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06/28/2010

Alexi's Close "Call"

  What if Alexi Giannoulias had actually spoken by telephone to Rod Blagojevich in the fall of 2008? 

  The Illinois Treasurer, the 2010 Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, admits calling then-Governor Blagojevich's chief of staff John Harris a few days after the 2008 election to promote Valerie Jarrett as a Senate replacement for Barack Obama who had just been elected President. 

  Giannoulias also says he has been subpoenaed to be a defense witness in the Blagojevich trial.

  Admitting to having telephoned Rod Blagojevich's chief of staff about anything during the fateful fall of 2008 is bad business for a candidate in a statewide election just over four months from now.

  And talk about close calls: 

  If Harris had forwarded the live call to his boss, or the wiretapped Blago had returned Giannoulias' call, chances are there would be another name leading the statewide democratic ticket in 2010.

  Like so many other Illinois democrats during the past 18 months, Giannoulias has tried to distance himself from Blagojevich.  When asked about their relationship earlier in the campaign, he proudly has placed himself on the former governor's "enemies list".   He claims the two barely, if ever, spoke to each other after Blago's 2006 re-election, which by the way, Giannoulias and virtually every other statewide democratic elected official endorsed.

  But the Treasurer, apparently, did not consider himself so estranged in the fall of '08 that he would not call Blago's office to endorse the appointment of Jarrett.   

  Did Giannoulias still think he had some "juice" with the Governor?   

  Jarrett eventually removed her name from consideration and accepted a job as one of President Obama's key advisors.

  A spokeswoman for republican senate candidate and "on-the-lam" media fugitive Mark Kirk is already using the subpoena and events surrounding it to link Giannoulias to Blagojevich.  Kirsten Kukowski wrote in a statement "This revelation raises additional questions about Alexi Giannoulias that he needs to answer".

  Giannoulias, meanwhile, is counting himself among the other electeds and high-profile pols who have been called by the Blagojevich defense team as potential testifiers who are likely never to appear on the witness stand.

  The democrat's campaign spokesman Matt McGrath wrote "Alexi is not really a part of this circus".

  But he will be, Matt, if he has to testify.

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