December 31st, 2008
07:29 PM ET
6 years ago

Is Blagojevich playing a game of racial 'chicken'?

Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced Roland Burris as his pick for Illinois' open Senate seat on Tuesday.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced Roland Burris as his pick for Illinois' open Senate seat on Tuesday.

(CNN) - Gov. Rod Blagojevich's pick of a prominent African-American to succeed Barack Obama in the Senate has led to suggestions that the move is calculated, but the governor says he's just doing his job.

Blagojevich on Tuesday announced he'd appointed former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to replace Obama in the Senate, ignoring warnings from Senate Democrats who say they will block anyone he appoints.

Obama said Tuesday that he agrees with the Senate Democrats' decision to block an appointment by Blagojevich, but it's unclear if the Senate has the right to do so.

FBI agents arrested the governor on December 9 after federal prosecutors alleged, among other things, that he had tried to sell Obama's former Senate seat. Blagojevich denies wrongdoing and has ignored calls to resign.

Blagojevich's announcement left observers asking - whether the governor was playing a game of racial "chicken," daring Senate Democrats to snub a respected African-American.

Conservative radio host Larry Elder said race was clearly a part of Blagojevich's plan.

"What he has done is this: He's chosen a black person and dared the Democratic Senate not to seat him because there would then be no black senators in the Senate whatsoever.

"I'm not saying that the former attorney general isn't a man of integrity and wouldn't otherwise, in his own right, be able to serve competently as a senator.

"But you don't have to be a cynic to understand that race was part of Blagojevich was doing right here," he said.

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soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Enough Already

    CNN–Enough Already-–The Heck with Blagojevich

    December 31, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  2. Larry

    Typical Democrats

    December 31, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  3. BUSH BEGONE AND NOW 75% OF AMERICANS AGREE, FINALLY!

    Blago strikes me as a man that is both manipulative and conniving but I do not see what he has to gain from hoping the Senate does not seat Burris.

    On the other hand, we know he does nothing without a hope of some kind of payoff I am too dense to see it though.

    December 31, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  4. Susan

    Blago's gotta go! I understand "innocent until proven guilty", but I also understand something like "administrative leave" until the trial, similar to the way police officers are treated when a trial is pending.

    December 31, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  5. bob saget

    I just think its silly how we keep saying "playing the race/sex card" as if race and sex is some tool people keep in their pocket and only take out when it suits their best interests. A black person is treated as a black person, just as a woman is treated as woman, whether they want it to be that way or not...not just when they "play the card." – life just isn't that simple

    December 31, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  6. TheTruthHurts

    He's not bright otherwise this stuff wouldn't be on tape. My guess is he's trying to get himself out of trouble and he's using these wannabees to help him. Despite their protestations, I think Illinois will be represented fine by a PRESIDENT from CHICAGO. Nor Roland Burris, nor anyone else in that state will do a better job insuring IL interests are not forgotten than the only man (a black man) with the veto pen.

    December 31, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  7. janet , ohio

    Why is it that liberals are always the only ones who care what color a person is?

    December 31, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  8. JB

    That is beautiful man...! Do you hear the sound of the "Smack Down" he just laid down! Is there any doubt he is a shrewd politician in the most absolute true sense!! The "N" card has been played masterfully! You cannot check mate him on this move!!! He's my hero!

    Here's the deal – lets get rid of him and the other corrupt Gov's... and while were at it, lets get rid of the corrupt "Sinisters"... that would leave about what... 2 Gov's and maybe 3 Sinsiters??

    December 31, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  9. Vi

    Of course he is playing the race card, and so is the appointee and Bobby Rush, by dropping code words such as lynching. As an African-American I find it offensive, these two idiots need to do their Amos n' Andy routine at a comedy club. This is not about race and should not become an issue of race, the seat should be appointed on the basis of merit and not on race or because ou happen to have a famous name (Kennedy).

