Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – It’s genetic

Forget about the branch. President Barack Obama offered the whole olive tree to the business community today with the appointment of JP Morgan Chase executive William Daley as White House Chief of Staff.

OBAMA/STAFF-DALEYDaley also knows something about politics. He comes from Chicago where politics has a history of being played bare-knuckled style. Oh, and his brother is the Daley who is stepping down as Chicago mayor, which opened the way for Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former White House chief of staff (whom Daley is replacing), to run for that office.

Plenty more dots to connect — Daley was also former President Bill Clinton’s commerce secretary, and Clinton has come to Obama’s aid on more than one occasion (even before the press).

Obama said Daley “has a smidgen of awareness of how our system of government and politics works. You might say it is a genetic trait.”

The Chamber of Commerce did not even try to contain its glee. “This is a strong appointment,” said Thomas Donohue, president of the business group.

Blagojevich’s retrial postponed until April 2011

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich won a delay until April 20 of his scheduled retrial on corruption charges, which means the trial won’t be going on while Chicagoans vote for their next mayor.

Judge James Zagel of the U.S. District Court granted the defense request for a delay, saying the Democrat’s scaled-down defense team will have to “retool” when he is retried on nearly two-dozen corruption counts. Among the charges are that Blagojevich attempted to sell President Barack Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat. USA-BLAGOJEVICH/

The first trial ended with Blagojevich convicted of lying to investigators while the jury deadlocked on 23 other counts, leading Zagel to declare a mistrial on those charges. A lone juror was reported to be the holdout among jurors intent on convicting him of additional charges, and prosecutors wanted to retry him in early January.

Chicago River is plenty clean, Mayor Daley says

Chicago river photo2Photo Credit: REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

Upset that the federal government instructed Chicago to clean up its namesake river to make the water swimmable, Mayor Richard Daley suggested Washington attend to the Potomac River and leave him alone.

“Go swim in the Potomac,” Daley told reporters when asked about the letter from the Environmental Protection Agency addressing the condition of the Chicago River. “We’re trying to make this river every day more cleanable.”

The mayor was just warming up.

“They send letters all the time. They should get down to BP and start saving the people down in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama — all their lives and their livelihood — instead of sending us letters,” Daley said.

Blagojevich trial to begin in June

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s trial will begin in June, which gives fellow Democrats reason to squirm before the mid-term elections. BLAGOJEVICH/

The judge in Blagojevich’s corruption case turned down the defense’s request to delay the trial to November, which would have been after the November 2 election.

“I think there has been adequate time” to prepare, Judge James Zagel of the U.S. District Court in Chicago said.

The First Draft: Blago’s new groove: published author

Ousted Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, whose corruption case put the national spotlight on big male hair and crooked Chicago politics, has reinvented himself as the author of a book that claims to offer insights into White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s political ambitions.

BLAGOJEVICH-ILLINOIS/Blagojevich, who faces trial after allegedly trying to sell President Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat, says in the book, “The Governor,” that Emanuel asked him for help in reclaiming his congressional seat after two years with the Obama administration, according to NBC News.

Emanuel, who entered the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 as the Democratic representative for the North Side of Chicao, apparently hoped to regain his seat in the 2010 congressional elections.