December 31st, 2008
11:56 AM ET
9 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. Nobody Asked Larry But...

    No matter your views re the Illinois Governor's appointment to fill Obama's Senate seat, Blagojevich has the legal authority to such action, and considering how the US Senate has, and continues to drag out issues ad infinitum, if they are given the rights to pick Obama's replacement, they may still be "debating" this when Obama runs for re-election in 2012, and in that time, Illinois will be without Senate representation, and one (1) less vote short for the Democrats.

    December 31, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  2. a little sad

    SOUTHERN HOTTIE December 31st, 2008 9:15 am ET

    They can't find someone younger?

    In my opinion, these old people in Congress are part of the problems affecting this, my beloved country.

    You probably don't even recognize this as bigotry.

    Personally, I am at a quandry on this guy. He seems to have the qualifications; it is not his fault that the gov seems to have been brokering the senate seat.

    However, like Caesar's wife, in this case the person taking the seat should not just be technically innocent of any wrong-doing, he needs to also appear to be innocent of all wrong-doing. Any pick of Blago, even Mother Theresa, would be tainted by the possibiity, as we can't prove a negative.

    December 31, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  3. Chicago Girl

    Roland Burris should have exhibited some dignity and turned down the appointment. He looked desparate standing next to Blago during the press conference. He's had unsuccessful runs for senator and governor of Illinois. The voters rejected him. He's been out of Illinois politics since 1995. He's been trying to get back into politics since then. Blago just gave him the opening that he's been looking for for years.

    December 31, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  4. AE

    How very sad for a man of such reputation to end his career with such a corrupt govenor.

    Face it, the whole thing was orchestrated anyway. So, it leads one to wonder what butt-face has on this guy. I found the whole news conference amusing. It reeked of political corruption. I think there is a book deal in here somewhere – "The Audacity of Corruption"

    December 31, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  5. Miller

    Unfortunately, this is not the time to accept a nomination from the Governor, especially if you are an unknown politician with no individual merits of widespread public knowledge. The gubernatorial ship is sinking, yet Burris thinks its priduent to jump on board. I'm interested to see how this will play out.

    On a relevant note (though it was mentioned in the news article and not this short blog post), I'm disappointed that Bobby Rush played the race card. Flag on the play!!

    December 31, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  6. kelly WI

    The Senate has to accept him then kick him out but they won't. They have to be pc and don't want to be called racist.

    December 31, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  7. Dems should have blocked

    The Democrats had every right to strip Blago for making this appointment. In my opinion, they knew what he was doing. They didn't do what they should have done in the first place so now they have to deal with it.

    December 31, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  8. gt

    Blago " s got bull balls thats for sure !! ,,,Burris is a old moron , who has lost election after election in Ill.dont need that old geeser

    December 31, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  9. Frank

    He is tainted, he is a racist and I am offended. But don't expect the democrats to call Burris out on his race baiting, after all, he is a fellow democrat and therefore is entitled to special consideration when it comes to race matters.

    I live in Illinois and we should elect the next senator.

    Toby, there is nothing extra-legal about refusing to seat Burris. The Senate has the final say on who it agrees to seat, and they gave Blago and anyone accepting an appointment fair notice that they would not agree to seat anyone that Blago appointed.

    December 31, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  10. In Houston, TX

    Rod Blagojevich's pick or Roland Burris reminds me of John McCain's pick of Sarah Palin. It was ill advised and he just shouldn't be doing this in the first place. Ad the appointee should have never accepted the appointor's invitation.
    And then there is this business of Burris's giving Rod Blagojevich 14K campaign contribution. It just doesn't look good

    December 31, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  11. Nari Kannan

    Some judge in Illinois has looked at probable cause and found that there were enough evidence to authorize wire taps and surveillance on the Governor. Mr.Burris shows remarkable lack of judgement in that even though the Governor is innocent until proven guilty there may be enough evidence of wrong doing already for the FBI to take action. Anyone who shows such remarkable lack of judgement is not qualified to be a senator!

    December 31, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  12. Steve

    You are tainted now, deal with it.

    Regarding the need for younger politicians, are you serious?

    Our current generation are learning 3rd grade math in the 12th grade and being taught that rewarding success is bad.

    We do not need that.

    December 31, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  13. WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!


