"No Contact About His Replacement" Versus "No Contact" -- A Response to My Co-Blogger Jim:
In his post below, my co-blogger Jim Lindgren wonders if Barack Obama was telling the truth when he said he had had no contact with Blagojevich at that time. In fact, Jim notes, there was a picture taken of the two of them shaking hands around then. So they must have had some kind of contact. Jim offers a pretty harsh assessment of Obama:
  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? . . . 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."
  I'm not sure, but I think Jim may be making a simple error here. If you follow Jim's links to the source for what Obama said, you end up back at this ABCNews post which puts the matter this way:
Asked what contact he'd had with the governor's office about his replacement in the Senate, President-elect Obama today said "I had no contact with the governor or his office and so we were not, I was not aware of what was happening."
  Note the modifier: Obama wasn't just talking about whether he had contacts with Blagojevich generally. Rather, it seems that he was talking specifically about whether he had contacts with Blagojevich "about his [Obama's] replacement in the Senate."

  You can watch the video here, and the question is asked at the 3:12 mark. Unfortunately you can't hear the question, as it was after the brief press statement was over and everyone was making noise getting up and leaving. Instead, you hear Obama calling back the crowd to order so he can respond to one question. He says: "Hold on, hold on a second guys, I'll just answer this one question." Assuming the question was whether he had had contact about Obama's replacement, the comment is much narrower than Jim suggests.

  More importantly, this apparent limitation suggests that Obama's statement is not at all inconsistent with Obama's shaking hands with Blagojevich in public or seeing him at a meeting of the Governors. Presumably Obama wouldn't discuss the sensitive question of who he wants to replace him in the Senate while lots of other people are around.

  I'll keep comments open, but I'll watch them closely: Uncivil comments will be deleted, and I'll close it up if things get too unruly.

  UPDATE: In the comments thread, Jim claims that I "didn't bother to see what [his] argument really was," and that I have misunderstood him. According to Jim, he rejects the argument that Obama was dishonest, and he is explaining that he thinks Obama is telling the truth. I suspect most readers didn't read it that way, and I certainly didn't, but of course Jim is the last word on what he meant. Given that, I refer readers to his update below for more.