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. PK California

    Unfortunately he was offered a job that will never be, no matter how good he is. B knew this and chose him, DELIBERATELY!!!!! What arrogance! That was an act of thumbing his nose at his accusers.The crime he committed was against the people of Illinois! Hopefully this will start a cleaning house process there.

    December 31, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  2. Jeremy in Louisiana

    The bottom line of this whole situation is this:

    Regardless of what Sen Reid has said and the interpretations of the constitution which he has(which is not the Senate's place to interpret the constitution, that's the Supreme Court), the rights the Constitution guarentees to states allows for governors to appoint vacant senate seats. The US Senate has absolutely NO power to deny a state this right. The state of Illinois should have hurried up it's impeachment proceedings.

    The bottom line is that Gov Blago is still Illinois' Governor. Which means it is his state and US constitutional right to appoint whoever he wants.

    December 31, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  3. Briana the college student

    block it

    December 31, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  4. BigBear

    Politics is a lot of fun. I love it when these holier than thou idiots back themselves into a corner and show their true colors. Blago thumbs his nose at everyone; Burris lowers his standards by accepting Blago's appointment; Obama shoots off his mouth and ignores the legalities; Reid shoots off his mouth and ignores the legalities; and the pundits laugh at everyone involved.
    And this is just the Democrats.

    December 31, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. Crazy

    Can you imagine what the rest of the world must think about our politicians, dysfunctional does not begin to describe them!

    December 31, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  6. MD

    I am baffled by the fact that Burris accepted the offer in the first place. He had to know the appointment would be considered tanted.

    As for the fact that he is AA, just as we didn't want just any AA to be the President of the United States (i.e., Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton.), I'm pretty sure the people of Illinois don't want just any AA to be the senator. Playing the race card here is a mistake. Now is not the time to play games.

    December 31, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  7. Chris

    I don't see why everyone is in such a rush to fill this Senate seat. Afterall, it has been "vacant" or the past few years and nobody cared.

    December 31, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. Toni

    HA! Burris another power hungry Chicago Democrat took a position that he will never be allowed to fill and now he says that Blago's problems are not his problems – yes they are my friend – you accepted a tainted seat and now you are tainted – you will never be able to hold another office in this state and it tickles me pink! Hopefully the goof ball voters in this state will remember the screwing over they got (and deserve!) From the likes of Blago, Daley and Stroger – however, if the past shows anything, it seems they just keep bending over and saying "thank you sir, may I have another" because they keep voting these people into office!

    December 31, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  9. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    Burris has lost cred by "aceptin" the job from a man who he knows is going down.

    Of course Burris would say these things one he thinks he is "in".

    I am not doubting Burris' qualifications-but he knows he got in the back door.

    On another note I love these Barack detractors who whine about "THIS ISN'T CHANGE!"

    I guess they want Obama to snap his fingers and have the world turn into another place tomorrow.

    December 31, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  10. MThomp

    Mr. Burris should retire. Couldn't Blago have found someone younger. These old people need to step down and let someone else handle these stressing problems.

    December 31, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  11. Unsympathetic

    Mr. Burris is a disgrace to his country. He knew the charges hanging over Blagojevich's head, and should have declined the nomination.

    December 31, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  12. Brad

    Burris acknowledged that he had contributed the legal maximum to Blagojevich's campaign...I don't know the exact amount, but he stated in a TV interview that it was several thousand dollars. Given the charges against Blagojevich, the appearance that Burris may have "payed to play" are terrible. Burris should have declined the appointment for that reason alone.

    In addition, Burris should realize that he is being used as a pawn by Blagojevich, who is trying to peel off some of the Democratic opposition to him with a blatantly racial appeal. He has done a tremendous disservice to the Democratic Party in Illinois.

    It appears that Burris has put his personal ambition ahead of the interests of the people of Illinois...and, in the process, confirmed the suspicion in the minds of people both in and outside of Illinois that it is the same old corrupt "business as usual" attitude in Illinois politics.

    Both the Illinois Attorney General and the U.S. Senate should do everything it can to reject this apointment and, if not, delay it indefinitely by refusing to seat Burris in the U.S. Senate and letting the matter play out in court for years.