    WELCOME TO AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 31, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  14. Frank

    By the way, it would be appropriate for Obama to also criticize the race baiting language used by Burris, if he is truely post-racial as he claims to be.

    At least Obama came out and said he agrees with the democratic senators about seating anyone who Blago appointed, but he should go a step further to show that this crap has to stop.

    December 31, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  15. richard rohde

    southern cousin@you are in so much trouble, you will soon be called an idiot, have your morals, family, station in life bashed all over the place this board only accepts adulation of liberals by liberals, and believe it or not actual blames Bush for the Blago mess. The thugocracy rules this. Be prepared, it is scary.

    December 31, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  16. Jenn

    Toby in Illinois December 31st, 2008 9:15 am ET

    Much as I dislike Blagojevich (as a registered Democrat I actually voted Green in 2006), he is still legally the governor and has the responsibility of making this appointment. The law has not been changed in the interim. The refusal to seat Burris would thus amount to an "extra-legal" act, however you want to stretch constitutional interpretations.
    Remember: Once you bend the law for virtue, you allow others to bend it for vice.

    Well Said

    December 31, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  17. Don

    Ok here it goes...........I'm so sick of hearing about predjudice of black people.... guess what its not the 60's anymore and as far as our supid gov...... get a clue jerk !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 31, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  18. gl, Pittsburgh

    SOUTHERN HOTTIE December 31st, 2008 9:15 am ET

    They can't find someone younger?

    In my opinion, these old people in Congress are part of the problems affecting this, my beloved country.

    Happy New Year everybody.

    I have to agree with you on this one. Old people bring old policy and young people bring new ideas. It is really time for change in Congress.

    December 31, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  19. LB

    This guy is as clueless as Sarah Palin was as to why he was asked to hold the Senate seat. The first guy the Governor asked (also a black person) turned down the Governor. Now the Governor askes another Black person and he accepts. So now they want to make a race issue out of this appointment too. Get rid of the Governor before he really makes bigger problems than he already is doing or trying to do.

    December 31, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  20. Frank

    Sue , I couldn't agree more. Blago didn't not kill anyone, did not subvert the constitution and the Generva Convention and did not repeatedly lie to the American People about going to war. Just like Bush and Cheney didn't do any of those things.

    I knew I'd find a reasonable and responsible liberal here.

    December 31, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  21. Joe in CT - not Lieberman!!!

    As much as I hate to say it, their state law gives the governor the sole right to select a replacement for the vacant senate seat. Their Secretary of State does not have the authority to not certify the selection and the only challenge congress can make (thanks to the same unanimous Supreme Court decision that kept Congress from refusing to seat Adam Clayton Powell) is to the qualifications of the appointee (age, citizenship, residency), unless they decide to appeal the Supreme Court to review their 40-year-old decision.
    The other thing to consider is our constitutional guarantees still provide that someone is Innocent until proven Guilty. Unfortunately, the Bushies (gee, I love that term) have a habit of politically motivated prosecutions. Look at the case of the former governor of Alabama – his conviction has been overturned by a CONSERVATIVE appeals court and now the AGs office has to determine if it actually has the evidence to procede with a new trial, especially as all those folks will technically be out of their jobs as of January 20!

    December 31, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  22. Dean

    If Blogo were smart he would have appointed a Repub instead and let the repubs in the senate deal with it.

    December 31, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  23. Dennis

    Blago isn't as stupid as he seems. He set this trap and it worked. Now the Senate and the Democratic party are going to be wrong no matter what they do. If Burris had refused the offer he had a chance of being selected by some other means but not now.

    December 31, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  24. Joseph in North Carolina

    Another politician out of touch with sensibility!

    Mr. Burris should have declined the appointment offer – preferably in public – made by Blagojevich. He is foolish to think he is not tainted by this. The people want transparency in their government and it is warranted after losing so much faith in our politicians.

    All reasonable politicians would acknowledge that Blagojevich is acting in his own interests and not in the welfare of the people and anyone accepting his appointment inflames the situation.

    December 31, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  25. Betty

    What an ingenious move on Blago's part. Knowing the senate would block anyone he selects he picks a highly qualified black person knowing full well the issues that will be stirred up if the senate rejects him. Hmm, the guy is really smart or a mad man.

    December 31, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12