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. Chris

    President-Elect Obama could care less what fiasco in taking place in Springfield, the only reason why he made his statement was because the MSM would have questioned WHY he wasn't making a statement. President-Elect Obama is inheriting 2 WARS and a economic Tsunami that Mr. Bush allows to fester to where we're at now for 8 years!. President-Elect Obama has enough on his plate beginning 1/20/2009 to NOT concern himself with what is going on in his home state. If the MSM would leave him alone then you would not see any statements coming from him or his team & hopefully when he becomes President he will tell the MSM that he has no further comments about the Governor of Illinois nor the mess that he's in due to his own greed!!!!..

    December 31, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  2. David

    First, Blagojevich is crazy. Second, anyone taking the position and being appointed by Blagojevich is just stupid. And 71, can't someone younger be found. Any wonder old politics never change.

    December 31, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. Deb in Colo

    I don't know this guy – he may or may not be a great candidate.

    But with the cloud hanging over Blagojevich's head (and by default Mr Burris) – I think he's dreaming that this will be a quick and easy sell to anybody.

    It will be interesting to see if he actually gets seated.

    December 31, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. Meh

    Former Obama Voter? Sorry, I don't believe you ever were one.

    As for Burris, he may be honest as the day is long (I've no idea so I can't really comment), BUT I think accepting this position is going to be the undoing of his political career. Bad move.

    December 31, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  5. John in Ohio

    For people trying to tie Obama to this, you're fricking morons. Just because Bush came from Texas, does that make him Delay? Is Jeb Bush a pederast like Mark Foley because they were both Republican politicians in Florida? Remember that the previous governor of Illinois, George Ryan, is a Republican and is currently doing time on federal corruption charges. Also note that Senator Durbin, who may be a controversial character at times but is also a corruption-free straigh shooter, has been consistently calling for Blago to step down. What you have to realize about Chicago is that there aren't Democrats and Republicans per say, there's corrupt machine politicians and there's politicians from outside the machine. I know first hand, my dad was a Republcian precinct committeeman in the Chicagoland area, and the other Republicans, for the most part, were slime as slime can be. But there were a few outsider politicians, on both sides, and they were pretty okay guys. Obama was one of these. Blagojevich is not.

    So, to summate
    Burris = idiot
    Blagojevich = crook
    Durbin = good guy
    Obama = wasn't going to give Blago anything and is clean

    December 31, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  6. Ann

    Haven't we heard that quote from too many Senators already? "That's not my problem. That's not my problem." Yeah, that's what we want more of in the Senate. I don't care who appointed him. This guy sounds like a jerk.

    December 31, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. Rodney

    I cannot believe the people of Ill. are not coming un-glued! It is the same old Chicago politics! It directly slaps all the citizens right in the face. They should have a special election and truly let the people decide. Mr. Burris may be qualified but I think he is just looking at the lifelong perks that come with the job. I watched the interview yesterday and Burris and the guest Congressman (who just happened to be present) made it a black thing. Never fails, make it a black thing so no-one will be able to touch it. I thought that would end with Obama getting elected. Once again, the democratic party has huge issues with race but always labels the republicans as racist. Totally funny! If I lived in Chicago, I would get the heck out because their vote doesn't mean anything. Same-old crocked politicians taking care of themselves! Oh yea, I can't believe that Burris even donated well over 16K to Blogo and his campaign. But it is a black thing remember. Give me a break!

    December 31, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  8. David in Dallas

    You should have said, "No thanks, Bozo."
    But, maybe you just really don't want the job.
    Happy 2009!

    December 31, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. Hector

    Anyone who comments on here that Bush needs to be impeached or in prison is a downright idiot, saying such remarks just makes Americans sound ignorant and just plain dumb. Dont get mad just because the media is finally doing something right by giving the corrupt left whats coming to them. The next administration will have alot on its plate and it will be amusing to watch the left fail at making good on all the promises for change hahaha.

    December 31, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  10. JBL

    I am not from Illinois and I have no idea who Burris is, but my impression is that he must be somewhat of a sleaze bag is he would let the governor appoint him, accept the appointment, and then turn around and attack the governor. Of course, he may be no worse than the other members of Congress.

    December 31, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. David

    Everyone is saying that Blagojevich legally can appoint Mr. Burris and that is that. Yes that is true, but legally the Senate can vote to not seat him and that is also very much legal. There is nothing anyone can do about the Gov appointing him and there is nothing anyone can do about the Senate denying him the seat as well.

    December 31, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  12. California Gold

    Mr. Burris is walking a very thin line and not doing it very well. This morning Meridith Viera questioned him about the announcement yesterday and questioned if rejection of Burris equates to "lynching' and Burris agreed, after stating there are no other blacks in the Senate. Now I'm offended. He doesn't see there is a problem with Blagojevich appointing him? The man is OUT ON BAIL FOR CORRUPTION! And Burris doesn't see this as a "problem". Burris has managed to commit political suicide with this episode.

    December 31, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  13. m. Emslie

    I knew our country was in financial trouble, but i didn't know our political system was that corrupt.

