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. soraya

    The governor has balls. You gotta love him for that.

    December 31, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  2. HSNP

    Mr. Burris must have no self respect whatsoever to have accepted this appointment in the first place.

    December 31, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  3. Perspective

    His willingness to accept this appointment calls into q

    December 31, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  4. Mark in Texas

    Blago, from day one, has never looked even remotely worried about the charges against him. This action proves he's not the least bit concerned. He must have something on "The Messiah" or he would not be this confident.

    Blago won't be convicted of anything and Burris will be seated in the Senate. Blago has pulled back the curtain on how things are really done in Politics (regardless of the party) and the Democrats want this to go away. Welcome to the big leagues boys!

    December 31, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. Jeff Brown

    I feel sorry for this guy. He has been a decent man and an honest politician for many years. Too bad he was appointed by a crooked headcase and that will probably tarnish his reputation!

    December 31, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  6. Perspective

    His willingness to accept this position calls into question his ethics. Those are not my problems.

    December 31, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  7. Jen

    He just wants the senate seat... greedy greedy..

    If he was a man of honor and integrity... he would agree that even though the gov is innocent until proven guilty he has some serious proof against him for the FBI to take control of this and go through with the arrest to begin with. But even though innocent a murder can be innocent until proven guilty does that mean your going to call him up and let him babysit your kids before the court process is over??

    People want to sit back and see what happens and see what evidence is against him first before they put their total trust in him.. innocent or NOT.

    He needs to step down and let the courts take process and if proven innocent then people minds will be free of the taint he has right now. No one in Illinois is going to think or feel good about who is in the senate seat that he picks at the moment.

    December 31, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  8. Jung -NY

    I don't like and respect corrupt Gov. Blagojevich. However, I don't understand why the senate seat must be filled with the persons who Obama or Rahm Emmanuel want like Valerie Jarrett who was born in Iran. Is this illegal or legal ? I do believe that Obama, Rahm Emmanuel and Valerie Jarrett are deeply emboiled in the scandal of Blago. Three of them equally have to take responsibility to clear the scandal before the Inaugulation.

    December 31, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  9. Phoenix

    Look everyone. If you are a boss at a firm, and you receive a letter of reference from a known criminal about a potential employee, wouldn't this raise your eyebrow at the potential employee? This demonstrates a lack of judgement to even accept an appointment from a tainted political figure. By the way, Burris is ran for governor three times and lost which means that he cannot even win a general election. Therefore, a seat that once non-competitive, is now competitive. This is why you do not hear Republicans complaining that much about Burris accepting this appointment.

    December 31, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. Matt in CT

    Good to see that the Democrats who post are familiar w/ the "innocent until proven guilty" ethic. Would be nice if they abandoned their hypocrisy for one moment and condemned someone at the faintest rumor the way they do with Republicans. Or better yet, let's blame Blagojevich's problems on President Bush. I dont' see enough of you hacks on here picking up that usual tactic – are you sleeping??

    December 31, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  11. Mark19712

    The fact is the law is clear. The governor appoints Obama's replacement.

    When President Obama and Senate Leader design to reject the appointment of the Illinois governor, they are circumventing the law.

    They are trying to select the replacement, which is frankly not their task to do.

    I'm no fan of this Illinois' governor, but the fact is, its a little strange, most politicians, without any fear of exxageration, have the same personality traits as Blagovich.

    And its ironic that those standing against him for his crimes, are doing so by ignoring the law and committing transgressions of their own.

    Another example the Sec. of State, not 'certifying'...there is no legal basis not to certify.

    Follow the law, if you cannot follow the law, if its yours to cite as you wish, and to ignore as you wish, how are you different from Blago?

    December 31, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  12. Isaac

    71? There's a very good chance this guy won't even live long enough to serve the remaining two years. Jeez.

    December 31, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  13. Alex Winter

    So Burris was the high bidder?

    December 31, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  14. Sherri

    ITS NOT ABOUT RACE! Its about Governor Blago joining his predecessor Republican Governor George Ryan and both being cell mates in that prison in Terre Haute, by the end of 2009!. Shame on Bobby Rush & Roland Burris for playing the race card AND I hope the legislature in Springfield & D.C. reject the appointment!.

