Rahm Pushed Obama's Preference for Appointing Jarrett, Says Former Deputy Gov - NBC Chicago
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Rahm Pushed Obama's Preference for Appointing Jarrett, Says Former Deputy Gov



    In a phone call two days before the 2008 presidential election, Rahm Emanuel let it be known that Obama wanted Valerie Jarrett to fill his soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat.

    Testifying today during the Blagojevich corruption trial, John Harris, Blagojevich's former deputy governor, said that Emanuel called him on Nov. 2nd and made it clear that Obama wanted Jarrett.

    Emanuel didn't mention a name. Harris testified it was clear that Emanuel meant Jarrett, the former chairman of the Chicago Transit Authority who is now President Obama's senior advisor.

    "He wanted to convey to me that (Obama) had a preference," Harris said.

    Harris reiterated the conversation to Blagojevich, who wondered openly how he should respond. "It's got no bargaining power at all," Blagojevich said.

    According to secretly recorded tapes played in court today, Harris told Blagojevich that Emanuel asked whether it would be helpful for Obama to call. Harris told Emanuel "yes" and told Blagojevich he might get a call.

    According to the tapes, Blagojevich and Harris discussed countering with the idea that he is already planning to appoint names like Bill Daley or Lisa Madigan. He then wonders what he can get for himself from Obama -- joking about being appointed as a UN Ambassador, and speaking more seriously about Health and Human Services Secretary.

    "That would be cool, huh?" Blagojevich said.