On Tuesday, Newt Gingrich sent a letter to RNC Chair Mike Duncan chastising the party for going after Barack Obama's ties to Rod Blagojevich and calling the attack campaign a "destructive distraction."
I was saddened to learn that at a time of national trial, when a president-elect is preparing to take office in the midst of the worst financial crisis in over seventy years, that the Republican National Committee is engaged in the sort of negative, attack politics that the voters rejected in the 2006 and 2008 election cycles.
The recent web advertisement, "Questions Remain," is a destructive distraction. Clearly, we should insist that all taped communications regarding the Senate seat should be made public. However, that should be a matter of public policy, not an excuse for political attack.
The Washington Post reports that more Republicans are joining Gingrich:
In a post on post on The Next Right (a new-ish online gathering place for conservatives), Ruffini wrote:
"It's fair to say that any residual connections Obama may have with Gov. Blagojevich as a result of being an Illinois Senator are not the strongest part of our argument. I can understand the desire to go at Obama. But with Obama at 76% approval for the transition, our hits against him have to be clean hits, or they will blow up in our face."
The sentiments expressed publicly by Gingrich and Ruffini are echoed privately by a number of Republican strategists who view the attempts to link Blagojevich and Obama as nothing more than a fool's errand given the lack of evidence that the public sees any real connection between the two men.
At a press conference Wednesday, Obama addressed the Blagojevich rumors and said it was "frustrating" that he could not clear the air immediately.
"It's a little bit frustrating. There's been a lot of speculation in the press that I would love to correct immediately," Obama said when asked "how difficult" it was to have to wait to release an internal review his team has completed regarding contacts staffers had with the governor's office.
"We are abiding by the request of the U.S. attorney's office," he continued. "But it's not going to be that long. By next week you guys will have the answers to all your questions."
It's the fifth time the president-elect has addressed the Blagojevich matter before the press since the governor was arrested last week.