Archive for Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ill. governor names former attorney general to Obama’s Senate seat

December 30, 2008, 2:20 p.m. Updated December 30, 2008, 3:06 p.m.


— A defiant Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday named a black political trailblazer to Barack Obama’s Senate seat, a surprise move that put the governor’s opponents in the uncomfortable position of trying to block his choice from becoming the Senate’s only black member.

Blagojevich’s appointment of former state Attorney General Roland Burris injected race into the drama surrounding the embattled governor, who repeatedly sought to distance his selection from charges that he tried to sell the seat to the highest bidder.

“Please don’t allow the allegations against me to taint a good and honest man,” the governor said, turning to the smiling 71-year-old standing by his side.

“This is about Roland Burris as a U.S. senator, not about the governor who made the appointment.”

Burris was the first African-American elected to major statewide office in Illinois, serving as comptroller and running for governor three times — the last time losing to Blagojevich.

He said he has no connection to the charges against Blagojevich, who was arrested earlier this month.

Even before the announcement, which was leaked several hours before, the governor’s move ran into opposition.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, who must certify the appointment, said Tuesday he will not do so. And Senate leaders reiterated that they would not accept anyone appointed by Blagojevich.

In a statement Tuesday, Senate Democrats maintained that Blagojevich should not make the appointment because doing so would be unfair to Burris and to the people of Illinois.

“It is truly regrettable that despite requests from all 50 Democratic senators and public officials throughout Illinois, Gov. Blagojevich would take the imprudent step of appointing someone to the United States Senate who would serve under a shadow and be plagued by questions of impropriety,” the statement said.

“Under these circumstances, anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic caucus.”

Obama struck the same tone.

“Roland Burris is a good man and a fine public servant, but the Senate Democrats made it clear weeks ago that they cannot accept an appointment made by a governor who is accused of selling this very Senate seat. I agree with their decision,” the president-elect said in a statement.

Senate leaders, who were scattered for the holidays, immediately convened a conference call. Some involved in the call were wary of being seen as denying a black man a seat in a chamber where, with Obama’s departure, there are no blacks, according to two officials knowledgeable about the talks who requested anonymity in order to speak freely.

“We say this without prejudice toward Roland Burris’ ability, and we respect his years of public service,” the leaders wrote. But the issue is not about Burris, they said. “It is about the integrity of a governor accused of attempting to sell this United States Senate seat.”


Flap Doodle 9 years, 4 months ago

Guess which IL politician this is sentence refers to: "...he is a risk-aversive, often seemingly insecure politician who, for all his years in office, has left little in the way of a legacy except his own self-promotion."That actually describes the O'dude pretty well, doesn't it?Read the rest at:,0,4099235.story

OzChicklet 9 years, 4 months ago

snap_pop_no_crackle (Anonymous) says…Guess which IL politician this is sentence refers to: “…he is a risk-aversive, often seemingly insecure politician who, for all his years in office, has left little in the way of a legacy except his own self-promotion.”That actually describes the O'dude pretty well, doesn't it?_______That article has nothing to do with Obama, and certainly does not describe him. Some folks just have to make stupid digs whenever they can squeeze 'em in._______invictus (Anonymous) says…Since when do African American politicians have to do anything to secure a legacy? Their skin tone is their greatest accomplishment.________It amazes me that there truly are still people as racist as you.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 4 months ago

Beside getting himself elected to higher & higher offices, just what has the O'dude accomplished in his political career?

Steve Jacob 9 years, 4 months ago

Going back ON subject, I have no idea why Mr. Roland Burris would accept this. Maybe it's his dream for higher office, and with his age, this was it for him. Also guessing this guy has a perfect and clean background and record to keep Mr. Blagojevich hands as clean as possible.

kmat 9 years, 4 months ago

invictus - you are a racist! And can't be too bright considering you think Chicago is more dangerous than Baghdad (learn to spell). Hmmmm, in 2007 there were 442 murders in Chicago. In just the first 11 days of May 2007, there were 234 murders in Baghdad. Documented civilian deaths from violence in Iraq are now just under 100,000. If you think Baghdad is so safe, then pack your cr*p up and go serve. I'm sure you'd be happy to see Chicago after spending time in Iraq. You are such an idiot.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 4 months ago

Corrupt Chicago machine politicians, they're everywhere these days.....BTW, was that a chickenhawk taunt I just saw? Stay classy, kmat.

kmat 9 years, 4 months ago

You want to know what he's accomplished? Well, take a look. It's been out there for months, but that would mean you right wingers would have to actually read.

madameX 9 years, 4 months ago

Does the murder rate in Baghdad include suicide bombers? I'm skeptical that it's lower than Chicago ever.

bondmen 9 years, 4 months ago

If you're going to be blatantly corrupt while holding public office then why not be bold and obnoxious too? This is absolutely fantastic - Blago boy is daring the Democrat Senate to put up or shut up and we all know shut up is not in a senators lexicon!Nothing like watching the tail wag the dog! It is absolutely the best political news in weeks.

Harpo 9 years, 4 months ago

I couldn't agree more, Bondmen. This stuff is just too good!I don't even care which party/which politician is doing it as long as it helps expose the sleezy corruption and cynicism that "We the People" continue to endorse with our blind loyalty to the two parties at the ballot box.

ehummer 9 years, 4 months ago

When I was in law school in Chicago, I worked in the AG's office under Burris. While he is the consummate politician, he has never been accused of corruption. He did a very good job as AG and was highly thought of in the legal community. Under any other circumstance, I think he would have been an excellent choice for Senator. However, anyone appointed by Blagojevich is going to be suspect. Unfortunately, I think Burris' ambition clouded his judgment. He had his eye on the Senate earlier, but lost to Paul Simon. Like srj said, I think he felt this was his last shot at another political office and was willing to take the heat.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 4 months ago

... a a a h h h h h h h h a a a h h h h h h h h a a a h h h h h h h h ...

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