Stoddard: Death Threats Keeping Rahm Away From Pressers

Which would be the safer place to be for a political figure who's received death threats?:

a. A school concert in a public venue.
b. A press conference in the company of the President-elect of the United States of America.

If you answered 'b,' you're thinking like me and presumably most people. If you answered 'a,' you're A.B. Stoddard.  The associate editor of "The Hill" offered up the strange excuse that death threats are preventing Rahm Emanuel from attending press conferences in the course of an MSNBC appearance this afternoon during which she also claimed that "President-elect Obama is taking steps to be as forthcoming and as open and as transparent as he promised he would be."   

View video here.

AMY ROBACH: A.B., I want to go a little further into Rahm Emanuel.  He did not attend Thursday's press conference. The Chicago Sun-Times caught up with him apparently at his children's concert and asked him about the scandal.  This is what Emanuel said, he said: "you're wasting your time. I'm not going to say a word to you. I'm going to do this with my children.  Don't do that. I'm a father. I have two kids. I'm not going to do it."

The Wall Street Journal is reporting right now that Emanuel is the President-elect adviser named six times in the complaint.  Again, as John [Decker, of Reuters] pointed out, he has not been charged with anything.  But if that proves to be true, what does that mean for the Obama transition to power, A.B.?

A.B. STODDARD: Well, this is obviously a huge distraction, but I think President-elect Obama is taking steps to be as forthcoming and as open and as transparent as he promised he would be.  I would be shocked if Rahm Emanuel had not gotten on the phone with Rod Blagojevich and asked him, I don't know, for those of us who are obsessed with this kind of thing, paying attention to the Senate appointment long before it became a scandal, Rod Blagojevich was dragging his feet and saying he was going to take two months. Obviously the incoming chief of staff would be calling him up and saying "this is who we approve of, and why are you taking so long?"

I think that Rahm Emanuel is not going to press conferences any more because he told some cameraman yesterday he's receiving death threats and his house under siege; he can't even go to the transition office. So maybe he is advised from legal counsel not to speak to the press and not to say anything, but I'm going to agree with John that so far we don't think that Rahm Emanuel is in any trouble.  He had conversations that any transition team top adviser would be having.

I agree that there's nothing unusual or inherently wrong about someone in Emanuel's position speaking with Blago about the Senate appointment.  But Stoddard's odd excuse for Emanuel's failure to attend press conferences, and her claim that Pres.-elect Obama is being "forthcoming, open and transparent," sound like so much pro-Obama spin.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.