December 31st, 2008
11:56 AM ET
5 years ago

Burris: Charges against Blagojevich shouldn't affect him

Roland Burris said Gov. Rod Blagojevich is innocent until proven guilty.
Roland Burris said Gov. Rod Blagojevich is innocent until proven guilty.

(CNN) - The man appointed by embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to fill President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat said Wednesday his appointment to the position is legal, despite the charges against the governor.

WATCH: Burris on American Morning

Former Illinois Attorney Gen. Roland Burris said Blagojevich is innocent until proven guilty, even though his behavior "is reprehensible."

"I don't look upon the governor's problems as my problems. I look at the governor's problems as his problems," Burris said.

Blagojevich faces allegations of influence peddling, among other charges.

The governor, a Democrat, on Tuesday named Burris to serve the last two years of Obama's Senate term.

Obama said Tuesday it is disappointing that Blagojevich ignored warnings from Senate Democrats about appointing a successor to his Senate seat.

Senate Democratic leaders have said they will block the appointment and are urging the governor to step down after his arrest on corruption charges - a move Obama endorsed.

"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," Obama said in a statement.

"I agree with their decision, and it is extremely disappointing that Gov. Blagojevich has chosen to ignore it."

Full story


Filed under: Popular Posts • Rod Blagojevich • Roland Burris
soundoff (286 Responses)
  1. Mel

    I just thought of something. What if this is a masteful bit of game theory by Blago? Follow me for a minute. Appointing someone smacks the Dems in the face & makes it that much tougher for them to retain the seat in an election. By trying to make this a race issue he could distract everyone from himself as the main part of this debacle. As for Burriss, he's so hungry to serve in higher public office, he'd knaw on his own leg!

    December 31, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  2. Retired Army in San Antonio

    David -– December 31st, 2008 11:26 am ET

    .......but legally the Senate can vote to not seat him and that is also very much legal........

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    David......sorry, but you're wrong.

    If you can site the LAW that says theSenate can refuse him the seat.......do so.

    But I can tell you in no uncertain terms that you are wrong.

    December 31, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  3. Mark, OH

    People, this is not about race. Blagoboy is having a temper tantrum and he picked a fool (Burris) to help him.

    Blago is a non-issue and Burris is an idiot. Idiots should take a long walk off a short pier. What a moron.

    Blago is corrupt and Burris is stupid–they make a great pair.

    My answer is no, and I'm not from Illionois. I think this should make the citizens of Illinois stand up and fight against this snake of a governor and his spineless appointee.

    December 31, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  4. Chavis, MD

    This governor is already costing the citizens of Illinois money. He is not trying to help them, but help himself. In the process, he hurts the state.

    He needs to get a reality check and somebody needs to take over the helm. I really feel for Illinois, what a nightmare.

    December 31, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  5. CHANGE.COM

    Roland Burris wants this appointment so that he could add to his achievements on his monument built in a cemetary. What a nut head!

    December 31, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  6. Matt

    The Senate is powerless to stop Burris. He meets every qualification and then some and after hearing him speak last night explaining himself he is far more qualified then those that seek to block him. The only reason why they want to block him is so they can put up their own puppet in that slot like they are doing in New York.

    Blagojevich is innocent until proven guilty and the only evidence I have heard against him is telling Barack to go stick it. I guess that is a crime now. No one paid to get the senate seat and no one has come forward saying they were offered a chance to buy the seat. To do so would make them guilty of not coming forward sooner.

    So what evidence is there really other than telling Barack to go stick it.

    December 31, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. Ajay Jain, Garland, TX, USA

    A biiter legal fight democrats will have on their laps.

    December 31, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. richard

    Democrats make up their own law, nothing new about that.

    December 31, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  9. Sue

    Conspiracy theories folks. You all bought into it.

    December 31, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  10. Pete

    Rush and Burris have taken Obama's "I don't look like others on the dollar bill" comment up to new heights

    December 31, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  11. RSL of Illinois

    Burris isn't Blago's tool here; he's making a difficult and painful choice amidst extremely flawed circumstances on behalf of the citizens of the State of Illinois. Burris is not just any African-American face in the crowd. Blagojovich choosing a man of Burris' reputation and stature in what is likely to be his final, if not only, statesman-like act should not be discarded just because his motivations are indeterminate. Senate Democrats must reconsider their position and accept Burris on his merits alone. Once the Senate vacancy is filled, we can get on with the business of dumping Blagojovich. The sooner he's gone, the sooner he'll be unable to jerk anyone around.

    December 31, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  12. John in Ohio

    Bobby Rush is trying to set this up as a race issue and not a rampant corruption issue. Fair enough.

    I say the following as a pro-choice liberal progressive anti-war pagan Democrat. So, realize that I oppose literally everything that Alan Keyes stands for, when it comes to his religious and political positions.

    Why not appoint Alan Keyes to the spot? He was the guy who ran against Obama in 2004. He's a black man, and that seems to be what Rep Rush thinks is the only necessary qualification for someone to be Obama's successor. If the replacement just has to be a black man, why not Alan Keyes, or Condoleeza Rice, or Colin Powell?

