President-elect Barack Obama held a news conference to announce his choice for education secretary, Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan, but he was also asked about other topics in the news -- Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the economy.
On the scandal involving Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is accused of trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by Mr. Obama, the president-elect reiterated statements made yesterday that there were no inappropriate contacts between his staff and the governor's staff. But he would not go into more detail, saying that the results of the internal investigation would be released next week. He cut off a reporter who sought to ask about reports that incoming chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was on the wiretap tapes, saying he has not confirmed the reports and would not comment on them.
Mr. Obama also deflected whether he supports a special election to fill his seat, saying it was the choice of the Illinois legislature.
On the economy, Mr. Obama sidestepped a question about whether he approved of actions by the Federal Reserve and chairman Ben Bernanke regarding interest rates. He said the Fed is an independent agency and that it's not the place of either the president or the president-elect to comment. But he did say that the Fed was "running out of the traditional ammunition" to deal with a recession and that it was time for the other branches of government to "step up."
But on a lighthearted topic, Mr. Obama did make a direct statement that Duncan, the education pick, did have a better jump shot than him. For more on the president-elect and the basketball prowess of his Cabinet picks, read this earlier post by Robert Hendin>.