On CNN Newsroom this morning, CNN White House correspondent Elaine Quijano discussed with anchor Betty Nguyen Barack Obama's pledge to disclose any contacts between his staff and Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich pertaining to his naming a replacement to Obama's Senate seat:
QUIJANO: But, Betty, the question remains, when is it exactly that the president-elect and his team will disclose what contacts there actually were between their camp and people within the governor's office? What is taking so long? The president-elect said yesterday his staff was looking into it and would release that list in the coming days. So we continue to wait for that -- Betty.
Hold it a minute. Barack Obama didn't originally promise on Friday to supply that information. He made that commitment on Thursday and CNN aired his statement live:
I have never spoken to the governor on this subject. I'm confident that no representatives of mine would have any part of any deals related to this seat. I think the materials released by the U.S. attorney reflect that fact.
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.
So it's been two days of waiting for that disclosure, not - as indicated by Elaine Quijano - just one. Others on CNN have also voiced mild frustration with how long it's taking to get the information out. On Lou Dobbs Tonight yesterday, CNN congressional correspondent Jessica Yellin noted that:
There are lots of questions at this point and frustration because Barack Obama has not revealed all that he could about who on his team may have had any contact. This really is Barack Obama's style and I guess something we're all going to have to get used to.
He collects the facts, he gets everything in a row, and he releases it on his timetable. They think they really do have one chance to take a bite at this apple, to get it all out there, and they want to have all the information when they do, so we, in the meantime, are left to wait, wonder, and feel a little frustrated. Lou.
For months we've heard how efficient the Obama campaign is, how perfectly it functions. It was, we were told, quick and nimble in responding to any challenge. The day after the election, NPR's Don Gonyea hailed Obama's "well-organized, well-funded and well-disciplined organization that always seemed to know how to respond to crises."
So why the delay and hesitation now? It reminds me of another president who, a decade ago, started being asked questions about a possible scandal. Said Bill Clinton:
We are working very hard to comply and get all the requests for information up here, and we will give you as many answers as we can, as soon as we can, at the appropriate time, consistent with our obligation to also cooperate with the investigations.
And that's not a dodge, that's really why I've – I've talked with our people. I want to do that. I'd like for you to have more rather than less, sooner rather than later. So we'll work through it as quickly as we can and get all those questions out there to you.
It's already been more than two days and Obama hasn't responded. How long does it take to gather information from a relatively small number of trusted aides? Longer than Elaine Quijano realizes, apparently.