    Representative Rush is pushing *tokenism*, pure and simple, and it is idiotic and it is counterproductive. It absolutely undermines the decades of work by black Americans to be taken on their own merits in politics, by saying that it doesn't matter whether Burris is qualified or not, what matters is the color of his skin.

    That undermines everything that everyone who stands for equality stands for, it says that a person's worth is the color of their skin, not the quality of their character. Representative Rush is spitting on the Tuskegee Airmen, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Barack Obama, and even other prominent black Americans like Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell, who were solid capable individuals in their positions.

    December 31, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  13. paul oregon

    if people would watch whats happening around them and be honest
    about it they would agree there is nothing dumder then a human
    being. what a sad state we have let our selfs get into.

    December 31, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  14. Suzi

    This is just a manipulation by Blagojevich. He appoints an honest black senator and then stands back to watch the fireworks.

    If the Dems accept him they will be going back on their pledge to not seat ANY senator Blagojevich appoints. The Republicans will have a field day. If the Dems don't accept him then it's expected that the black community would be furious. And again, the Republicans will be all sympathy and have a field day.

    Either way it divides this country at a time when we need to be unified and pull together.

    Blagojevich these are serious times. You are thinking of your own skin, not the people of your state and certainly not the people of this country. This is unbelievably sad.

    It's not a matter of you being proven guilty or not, it's a matter of being able to govern responsibly. Now you're not only screwing your own state, but the whole country. How can you sleep at night?

    I feel totally disgusted.

    December 31, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. Stephen In MD

    Mr. Burris,

    Roland Burris, wants to be a Senator, foul or fair. He must be power drunk! I doubt whether he has the people of IL at heart. He must be stopped.

    December 31, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  16. aware

    Keep this nonsense up if you want more and more people to realize that PEBO is part of the same Chicago political cesspool of palm-greasing thuggery! :)

    So stop making fools of yourselves! Gov. Blagojevich is no worse than any other Chicago politician including PEBO and most of the cronies now in the Senate! :(

    The U.S. Senate needs to accept Roland Burris "

    December 31, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  17. California Gold

    Burris, as an elder statesman you should know that you can't operate in a vacuum. Of course Blagojevich's charges shouldn't affect you, but they do. In return for wanting to be a Senator you are aligning yourself with Blagojevich, who will be indicted on corruption next week, and it is costing you dearly. Is this more important than your reputation, your hard earned political standing, your values and credibility? Are you ok with the fact you are now viewed as an opportunist who would make a deal with the devil if it got you what you want? Until now no one thought this about you. Until now.

    December 31, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. Change - Yeah Left

    Why did you accept the offer? You had to know that the Senate would deny your posting. Unless you had other plans? Did you want to turn a bad decision into tinder for a race war? I'm afraid that's what will happen – I'm already hearing the rumblings.

    December 31, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  19. proud army and navy mom

    Hector, (hector.....really????) Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld., etc needs to be tried and sentenced for war crimes and treason.

    For putting our young soliders in harm's way over a darn lie, for outting Valerie Plane, for torturing and overseeing the killing of untold innocent Iraqis life. 4200 of our troops are dead and 50,000+ injured and bush and cheney are responsible.

    December 31, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  20. aware

    What is this Blagojevich & Burris nonsense all about? It just points fingers back at PEBO and the cesspool he marinated in on his way up!

    I agree, if you think you are bending the law for virtue, you just allow others to bend it for vice!

    The corrupt political cronies in the Senate need to wash their own hands! :(

    December 31, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. Sherrol in Canada

    It seems that Burris is getting what he wants, he's now on the national stage and he probably sits up nights watching himself on TV.

    He's an idiot if he thinks that Blago's actions wouldn't affect him. For someone that has been in public office for so many years, he surely doesn't know how the public reacts.

    And this is a man who should represent the state of IL in the US Senate? I beg to differ.

    December 31, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  22. Alex

    Democrats are the biggest losers.They are chickens.Blago hasnt been proven guilty so he is still the governor. I disapointed in Obama he doesnt need to interfere in this. If the feds didnt make the arrest in time i am sure "Rhambo" would have been gone now. Cos Rhambo is one of the most corrupt guys. Democrats are chickens i hate to say this but it is the truth. IF it was the democrats who had the case of chenney leaking the CIA lady's name i am sure they would tell Their VP to step down. Democrats dont have eachother's back and i tell u its the begining of their crisis. The way they handle this case would determine the election in 2010. Ted steven's wasnt told to step down until proven guilty. They are scared of a special election, they dont want blago to appoint yet they havent impeached Him. Democrats = Cowards + Chickens. I am a democrat but their handling of this situation is horrible. Pelosi is the least effective speaker in american History Even the Devil knows that. And Harry reid A yes Sir man

    December 31, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Reid and the Senate Dems will cave and let Burris be seated. All someone has to do is mention race and they fall all over themselves trying to be PC.

    December 31, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  24. Skip, a black man

    Add him to the list of dirty!

    December 31, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. NY republican

    Why is HIS OWN PARTY judging Mr. Burris by who appointed him and not his record?

    December 31, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
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