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Obama: I Never Talked Senate Seat With Blagojevich

President-elect Barack Obama said Thursday he never spoke with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) or his office about a replacement for the Senate seat he is vacating, and that he is “certain” no member of his staff was involved in horse-trading over the seat.

Obama, who described himself as “appalled and disappointed” by charges that Blagojevich sought personal gain for filling the seat, promised to investigate and disclose any contacts his aides have had with Blagojevich on the subject.

“I’ve asked my team to gather the facts of any contacts with the governor’s office about this vacancy so that we can share them with you over the next few days.” said Obama, who spoke at an Illinois news conference announcing his choice of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) to be secretary of Health and Human Services.

“I am confident that no representatives of mine would have any part of any deals related to this seat,” Obama said.

Obama said the criminal complaint against Blagojevich — which included transcripts of the governor expressing frustration with his inability to deal with the Obama transition operation over the seat — bears out his assertion that his staff was not involved in deal making.

Obama called on Blagojevich to resign and said the new Senator from Illinois should not be “tainted” by the scandal.

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