    December 31, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  14. Rodney

    Please stop with the Bush/Chaney thing. Your going to have to come up with something better than that. Please just be honest about your own party when it fails and makes mistakes. Did you bash Clinton when he pardoned a group of bad people??? I bet not. Your hated for George clouds your mind. Ever heard the old saying, "If you can't say something good about someone, don't say anything at all". Would be good advice for you.

    December 31, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  15. Babe

    Blagoyevich seems to be attempting to save his position by appointing a person of known character to the Senate position. This is meant to make us believe that he is really not the smarmy character we know him to be. What is confusing here is why Burris accepted. At this moment, any appointment is going to be met with a fight in Congress and a great deal of resentment in Illinois. True, the Senate does not have to approve anyone to be a senator, but they can censure, and they can also make life hell for Burris if they so choose, and they may choose to do so because Burris was sent from Blago.

    As for all the talk about “discrimination,” and using the race card, it is good to see Obama jump in to negate that. And Burris? Well, I don’t know him and any respect I might have had for him based on his long record evaporated in lieu of his having accepted the tainted offer. He has to know better but I imagine he thought he could override a few things here. Supposedly his appointment is legal, but in politics, legal is only one consideration.

    I hope he doesn’t get seated. Blago has to be convinced to step down. There are too many allegations, too many tapes and too many witnesses against him to allow him to govern in any acceptable way. At this point, I don’t believe he can get any deals. It’s a sad commentary on a year of scandal to see another lowlife politician pretend to be the good guy he obviously never was.

    December 31, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. Juan Grain

    The fact that he accepted raises questions of taint. It taint right!

    December 31, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  17. A.E.

    Erik in Pa et al. You guys just do not get it do you? The issue is not one of legal authority but of the perception of corruption under this cloud of suspicion. Just like judges recuse themselves from cases to avoid the perception of inpropriety, the govenor should have done the same. Thus, the Senate has every right to be concerned. While they may not be able to prevent Burris from having a seat in the Senate, they certainly can prevent him from having any meaningful responsibilitiies on committees etc. I do not think that serves the people of Illinois very well.

    December 31, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  18. Laura, Boston

    I think Harry Reid thinks we live in France where you are guilty until proven innocent. Hate to break it to Harry but it is Innocent until proven guilty and like it or not, the governor is (for now) presumed to be innocent.

    He therefore has the legal obligation to fill the Senate seat vacated by Obama. Harry Reid better read the lawbooks before he shoots off his big mouth. The IL legistative branch didn't remove Blago as governor; therefore, he is the governor and has every right legally to make an appointment.

    I am surprised like the other bloggers that Obama even weighed in on this matter.

    December 31, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  19. California Gold

    This morning Meredith Viera questioned him about the announcement yesterday and questioned if rejection of Burris equates to lynching and Burris agreed. Now I'm offended. He doesn't see there is a problem with Blagojevich appointing him? The man is OUT ON BAIL! And Burris doesn't see this as a "problem". Burris has managed to commit political suicide with this episode.

    December 31, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  20. Denise

    This is becoming as ridiclous as the Senate race in MN. Go ahead and seat Burris while this is being settled by the courts. Honestly! They should have had a special election and none of this would have happened.

    December 31, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  21. Mike

    Love it! Burris says that it will be racism if he is not confirmed. So typical of black Democrats to play the race card. WAKE UP - OBAMA WON. There are no more race cards to play.

    December 31, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  22. AnaB

    southerncousin December 31st, 2008 10:35 am ET

    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.

    southerncousin, are you talking to yourself, or are you really Richard Rohde using different screen names, because he basically said the exact same thing on a different topic on here....

    December 31, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  23. Andy in Illinois

    I find this as typical for the politicians we have representing us in this great state of Illinois. We else can you do what you want and not listen to the people of this state. They take care of them selves first and the people last. He may legally be the Governor but he has been challenged by the authority on his shadowed politics. Mr Burris may very well be qualified, but why would you not wait until the have there say, or are they going to be mutes and not say anything about this also. This is our country they work for us. the people. Tell them what you want.

    December 31, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  24. Rob

    The whole thing with Bobby Rush was just another example of Chicago politics: When in doubt, throw in the race card.

    I guess we just wait and see if after January 20th, if the reason people don't support Obama's decisions will be deemed because they are racist. Is Bobby prepping his voice for then?

    Anyways, you know Blago's in trouble with the people of Illinios. Usually Jesse or Al are the ones who step up to the microphone and throw the race card. He's gotta be bad if even Jesse and Al won't stand up with him.

    December 31, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  25. Dennis

    Point 1: A Federal Prosecutor claims that there are Audio tapes of a sitting Illinois Governor soliciting bribes in return for an appointment to the US Senate.

    Point 2: The Senate leadership warns that because of the bribery and corruption aspect, it will not qualify any appointment to the Senate made by that Illinois Governor (Under Article I Section 5 of the Constitution, the Senate can refuse to seat anyone).

    Conclusion: Although I seriously doubt that Roland Burris would have paid a bribe for the appointment, anyone who would allow himself to be appointed to the Senate by that same Illinois Governor may have already lost their mind....and that is a shame, because I beleive that Roland Burris was a good man.

    December 31, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
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