    December 31, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  15. tom

    Sue...get over it...your pathetic liberal unsubstantiated diatribe is old and tired. We get it, you don't like the current adminstration. Got any PROOF or you just repeating what one liberal told another liberal who told another liberal....

    December 31, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  16. paulette


    I do not like what I am seeing. I somehow see your hands are also tied in with this mess.

    Man If I have been dupped, which I think I have been then May God forgive you for betraying us.

    To Mr. Burris. Why in the world would you make such a comment against the only man who have given you such a position of power.

    What in the world is wrong with you.

    December 31, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  17. Critical Thinker

    H: Check out DWoods comments which in my opinion hits the nail on the head. For selfish reasons, Blagojevich appoints someone in an effort to appear that he is confident in his innocence. It is selfish b/c he KNOWS that anyone he taps will be tainted. SO even if Burris is a stand-up guy (just like everything else in life, I steer away from wrongfully generalizing), his chance of being a senator are slim and Blagojevich could care less...tell me this dude ain't arrogant

    I will say that Burris should have really thought about this logically and not just legally but that's another blog.

    December 31, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |


    December 31, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  19. di

    seat mr Burris in America we believe in peronal responsibility.

    December 31, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  20. Adam

    Maybe Burris is qualified, maybe he's not. Of that I do not know. What I do know is that Gov. Blagojevich doesn't have the public or the party's confidence to make decisions. I'm with Obama on this one...get this crook out of office.

    December 31, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  21. End Of An Error

    Blagojevich is nothing but a crook – and the worst kind. He is abusing the democratic process.

    What he did is basically treason and should be investigated as such and punished as such.

    And Burris, good or bad, should not be made senator. It is a tainted appointment.

    December 31, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. Randolph

    I am truly confused about the all situation. I thought, November 4th 2008 and Jan. 20th 2009 should be remembered as dates when American people have gotten the change they were desperately looking for. One particular change should be the constitutional right of any American, which is "Every one should be innocent until proven innocent". That means, it is now time to stop mistreating and humiliating people like they were already convicted, when they haven't been yet.
    As far as I know, Governor Blagojevich has not been convicted yet, and no one has told us the exact crime this man has done. He didn't have any inappropriate contact with PE Obama's team, so he did not sell the seat to them. If so, then it was not an appropriate contact.
    Also, this investigation has been going for 5 or 6 years, as they are telling us. I don't know how many more time they really need in order to indict him if he is really a criminal?
    If Governor Blagojevich is a criminal just because what he was saying to his people then more than 80% of American should also be criminals. Almost every one, in his/her living room, bed room, or office, says things that would be criminal if he/she executed them. Mostly, they are just words.
    The question is:"Did Blagojevich sat down with some one and asked the person to pay him for that particular seat?" If so, why not telling people and indict him?
    Those Democrats has been attacking President Bush for destroying the US economy, but they just gave him $700 billions to do whatever he wants to.
    Why not let Blagojevich also do his job because he is still the governor until otherwise?
    Frankly, Senator Harry Reid is now too old to lead.

    December 31, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  23. Ray Fisher

    I find it odd that the Democratic Party hasn't intervened and at least provided input into this process. Immediately after the scandal broke, the party should have stepped in to shield President Obama, provide input on replacements to Blago and monitored the criminal investigation, instead they left President Obama out to dry and handle his part alone. I dare say whenever any other Democrat has challenges the party steps in immediately. Is there a new double standard for Democrats??? Please don't tell me its because of race that they are abandoning their own President!!!

    December 31, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  24. James Burke

    Mr. Burris is clearly someone whose ambition has exceeded his judgment!
    Why on earth he would risk his good reputation at this late stage of his career, is one that can only be answered by vanity and ambition.

    This appointment from the disgraced Governor, is a perfect example of of the old "fruit of the poison tree" adage.

    I am sure that Gov. Bag-o-Chips thought he was being very sly and crafty in this manuever, but all he accomplished in the minds of those who have even a hint on intelligence was to further the belief the Governor is certifiably insane.

    December 31, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  25. Mwalimu Daudi

    If Senate Democrats are so concerned about Burris reflecting badly upon the institution, why did they agree to seat Reid (a thief), Dodd (another thief), Webb (a gun smuggler), Byrd (a KKK Grand Wizard), and Kennedy (a murderer)? Burris and Blago actually represent a step up in character and ethics from the entire Democrat Caucus.

    December 31, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
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