and comments to askab@thehill.com. Thank you.