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Barack's Blago Break

  Barack Obama ran into a burning building.

  The President's advisers understood the political risk when they arrived in sweet home Chicago Wednesday night and planned to spend all day Thursday here.  They knew the Rod Blagojevich jury would be conducting its eighth day of deliberations--and possibly would announce a verdict--while Mr. Obama was attending one official event and three political fundraisers. 

  The White House decided to throw caution to the wind and make the trip anyway.

  And two of the President's advisers--Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett--who had been subpoenaed as possible witnesses in the trial, returned home with Obama so the boss wouldn't feel "hung out to dry" if the worst (a verdict) actually happened. 

  Think about it for a moment.  If the Blagojevich jury had come back Thursday, ABC7 and every other TV news organization in Chicago would have gone "wall-to-wall" with coverage as soon as it was announced a verdict had been reached.  We would have filled the time until the decision was actually announced and stayed on the air for several hours with reaction and analysis.

  Not only would coverage of the President's agenda here--including his endorsement of democratic U.S. Candidate Alexi Giannoulias--have been lost, Mr. Obama would have been hounded for his own reaction to the verdict by the national press corps. 

  And of course, the 24-hour news cycle talking heads would have had a field day reminding the free world of its leader's many connections to the Illinois political cesspool.

  But Barack Obama, who's been known to catch a break or two during his historic political career, heard the news late Thursday afternoon that the Blago jury had ended another day's deliberations without a verdict.

  Two hours later, he and first puppy Bo were aboard Air Force One returning to Washington.

  He escaped the inferno at home without the political flames having singed a single hair on his graying presidential head.


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