October, 14th 2009

Adventures in politically-risky White House meetings, Obama White House version

– Liz Mair

See this today at HuffPo?

President Obama's senior adviser met on Wednesday with one of the three Democratic candidates running for Illinois' likely-to-be open Senate seat.

Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias stopped by the White House during a trip to Washington to discuss his prospects for winning the party's nomination. Leaving the front lawn, he said he had met with Obama's close confidant, David Axelrod, to discuss the upcoming primary, which will take place in February 2010.

Cool, no?  Don't you wish you got to stop by the White House and hang out with David Axelrod, too?  Wouldn't that make for an awesome photo to show Mom?

Here's the trouble, or what should be the trouble, though, regarding this particular visit if you're the Prez: Giannoulias, who somewhat amazingly to me stands a decent chance of winning the Democratic nomination for Illinois' open Senate seat (yeah, the one that used to be Obama's and which Blago allegedly tried to sell) and who crossed most political observers' radar screens courtesy of his speech at the Democratic National Convention last year, has also been described as "a man with banking ties to organized crime," and on pretty good grounds in my own personal opinion, too.  I know he and Obama are chums (goodness knows why), but still, this is someone I totally would not want hanging out at the White House right now.

Yes, presumably Obama, Axelrod, and the DSCC and DNC are quite keen to keep the President's former Senate seat in Democratic hands, and to be fair, that's not looking as easy as one might have thought looking at the way the state has voted in recent years.  Per HuffPo:

Regardless of who makes it out of the primary, the winning candidate will face an uphill battle to keep the seat in Democratic hands and this seems very likely to have been the point of the Axelrod meeting. The taint of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the ethics scandals that have surrounded Burris create obvious hurdles for the winning candidate. Meanwhile, the Republican running for the seat, Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill), has strong name identification in the state. And in a poll conducted by Colorado-based Magellan Data and Mapping Strategies he currently holds a 42-35 lead over Giannoulias in a hypothetical general election -- with 23 percent of voters undecided.

Still, if I were the President, I'd be striving to keep the dude at arm's length, to say the least.  I guess Obama likes his White House visitors policy like I like my travel: Risky enough to keep the adrenaline up. [intro]


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