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Reaction To The Blago Report

4659581One might think that releasing a report at 4:30 p.m. on the day before Christmas Eve would be a good way to have it avoid notice, but that was never destined to be the case when it came to the Obama transition team's report on contacts with embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

If you haven't seen the details of the report, you can click here for all our Hotsheet coverage yesterday when the report came out.. And now, here's a look at some of the other coverage and reaction to the report from newspaper editorial boards and around the Web.

The Washington Post editorial board writes that although the report will "no doubt be greeted with some skepticism," it also "appears for now that Mr. Obama and his team can put this distraction behind them."

"After all, it was not likely that the report would contradict Mr. Obama's earlier assertions that he had not spoken with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) about the vacancy and that there were no inappropriate staff-level contacts with Mr. Blagojevich's office," the editorial says. "Nonetheless, unless there are facts that the Obama team did not unearth or that it chose to conceal -- and there is no indication of either -- the report by incoming White House counsel Gregory B. Craig turns out to hardly have been worth some of the hyperventilating leading up to it."

USA Today's editorial board also weighed in on the report, saying that the findings "if accurate, are a relief."

"The last thing the country needs is a cloud over a new administration that hasn't even taken office. And given that the conversations are on tapes that might eventually become public, it would be foolish to misrepresent them," says the editorial.

But USA Today also raises a question as to whether the Obama team knew what Blagojevich was up to and then should have reported it themselves to authorities.

"Obama's report says none of his aides was offered any illegal pay-to-play deal, so there would not have been anything to report to authorities," they write. "That might well be true, but it doesn't quite explain how Blagojevich knew that all the Obama people intended to give him was 'appreciation.' Doesn't that suggest the governor or his aides at least hinted at wanting something more?"

But not everyone agrees that the Obama team is in the clear. Conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin at Pajamas Media writes that there are many unanswered questions after the report's release.

"A clean bill of health is only possible once all the facts are known. And not many facts are known yet. The transition team put out a sketchy summary, without direct quotations, describing in broad terms its team members' conversations with Blago and his advisors," she writes.

Among other things, Rubin wants the media to dig deeper into conversations involving the Service Employees International Union, Valerie Jarrett and the president-elect's own interest in who his replacement would be.

Rubin writes: "President-elect Obama should take a break from the beach, make himself available for questioning, and, if he misspoke initially or was being a little too clever, fess up and put it behind him. There is nothing to indicate that the President-elect did anything illegal, but there's plenty to suggest that he hedged and spun to exaggerate his distance from Blago." (You can read more from Rubin here.)

Meanwhile, the Politico takes a look at what this episode tells us about how Mr. Obama will respond to future scandals. Kenneth P. Vogel and Carrie Budoff Brown write "Obama's Five Rules Of Scandal Response" based on the president-elect's response to the controversy. They are: 1) Be transparent, to an extent; 2) Don't let the news cycle dictate response; 3) No freelancing; 4) Aides take hits to protect the boss; and 5) Shy away from even justified fights. You can read all their reasons for those five here.

And lastly, there's this fun tidbit from a Christmas-themed CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll. Fifty-six percent said Blagojevich was the naughtiest politician of 2008, besting both former Democratic New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer (23 percent) and former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards (19 percent).

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