    December 31, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  10. pk49

    Clearly he is playing that card. That is the point of his pick.....to make it difficult to say no. Very transparent. Some of these questions are insulting to our intelligence.

    December 31, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  11. Jim

    Politicians are resident evil.

    December 31, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  12. Meka

    REASON ENOUGH, NOT TO SEAT BURRIS . . . "BURRIS CAN BE LED BY ANYONE"

    December 31, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  13. MK

    Hell yes he is playing "racial chicken" and the more I read about his appointee the more I don't like him either.

    December 31, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  14. Proud American

    Rod Blagojevich is a self serving Idiot and would use his own mother to serve his purpose. Black people stand back and think about this.

    December 31, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  15. Donna

    Of course he played the race card..he also is playing the "I dare you to go against me" card...Rod is clearly trying to prove that he is NOT CONCERNED about the charges he faces and wanted to further show that he was still in charge..now if Burris isn't seated, the State Senate and the Democrats would be viewed in a negative light...

    Burris is just trying to further his own career..he doesn't seem to care that his nomination is tainted....

    December 31, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  16. Tom

    I don't understand why Burris would accept the nomination. That motive should be questioned. The nomination should be blocked on the principle that a governor indicted by the federal government should not be allowed to make appointments to the federal government.

    December 31, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  17. Adriana

    It is a racial card,cause if th esenate blocks it i t would look racist.He might have played a good card.well see.

    December 31, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  18. Elsee in CA

    It isn't about the color of a man's skin, it's about the quality of a man's character...

    December 31, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  19. TexAnnie *-*-*-*-*

    Yes, and so is Burris.
    There's something just feels hinky about this whole nomination– and the fact that Burris is pushing so hard for a quick confirmation just doesn't feel right. The guy appears way too eager– makes you wonder if he was the one promising Blagohevich something in return for this seat. Personally, if it had been me, I would have turned Blagojevich down just because of the suspicious circumstances surrounding the whole situation.

    December 31, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  20. chuck

    ONLY GOD KNOWS WHAT THE HELL THIS MAN IS THINKING AND DOING.

    December 31, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  21. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    "Is Blagojevich playing a game of racial 'chicken'?" Yes.

    December 31, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  22. Kevin

    Yes. As an African American I was offended by this appointment. It is apparent Roland Burris was selected because he was black. Blagojecvich is now playing racial politics while trying to destroy the Democratic party with his antics.

    Now, Att. Gen. Burris is qualified to be a United States Senator, but he should have waited until Gov. Blagojecvich was not in the picture before he accepted. Either way this is truly offensive to the Black community.

    If Obama has shown nothing, Blacks can run and be accepted in the United States Senate by being elected. We just need more that will take a chance on running.

    December 31, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  23. Jana

    Illinois' Governor is a disgrace to Illinois. Mr. Burris is an honorable man, but is being used as a pawn.

    Shame on Blageovich.

    Shame on him for wasting the precious tax dollars of Illinois citizens in such hard times. Shame on him for using another person as a pawn. What a pig.

    Impeach. Impeach. Impeach. This is a clear example as to why that provision was written into the Illinois Constitiution by our forefathers.

    December 31, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  24. earle,florida

    I'm confused why this would be a racial issue? Most of the qualified selection are Black ,and just how is "Big Bad Blago", doing anything wrong? Oh, I see ,Obama,and Reid think he's (Blago) pinning one against the other( other being pre-ordained by Obama/Reid) to upset the apple-cart,we'll isn't that what Democray is all about,...

    December 31, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  25. E.C.Coleman

    Blagojevich is as Burris stated: reprehensible........shameless!
    Of course, the man will do anything it takes to keep his governorship intact, but he should immediately resign or be impeached if he is found guilty of misdeeds.
    Blagojevich is pushing Obama's buttons just to see how far he can take his disgusting behavior and lack of integrity. The question still unanswered: How did Obama NOT become involved with Blagojevich in the circles of Illinois Corrupt Politics?

    December 31, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
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