Hours before his embattled boss gave his first State of the Union address, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel contradicted President Barack Obama’s claim made just two days before that he had nothing to do with the much maligned deal to get the vote of Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) for the Senate’s healthcare bill just before Christmas.
Speaking to ABC News’ World News Tonight anchor Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview on Monday, Obama denied being involved in what has come to be known as the “Cornhusker Kickback”
SAWYER: A lot of people think you must say at the end of the day, this is not who I was in 2008, these deals with Nebraska, with Florida…
OBAMA: Let’s hold on a second, Diane. I mean, I think that this gets into a big mush. So let’s just clarify. I didn’t make a bunch of deals. There is a legislative process that is taking place in Congress and I am happy to own up to the fact that I have not changed Congress and how it operates the way I would have liked. So that’s point number one.
In an interview with CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric on Wednesday, Emanuel flatly stated that he and the Obama administration were heavily involved in the Cornhusker Kickback as well as the other deals that provoked outrage from the public and helped Republican Scott Brown win the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by the late Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.
Couric: As you know, people were pretty disgusted by deals that were made up on Capitol Hill like the one given to Ben Nelson to win his support. If the White House was so involved, was this done with your blessing? But…
Emanuel: Look, we were involved in the legislation all the way through.
Couric: Were you involved in that?
Emanuel: Yeah. I’m not gonna go through all of it…
Couric: But in the Ben Nelson deal?
Emanuel: We were helpful in getting the bill off the Senate floor. And in retrospect the things – as I said to you just earlier, things you woulda done different.
To repeat what Obama told Diane Sawyer about the Cornhusker Kickback:
So let’s just clarify. I didn’t make a bunch of deals. There is a legislative process that is taking place in Congress and I am happy to own up to the fact that I have not changed Congress and how it operates the way I would have liked.
The mainstream media has thus far ignored Obama being exposed as a liar by his own chief of staff. A few conservative outlets have noted a Washington Post article from December 20, 2009 that reported the involvement of Emanuel and other White House staff in the Senate negotiations. With Emanuel himself confirming the Obama administration’s involvement with the Cornhusker Kickback, Obama has some explaining to do. Well, he would if he were a Republican president.