It depends on what the meaning of the word "Contact" is.

Obama claimed Tuesday:

“I had no contact with the governor or his office and, so we were not – I was not aware of what was happening," Obama said.

Now Politico reports that he did have contact [though, to be clear to those who might not read the rest of the post, I do not think that this contact indicates that Obama discussed the Senate seat directly with Blagojevich]:

Obama and Blagojevich both attended the National Governors Association meeting last week in Philadelphia and were photographed shaking hands at the event.

Before the meeting, Blagojevich was quoted saying he had asked Obama’s transition team for federal stimulus aid of $3 billion over the next three years to help fill Illinois’ estimated $2 billion deficit.

Blagojevich and Obama not having contact in Philadelphia

Apparently, “contact” does not include a private meeting with governors in Philadelphia, or a public shaking of hands in front of the cameras.

It is not really plausible that Obama was interested in who was replacing him in the Senate, and that Blagojevich was desperately interested in shaking down Obama for money or favors, and that Obama’s refusal to yield to Blagojevich’s bribery/extortion attempt was conveyed to Blagojevich — but somehow in over a month there was no contact between the Obama camp and the Governor’s team.

All this leads me to wonder if Obama is becoming like Clinton?

When Obama says that “I had no contact,” does he mean that I DID have contact, but it was indirect so I don't have to admit it to you?

And when Obama says that “I was not aware of what was happening,” does he mean that I WAS aware of what was happening, but not to a level of certainty that I could be meet a legal “knowledge” standard beyond a reasonable doubt? (see DRJ at Patterico on this point)

And when Obama says that “I had no contact with the governor or his office and . . . I was not aware of what was happening,” does he mean that my staff DID have contact with the governor or his office and they WERE aware of what was happening?

As with Clinton, should we presume that Obama is saying something that is technically not a lie, but that the full truth is closer to the opposite of what he is trying to make us think?

I suppose "It depends on what the meaning of the word [‘contact’] is” and “what the meaning of the word [‘aware’] is.”

UPDATE: Orin disagrees with this post, but I think he misunderstands what I am saying.

After playfully showing the picture of Obama and Blagojevich shaking hands, I do not treat that trivial contact as dispositive on the issue of contact for the very reasons that Orin points to: It all depends on what the meaning of "contact" is, which, after all, is the title of my post.

That is merely the setup for the main point of the post, which is clearly stated:

It is not really plausible that Obama was interested in who was replacing him in the Senate, and that Blagojevich was desperately interested in shaking down Obama for money or favors, and that Obama’s refusal to yield to Blagojevich’s bribery/extortion attempt was conveyed to Blagojevich — but somehow in over a month there was no contact between the Obama camp and the Governor’s team.

If I thought that shaking hands were dispositive on contact, I wouldn't have to make this larger argument. Further, I go on to make it explicit that I think it likely that Obama is not lying because probably only indirect contacts were made between Obama and Blagojevich on the Senate seat.

Also, I have twice posted that I don't believe that Obama talked directly with Blagojevich about the Senate seat, a position I still hold:

My tentative conclusion is the same as I expressed yesterday (and hinted above): Obama is telling the truth when he says that he has not talked to Blagojevich about his Senate seat, but he is not ruling out staff discussions.

My post on the timeline, which is evolving into the conventional understanding of what happened when, points to many clues that indirect contacts were made between Obama and Blagojevich.

So I don't disagree with most of what Orin says except his misreading of what I'm arguing. I neither say, nor think, that meeting with governors indicates that Obama and Blagojevich talked directly about the Illinois Senate seat.

2d UPDATE, Thursday morning: Barack Obama just reiterated that he had not spoken to Blagojevich about the Senate seat and promised over the next few days to have his staff disclose any contacts between his camp and Blagojevich. Though Obama didn't admit indirect contacts yet, he implied that there were some, so we might know in a few days whether my characterization was correct. If the implications of Obama's statement today are borne out, then my characterization above will also be borne out.

BTW, Obama looks relaxed and in control -- excellent affect.