On MSNBC Live, Tamron Hall forcefully challenged Republican strategist Doug Heye's characterization of President-elect Barack Obama as a "good friend" of Gov. Rod Blagojevich's. Hall challenged Heye on his "assessment of 'good friend' because," Hall said, "I don't want these things to linger out there without you kinda backing them up."
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During the December 11 edition of MSNBC Live, anchor Tamron Hall forcefully challenged Republican strategist and TheHill.com blogger Doug Heye's characterization of President-elect Barack Obama as a "good friend" of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's (D). Hall cited her 10 years of experience as a reporter in Chicago in challenging Heye's assertions, specifically challenging Heye on his "assessment of 'good friend' because," Hall said, "I don't want these things to linger out there without you kinda backing them up."
The day before, on MSNBC's Hardball, Clarence Page referred to the Blagojevich scandal as "fresh meat for that [conservative] smear machine," but added, "I don't think it's going to last long."
From the 2 p.m. ET hour of the December 11 edition of MSNBC Live:
HEYE: Let me just say one thing, Tamron. You know, Peter Mirijanian [Democratic strategist] is one of the best professionals when it comes to public relations in Washington, D.C. He knows that whether there's any there there or not, this is not what the Obama transition team want to talk about. And I'll name you one good friend that Governor Blagojevich has had throughout his tenure as governor. It was Barack Obama. He endorsed him when he first ran for governor.
HALL: I mean, would you, I mean --
HEYE: He endorsed him for re-election. This is not what he wants to talk about.
HALL: -- is "good friend" fair? I lived in Chicago for 10 years. I don't know if "good friend" is a fair assessment, and I've covered both of them.
MIRIJANIAN: I don't think so either, Tamron.
HALL: You want to use the words "good friend?"
HEYE: If you look at the statements that Obama has made two years ago, four years ago, six years ago -- absolutely. You know, maybe this was just a governor who lived in his neighborhood, but this is not what the Obama transition team --
HALL: Well, he doesn't live in his neighborhood. They actually live on opposite sides of town.
MIRIJANIAN: No, he doesn't.
HALL: Well, Peter, I'll let you defend him.
HEYE: But this is not what he wants to talk about.
HALL: Were they good friends?
MIRIJANIAN: No, they -- they weren't. Tamron, here -- here's the issue. I mean, I appreciate Doug's efforts, and I appreciate the compliment, Doug, so drinks are on you next time. But the fact of the matter is that, you know, the -- the governor has been out there. He was under investigation, and he decides to then have these conversations, some of which everyone who's been -- a lot of the folks who have been named -- deny ever these arrangements ever being offered. So the fact that we sort of take the governor's position as being the facts in this case is really unfair to everybody involved.
HALL: Well, I mean --
MIRIJANIAN: And I don't think, you know, I --
HEYE: Oh, I agree completely.
HALL: But Doug, and quickly back to the --
MIRIJANIAN: And -- and I don't think the burden is on President-elect Obama, frankly.
HALL: Hang on, Peter. Because Doug, back to the assessment of "good friend," because I don't want these things to linger out there without you kinda backing them up. He didn't speak at the Democratic National Convention. I mean, we know that - listen --
MIRIJANIAN: That's right.
HALL: -- Chicago politics is very complicated. You have some strange friends in strange places, but to say that these guys were good friends, I don't know if that's actually fair.
HEYE: Well, he certainly -- you know, look, President -- President-elect Obama certainly supported his election and his re-election. I don't think there's anything that we've seen -- and I'd agree with Peter, that we certainly can't take the governor's word on this -- that that really implicates Obama. Absolutely. But it is important for the Obama transition team to move past this. They'd rather be talking about Tom Daschle being nominated to the Cabinet --
HALL: Sure, yeah, of course. Right.
HEYE: -- than Rod Blagojevich.
MIRIJANIAN: Of course they would. The -- the issue of what they'd rather be talking about is not the -- is not the question.
HALL: Not the issue.
MIRIJANIAN: It's how close were these two individuals, and how --
HEYE: And the sooner they move that ball forward and get this behind them, the better it is.
HALL: OK, guys, I gotta go on this one, but thank you very much. Good friends.
HEYE: Thank you.
MIRIJANIAN: Good to see you, Tamron.
HALL: We certainly appreciate it, in the true sense of the word.