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. obama-mama

    JB the bigot.

    December 31, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  2. Tom in NJ

    The question is how much did Burris pay to get the senate seat? You know that Blago didn't just give it away. Both Blago and Burris are equally corrupt in this case.
    Most likely the senate Dems will start to hold their noses and look the other way instead of sticking to their guns and refusing to seat Burris. While there is no sonstitutional backing for the senate not to seat Burris, there is also no constitutional baking for having a state govenor to name one either. The constitution spells out how the people should ELECT their senator.

    December 31, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  3. JT in DC

    Blagoyevich and Burris are brilliant. Burris is qualified to be a Senator. He meets all of the constitutional prerequisites, and therefore any attempt by the Senate not to seat him will fail. Back in 1967, the House refused to seat Adam Clayton Powell. He sued, and the Supreme Court agreed with Powell that the House had to seat him because he met the requirements of the Constitution. So now, the Senate democrats are in the position of trying (and ultimately failing) to exclude Burris, who will be the only African American in the Senate, once he is seated. If I didn't know better, I'd say Blagoyevich is a Republican!

    December 31, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  4. Field Tech

    Goblomybytch, is an idiot she goes and fills the senate seat anyway. Burris does not know if he is coming or going. I really hope Jesse White does not get him certified. To put the finishing touches on this he calls in Bobby Rush to give a speech which I feel all he did was stand up in front of the press and play the race card. So if Burris is not allowed the seat it will turn into a black/white issue.

    December 31, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  5. Rodney in Dallas

    No Way, No How! Mr. Burris might well be a qualified person but no one appointed by this corrupt governor should be sitting in Washington. Hold an election and allow Mr. Burris to run. Let the people of IL vote. This governor cannot be trusted and neither can the people he appoints.

    I also want to mention that I am sick and tired that when a black person doesn't get their way, they use the race card. I thought the election of Barack Obama would put an end to this. I guess there really is no end.

    December 31, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  6. RRB

    Burris's comment that by accepting the appointment, he was solving/taking away a major issue for his state is ludicrous. He is compounding the problem by accepting the appointment.

    December 31, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  7. carol

    Burris may be an upstanding man, but I don't think he should have accepted the position under the circumstances.
    Blago, although he's still the Gov. I think he should just step down and wait for this investigation to play out.
    All this controversy is not necessary with PE Obama's inauguration just around the corner.

    December 31, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  8. Rick in WA

    Sue, your ignorance is the result of the failed modern media. The Geneva Convention rules apply to uniformed soldiers fighting for a country. It does NOT apply to Muslim fanatics wearing dirty robes, fighting for no particular country.

    December 31, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  9. Molly

    This isn't about Mr. Burris and it certainly isn't about race. Its about the arrogance of Gov Blagojevich in making this appointment, knowing the crisis it would create. He learned from Bush-Cheney (as obviously have the Israelis, the Pakistanis and Al Queda) that if you just do what you want, regardless of how wrong, if nothing else you'll create enough chaos to distract the world from the other bad things you're doing.

    December 31, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  10. xcalibur

    He's playing the race card and knows it. Keeps repeating there is no black senator in interviews. If that's not playing the race card then please free OJ.. haha.

    December 31, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  11. mark

    Blago is inocent until found guilty . and more than likely the only thing tthe guy is guilty of is making stupid brovado comments whilst being taped.

    His oppiontment of Burris is legel unless someone can proove that Bklaog sold Burris the seat

    Therefore the Senate should perform sufficent checks to verify no foul play and thereafter let Burris take his seat.

    If Obama cannotsee that then he will only have himself to blaim if/when this scandel rolls into the New Year and into the early days of his administration.

    December 31, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  12. Betty the maid

    I just wanted to say that I think Sarah Palin is a Wal Mart Hill Billy Douche Bag and I hope nothing but misery befalls her family in the new new.


    December 31, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  13. Illinois 2

    Roland Burris is a good and well respected state leader and should not be stopped from filling the senate appointment just because he was picked by the governor. We all need to remember that even the Governor is innocent until proven guilty and of course the state should step back as well.

    This appointment has taken everyone by surprise, but to those of us that are from Illinois and know how honest Mr. Burris is, we applaud the choice.

    December 31, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  14. Bubba

    I'm sure he's a good guy, but face it, he's got Blago all over his shoes now. That stuff don't wipe off.

    December 31, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  15. l Mackel

    Mr. Burris, I agree with Tim in NC, If you have any sense at all, you gratefully show that you can not accept the nomination , if you do, then you are no better then the man who appointed you, power hungry and not really the public servrent that you want people to think you are. good luck and God Bless!

    December 31, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  16. Tom in S.A.

    There should be no appointing, have a special election and let the voters decide, no corruption unless your in Minn or Florida. Maybe Reid is afraid Burris might take his job, just think a newcomer threatening an old timer (in the senate), can't have that. Harry knows what's best for all of us, didn't ya know.........

    December 31, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  17. carment

    I know this is off-topic but I really think at least ONE CNN staffer could truthfully debunk this nonsense about it being "traditional" for Blair House to be available on January 15th.

    The Clintons moved in during December, and other Presidents-Elect in the last 40 years or so have moved in right at the beginning or during the first week of January.

    The first Bush, who was already "on the spot" as VP moved in a couple of days before inauguaration.

    How does George Bush moving in on Jan 15th suddenly qualify as a "tradition"?

    December 31, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  18. Sue

    The citizenry undermines the judicial process by casting aspersions on the potential innocent. Look in the mirror folks.

    December 31, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  19. Sue

    For Obama: The US Senate does not run states' business. Did you know that? Why are you opposed to Burris sitting in your seat for two years? Afraid he might do something there, outshining you because all you did was run for president? You are on the losing side of this, as the governor's appointment will stand via the Supreme Court.

    December 31, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  20. Matt

    As someone who supported McCain, I begrudgingly have to agree with the person who is calling for some younger, fresher blood in the Congress. Experience is great, but being obsolete is not. I don't doubt that some of the older members are very smart men who have done and in some cases continue to do great things with their expertise and years of experience.

    But, there is something to be said about a new world and ever-changing times that this older generation may be ever more ill-equipped to deal with. Let's get some mid 40s-early 50 somethings in there, people more in touch with the current generation but with enough experience. That will possibly change things for the better. It's no different from the problems plaguing many corporate boards at the moment – too many old cronies who frankly may have been big-shots in their day but don't always know what they are doing any more.

    December 31, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  21. happy new year

    i don't think he should get the appointment, not because he's not qualified, but because of the bad circumstances that surronds his appointment, he should withdraw, and let justice prevail, maybe in the end he will get the appointment, but in the right way.

    December 31, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  22. southerncousin

    Good points southern cousin, but stand by you are about to be called all kinds of names, dissent is not tolerated in the thugocracy that we have become.

    December 31, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  23. Mari

    It is SAD that Burris is tainted by Blagojevich! What's even sadder is that the State of Illinois legislature does not have the BACKBONE to impeach their criminal governor!


    December 31, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  24. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    This guy is now saying it would look like racism if he is not confirmed.

    Blacks need to stop using racism as an excuse for everything. This guy seems desperate for a job. There was obviously a reason why he did not win the many political races he entered.

    Nobody OWES him anything. Or, do they?

    December 31, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  25. JL

    He's correct they are not his problems, however, you are a wise older man why on earth would you accept his nomination given all the DRAMA behind this man? Also, why did you not request that the Lt. Gov nominate you? At least you will have been accepted by the Senate.

    December 31, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
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