ABC News: Jesse Jackson, Jr. is “Senate Candidate Number 5”

Asked and answered (h/t: Marc Ambinder)?

Chicago Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., is the anonymous “Senate Candidate No. 5” whose emissaries Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich reportedly offered up to $1 million to name him to the U.S. Senate, federal law enforcement sources tell ABC News.

According to the FBI affidavit in the case, Blagojevich “stated he might be able to cut a deal with Senate Candidate 5 that provided Rod Blagojevich” with something “tangible up front.”

Jackson said this morning he was contacted Tuesday by federal prosecutors in Chicago whom he said “asked me to come in and share with them my insights and thoughts about the selection process.”

Jackson said, “I don’t know” when asked whether he was Candidate No. 5, but said he was told “I am not a target of this investigation.”

Jackson said he agreed to talk with federal investigators “as quickly as possible” after he consulted with a lawyer.

The congressman, a son of the famed civil rights leader, denied that anyone had been authorized to make payments or promises to the governor on his behalf.

Z’ plot thickens. Stay tuned.

In related news, PEBO (President-elect Barack Obama) has called on Blago to resign.

AP: Deal reached on auto industry bailout – “in principle”

Outside of the continuing wave of Blago news, this is the big story:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Weary Democratic congressional leaders and White House officials agreed in principle Tuesday on a $15 billion bailout of U.S. automakers that would give the government extraordinary power to restructure the failing industry. But the rescue faced snags as Republicans raised deep concerns.

Congressional aides and a senior administration official said the proposed deal would speed the loans to Detroit’s struggling car companies and place a “car czar” named by President George W. Bush in charge of overhauling the auto industry. Congress could vote on the plan as early as Wednesday and the money could be disbursed within days.

A breakthrough came when negotiators reached a compromise to require the czar to revoke the loans and deny any further federal aid to automakers that don’t strike a deal with labor unions, creditors and others to ensure their survival by next spring — essentially pushing them into bankruptcy.

This parody ad (h/t: James Joyner) of the Big 3 pretty much sums up my thoughts on the whole pathetic, preventable story.