Obama on Blagojevich Relationship–A Bogus Quote

In a recent post, I exposed a quote attributed to John Maynard Keynes as a fraud. Such villainy, which is an unfortunate artifact of a free society and a free internet, demands a squinty eye and a Missourian’s “show me” attitude.

Today, an email that has been circulating for several months came to me. It included a statement purportedly made by Barack Obama about his relationship to ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich:

“I only saw Rod Blagojevich one time …. And that was in the stands and from a distance at a Chicago Bears Football Game.”

Just like the Keynes quote, it is bogus.

This “Obama” quote (with the words “Football Game” strangely capitalized) is all over the web, usually accompanied by several authentic photographs of the two men together. Like the Obama birth certificate scam, it “proves” that the President is a liar. But not one of the web villains references where, when, or to whom Obama was speaking when he made this statement. And none of the major news agencies mentions this quote in any story about Obama and Blagojevich. Think about this: were it valid, is it conceivable that Fox News would ignore such a statement?

Citizens have a right to disagree. But democracy works when the populace decides based upon truth, not misrepresentation or slander.

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20 Comments on “Obama on Blagojevich Relationship–A Bogus Quote

  1. Thanks, Steve. Frankly, this is one of the most asinine rumors I’ve ever heard. You would think that the recipients would first ask themselves if it passes the “smell test” before shotgunning it off to their friends, who in turn shotgun it to their friends. Blagojevich was the Governor of Illinois while Obama was a state Senator, then a U.S. Senator. Their paths crossed many times. Obama endorsed Blagojevich in 2002 and 2006, and was an adviser to him in his first 2002 run for the state house. Then he began distancing himself from Blagojevich to the point where they had not spoken to one another in the year before the scandal became news.
    The point is not that they have never been together; they have – – many, many times – – the point is that Obama never said he had only seen him once. That’s just crazy.

  2. HH-

    Why would you quote such proven unreliable sources as abc news and the dc post in making a point on truthfulness; ipso facto is not a city in Iceland….why not quote carville or dean?…equally reliable sources on providing cover for the incompetent…

    1. freddy–

      I believe the point HeavyHitter was making is the same as mine: the Obama quote is bogus. Referring to ABC News or the Washington Post does nothing to undercut that assertion.

      I certainly do not think the corporate news operations are pure truth-tellers. In a previous post I blasted CBS News for lying.


      The point I made in this post, and HH echoed, is that not one of the major news purveyor picked up the purported quote. You must admit that if true, the quote is juicy material that would not be overlooked. Glenn Beck would have salivated.

    1. I miss the point of your comment. What does Obama’s previous support of a single-payer health care plan have to do with this post?

  3. B. O. gives one many opportunities to catch him in actual lies:

    “Asked what contact he’d had with the governor’s office about his replacement in the Senate, President-elect Obama today said ‘I had no contact with the governor or his office and so we were not, I was not aware of what was happening.’

    “But on November 23, 2008, his senior adviser David Axelrod appeared on Fox News Chicago and said something quite different.

    “While insisting that the President-elect had not expressed a favorite to replace him, and his inclination was to avoid being a ‘kingmaker,’ Axelrod said, ‘I know he’s talked to the governor and there are a whole range of names many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them.'”


    1. Steve B.–
      You neglected to include the updates tacked onto the bottom of the ABC news report you cited:

      (UPDATE: An Obama Transition Team aide says that Axelrod misspoke on Fox News Chicago.)

      (UPDATE #2: Axelrod this evening issued a statement saying. “I was mistaken when I told an interviewer last month that the President-elect has spoken directly to Governor Blagojevich about the Senate vacancy. They did not then or at any time discuss the subject.”)

      It would be neither dishonest nor illogical to opine that Axelrod’s denial sounds like a lie. There was a real statement and a real counter-statement. But since there doesn’t seem to be any hard evidence supporting whether Axelrod lied or misspoke, it comes down to personal interpretation.

      But that is quite different than manufacturing a bogus quote and attributing it to Obama.

  4. When someone can prove to me that Obama was ever employed by a FOR PROFIT organization which is the basis for all monies generated – maybe I will begin to be convinced that his chronies in Washington understand that taxes are generated by the motivation of people to better themselves.

