-By Warner Todd Huston
The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that union leader Thomas Balanoff of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) was contacted by President Obama to act as a go-between to help Obama friend Valerie Jarrett secure his vacated Illinois Senate Seat when now former Governor Rod Blagojevich was trying to sell the seat to the highest bidder.
Balanoff appeared as a witness at the Blago corruption trial today. He said that Obama called him the day before he was elected president.
“Tom, I want to talk to you with regard to the Senate seat,” Obama told him.
Balanoff said Obama said he had two criteria: someone who was good for the citizens of Illinois and could be elected in 2010.
Obama said he wasn’t publicly coming out in support of anyone but he believed Valerie Jarrett would fit the bill.
“I would much prefer she (remain in the White House) but she does want to be Senator and she does meet those two criteria,” Balanoff said Obama told him. “I said: ‘thank you, I’m going to reach out to Gov. Blagojevich.”
Balanoff testified that Blago broadly hinted that he’d love to be offered the top spot at Health and Human Services, but Balanoff also said he couldn’t deliver that.
Obama appointed Jarret to a position at the White House after the election.
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Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, BigHollywood.com, and BigJournalism.com, as well as RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, AmericanDailyReview.com, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.
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