The Obama team has given itself a clean bill of health over dealings with Blagojevich. Although Obama had no direct contact with the governor accused of trying to sell his Senate seat, he expressed to close aides, who were in contact with the governor or his staff, names he would like to see succeed him. These were relayed to the governor and later with his chief of staff, John Harris, by Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff. Later Obama made clear he did not want to influence the decision. The exact number of conversations Emanuel had – widely reported as 21 – was not revealed. According to the report, “There was no mention of efforts by the governor or his staff to extract a personal benefit in return for filling the Senate vacancy.” The report has two surprises: Dr Eric Whitaker, an Obama family friend, fielded calls from the deputy governor, Louanner Peters, about the seat; and Obama did not answer inquiries about Blago links because Fitzgerald had yet to interview Obama and the others.