In a meeting with the Chicago Tribune editorial board published on March 16, 2008, Obama promised to reappoint Patrick Fitzgerald in his job as US Attorney.
Tribune: In the question that Bruce [Dold, Tribune editorial page editor] asked about the difficulties of coming up in Chicago and in the Chicago political way. When you were here several months, maybe a year ago, you said—either here or, I forgot, outside or where outside, I think it was right here in the room—that if you were, you know, that you would reappoint or seek to maintain Patrick Fitzgerald as the United States attorney. . . .
Obama: I think I said it here in the boardroom.
Tribune: Given the investigations that are going on now, if you're elected president.
Obama: I still think he's doing a good job. Yes.
Tribune: Would you keep him? And why would you keep him?
Obama: I think he has been aggressive in putting the city on notice and the state on notice that he takes issues of public corruption seriously.
Tribune: Does that position of wanting to keep the prosecutor in the job, does that, perhaps do you think it threatens or compromise any other political entities here in Chicago?
Obama: I can't speculate on that . . . I can't.
Tribune: I can.
Obama: You can, yes. [laughter]
The question is whether Obama will keep his word in view of the possibility that Fitzgerald may be investigating several of the Chicago machine politicians who helped Obama in his political career.
Fitzgerald seems to want the job since he emphasized several times in his press conference announcing the Governor's arrest that Obama was not involved in any way in the Pay-to-Play scheme by Gov. Blagojevich to sell Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder. It is also interesting that Fitzgerald stated in that press conference, that "I was not going to wait until March or April or May to get it all nice and tidy, and then bring charges..." So Fitzgerald seemed to think his career would extend into the Obama administration.
Richard Henry Lee is a pseudonym for a retired Illinois state employee.