    December 31, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. Julie

    Hey Sue,

    Need to get your facts and ideals straight. President Bush is only guilty of protecting this country. He went off the same intelligence information Clinton did during his administration. Several bombing took place during the Clinton administration in Iraq, don't see you talking war crimes against him:
    The day before the House impeachment vote, Clinton bombed Iraq, delaying the impeachment vote. He continued the bombing throughout all the days of the impeachment vote. Only an hour or two after the House impeachment vote ended, Clinton ended the bombing, saying, "We have achieved our objectives." Of course, because the objective was to delay and distract from the impeachment vote! In all other respects, the bombing hurt U.S. and international interests.
    Clinton gave several excuses for bombing Iraq on the eve of the impeachment vote, especially the claim that Iraq had stopped cooperating with UNSCOM inspectors.
    The Desert Fox operation was launched by Clinton and Blair in December 1998 to punish Iraq for forcing out the weapons inspectors. Thereafter Iraqi air defenses were attacked whenever the allies came under attack.
    In the first three months of 1999, U.S. led-forces bombarded Iraq with 241,000 pounds of bombs—just shy of the 253,000 pounds dropped under President Bush in the eight months leading up to the final UN resolution before the war.
    By August of 1999, American and British pilots had fired more than 1,100 missiles against 359 targets—that year alone.

    December 31, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  14. Independent

    Ha. I can not wait to see this guy comes to Washington with a return ticket in his hand. He will be kicked out like a poor cat! What's a joke!

    December 31, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  15. Andy

    Appointing the an african american to replace Obama as the only black senator in the house. The only white man to ever play the race card. Blago may be a crook, but he is brilliant. Let's see the left wing democrat try to discredit his choice. This should be incredibly entertainning.

    December 31, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  16. facts are facts

    From my observations of research done on U.S. politics the people who think Illinois has the most corrupt politicians should do some more reading. In fact Illinois ranks 28th in a per capita ranking of states with the most corrupt politicians.

    Kind of sad when you think of it.

    December 31, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  17. Kaye -Jacksonville FL

    Geez – real life is indeed often stranger than fiction! Surely everyone will have an opinion on Mr Burris and this appointment – but seems to me that Blago just wants to still swagger while he can and Mr Burris is an opportunist who says, "Why not?" Roland Burris has been rejected by Illinois voters on several occasions (he hasn't served in elected office for quite some time, has he?) – very doubtful he would hold this seat in 2010. And Bobby Rush jumping to the lectern made the whole thing even more surreal...Illinois voters must be cringing!

    December 31, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  18. Ken in Chicago

    Burris is actually a Good Man. Why would he accept an appointment from a tainted Governor? Because he gets a chance to be a Senator, I'd take it too. Right now, Rod and Roland have one major thing on their side THE LAW. Until Rod is convicted or impeached (which I believe will never happen) or until reasons can be found to deny Roland, everything else being done is just smoke and mirrors.

    December 31, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  19. energy


    Blago voted for President-Elect Obama and now votes for Sen-Select Burris. If Obama thinks the senate should not sit Burris; then, the American people should not sit Obama. Both processes are tainted because Blago supported both candidates.

    December 31, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  20. PollWacth

    JB...what does black have to do with it? Once again, another racist insignificant voice. People like you will always be racist and bigots.

    December 31, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  21. Tasha S.

    Burris should either step down or be taken down. He is not even smart enough to see that the Gov. is using him to get the news off of his situation! Burris is so desperate for a position he can't even tell he's being used. And for the record I am an African-American and race has nothing to do with this. Congress already stated earlier that who ever the Gov. picked would not be approved!

    December 31, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  22. Mike

    I cant belive someone would even try to gain power or except a apointment from this criminal in Chicago. But as you can see some people just want power at any cost! We will be reading about Roland not to far in the futer mark my words and it will be in the crime pages!

    December 31, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  23. Bill_ MA

    Would this be the same senate that presented Ted Stevens of Alaska with a standing ovation after being found guilty, and losing reelection? The senate, and house show such disrespect to we the people of the USA. All of you should be unseated.

    December 31, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  24. AnaB

    Former Obama Voter:

    Just exactly what proof do you have that Obama is the most corrupt politician? He has not been charged with anything and therefore, you have no proof, just a bunch of fear and hype.

    December 31, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  25. PA Law

    How sad that the Gov decided to fill the seat with a fine and qualified individual that now can not serve.

    Mr. Burris is far from being an idot. He knew that his appointment would likely be rejected, however it was a politically deft move. Before yesterday none of us knew his name. Today we all know it and we know him to be a qualified person. Other doors will surely open for him.

    December 31, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
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