    1. Your comment is unrelated to the blog post. Whether Obama was ever employed by a for-profit organization is irrelevant to the Blago smear.
      Normally I delete non-responsive comments, but you make several points that deserve response:
        1. Here’s your proof. Barack Obama worked for the for-profit Chicago law firm of Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland (now Miner, Barnhill & Galland) for three years beginning in 1993 and was of counsel to that firm for the subsequent eight years. Early in his career he also worked for Business International Corporation (now owned by the Economist magazine). Compare this to Richard Nixon, who worked as a lawyer for three years at Wingert and Bewley in Whittier, CA. The rest of Nixon’s working life was in government. You can find all this on Wikipedia.
        2. For-profit enterprises are absolutely not “the basis for all monies generated.” Federal government spending (clearly a not-for-profit source) is an immense engine of the total economy. Almost all the jobs at companies like Lockheed-Martin, Rockwell Collins, Raytheon, ATK Launch Systems Group, Boeing, and thousands of other firms are funded by the Department of Defense. Most medical research in this country is funded by our government. The Great Depression was turned around by Federal government spending and finally ended by the immense not-for-profit military spending occasioned by World War II. Spending by states and municipalities (and non-profits like the Gates Foundation) add even more not-for-profit stimulus to the US economy.
        3. Being employed only by not-for-profit organizations does not disqualify one from understanding how the capitalist system and the government work. Dwight Eisenhower became president after spending his entire life in the military and academia.
        4. I agree that “taxes are [in large part] generated by the motivation of people to better themselves.” But they are also generated (to a lesser, but not negligible extent) by the motivation of people to better their surroundings (which I will grant does better themselves).

      1. I will address only your comment on the Great Depression(Reply to #6):
        Sir: the Great Depression was PROLONGED, not turned around, by massive Federal spending. Unemployment was between 10 and 18% during the 30s, and was finally reduced by the draft, i.e. 13 million men taken into military service, mostly after Pearl Harbor.

  5. Steve,

    I agree that comment by Obama is easily disproven, but you base your argument on the fact that you can’t find it. Ordinarily I would agree with you that saying something as easily disproven as “I only saw Rod Blagojevich one time…”etc. is something that few people would say. But the point others have made is that Obama has made a number of statements that have been easily proven false. Some of the others here have commented on, and illustrated, that fact. I am not sure either way, but to call the quote an urban legend – given Obama’s ability to lie – does undercut your case.


    1. I do not believe my case is “undercut” at all by my inability to find the quote. That responsibility belongs to the ones who cite the quote. And, as I wrote, there is not a single citation of “where, when, or to whom Obama was speaking when he made this statement.” The strongest evidence that this is a bogus quote is, as I also wrote, Fox News’ silence on the matter. (C’mon! You know that if it were true, Fox would be all over it.)

      Whether or not Obama has lied about other matters would be relevant to the man’s character, but it is irrelevant to the truth or falsity of the alleged Blago statements.

  6. If Fox News were as untruthful as you imply, then they would have run with this. That they didn’t speaks to their integrity and belies yours.

    1. @RimCountry–
      Huh? Where have I implied Fox News was untruthful?
      And whether Fox is/was untruthful is irrelevant to my point.
      What is germane is my assertion that had Fox (or any other major news purveyor) been able to substantiate this quote, such a juicy cable news item would have been trumpeted over and over. That Fox chose not to go with an unsubstantiated item may say something about integrity, but it says just as much about the non-validity of the quote. And how does any of this belie my integrity?

  7. Thank you, Steve Cotler, for being a ray of light amongst so many low-life cretins. The internet has been a net positive for modern society, excepting the fact that it gives a global forum to knuckle-dragging trolls. Thugs compensated by Rovian clones to interupt and insult as many Liberal/Progressive websites as their narrow minds can locate. They are the enemy, and I deal with them as the rabid dogs that they are. Keep fighting the good fight. We WILL prevail!

    1. You seem like a very angry person. I will give you another ray of hope. I am a fiscally-conservative Republican. And the reason I ended up at this site is because when I received the aforementioned email, I found it hard to believe and have been seeking out the truth. Please put your paintbrush away and try to avoid painting all of us in one stroke. Would you like me to pick out the dregs and thugs at Occupy and compare them to you? Every movement has its lowlifes. You seem to be the narrow-minded one who cannot see that. Good day.

  8. Steve, I find it interesting that
    1. Fox News is constantly accused of lying. Yet, you imply in your piece that IF IT WERE TRUE, Fox News would be all over it. (The same was implied toward Glenn Beck in a comment) If these news sources lie, then why wouldn’t they be all over it anyway??? (Note: Neither ran with the birth certificate story either. In fact, Beck mocked it.)

    2. And IF IT WERE TRUE, isn’t this a story that ALL media should report? So you are actually in agreement that Fox informs its viewers of news items that the others do not. Hence, their ever-increasing ratings and growing audience.

    1. 1. I never accused Fox News of lying. I posited that Fox’s obvious bias against Obama would have made this statement, if true, a delicious focus for one or more of their pundits.
      2. I wrote, directly in line with your question, “And none of the major news agencies mentions this quote in any story about Obama and Blagojevich.” How does this negative redound to Fox’s credit?

      Your conclusions are illogical.

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