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Questions Linger Over Unresolved Senate Seats

Weeks after the election, the Senate faces vacancies in three states, including the unresolved race in Minnesota. The Hotline's Amy Walter discusses questions remaining possible Senate successors for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

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    The Senate vacancy drama in Illinois is playing out in three other states: New York, Minnesota and, to a lesser extent, Delaware.

    But only in Illinois does the president-elect play a role. The Obama transition said they have not been involved in anything inappropriate concerning the Illinois governor, but there remain more questions than answers.

    Here to tackle a few of them is Amy Walter, editor-in-chief of the Hotline, National Journal's political daily.

    Welcome back, Amy.

    AMY WALTER, editor-in-chief, The Hotline: Thank you, Gwen.


    Walk us through a few of these unanswered questions involving the Blagojevich-Obama connection or lack thereof.


    Well, there seems to be a lot in terms of — there are open questions just in this point about how the seat gets filled.

    In terms of whether or not there is an Obama-Blagojevich question, as you pointed out, the transition this afternoon sent out a statement saying that the Obama campaign has looked through, has been very exhaustive in talking to anybody on the staff and their connections or their conversations with Blagojevich, or anybody on his staff about this open vacancy. They said, quote, "His staff was not involved in inappropriate discussions with the governor or his staff."


    Which, to be clear, is not saying there haven't been conversations.




    Just no — I guess we're left to infer that no quid pro quos were discussed.


    Correct, because we — over the weekend, it was revealed that Rahm Emanuel, the incoming chief of staff to the president-elect, had given at one point a list of candidates that were said to be preferred by Obama for this seat.

    But, again, there's never been any indication, either by the affidavit or by anybody involved in this process, that there was anything involved, as you said, as a quid pro quo.


    And we won't get this full report on exactly what the contacts were until next week, apparently, because the U.S. attorney has asked them not to release it.



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