December 31st, 2008
12:32 PM ET
5 years ago

Rush says Senate Dems risk following in Bull Connor's footsteps

Rush spoke at Blagojevich’s press conference revealing the Burris pick.
Rush spoke at Blagojevich’s press conference revealing the Burris pick.

(CNN) - A day after warning critics of Roland Burris’s Senate appointment not to “hang or lynch” the former Illinois attorney general, Chicago congressman Bobby Rush said Democrats opposing Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s move to fill the open seat risk finding themselves “in the same position” as segregation-era figures Bull Connor and George Wallace.

"You know, the recent history of our nation has shown us that sometimes there could be individuals and there could be situations where schoolchildren - where you have officials standing in the doorway of schoolchildren," Rush told CBS Wednesday morning. "You know, I'm talking about all of us back in 1957 in Little Rock, Ark. I'm talking about George Wallace, Bull Connor and I'm sure that the U.S. Senate don't want to see themselves placed in the same position."

Rush told CNN Tuesday that the lack of African-Americans in the Senate was "a moral outrage" that "should make most fair-minded Americans very, very angry."

Watch: This is a good decision,' says Rush

Congressional Democratic leadership said Tuesday they will oppose seating any candidate appointed by the scandal-scarred Illinois governor to fill the remainder of President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate term.

It is unclear whether the Senate – which can refuse to seat any incoming lawmaker that they believe was not properly elected or appointed – has the legal standing to block the selection of a sitting governor.

Rush said Wednesday that Blagojevich’s opponents “need to take a chill pill."

"We're still a nation of laws and I believe that Roland Burris and Gov. Blagojevich, they're on solid constitutional grounds” in his selection, he said. “I think the U.S. Senate will have to accept him."

It was the second day of racially-charged comments from Rush backing the embattled governor’s decision to appoint Burris, a former Illinois attorney general. If he were seated, Burris would be the only African-American senator to serve in the next Congress.

"I would ask you to not hang or lynch the appointee as you try to castigate the appointer," Rush said at the Tuesday press conference where Blagojevich announced the selection of Burris.

President-elect Obama has said he opposes the seating of any candidate selected by Blagojevich to fill his Senate seat.


Filed under: Illinois
soundoff (281 Responses)
  1. Brad in IL

    This is ridiculous!

    Wonder what Rush is getting from Blago to make such ludicrous comments.

    I'm ashamed of my state.

    December 31, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  2. Lee

    The only rcist here is Bobby Rush, the former Black Panther, he of all people should shut his big mouth

    December 31, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  3. Dave, Illinois

    The Dems tactic of race-baiting is coming home to roost.

    December 31, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  4. Al

    This is one of the most eye opening arguments I have read in a long time. It now have a strong opinion that race issues and racial tension is being perpetuated by out of touch and intellectually challenged African Americans. What a disgrace Bobby Rush is for claiming that the ENTIRE Democratic Senate can be placed in the same category as truly racist elected officials like George Wallace.

    This is a schoolyard taunt with no backing behind it.

    Bobby Rush is a fool.

    December 31, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  5. Ya_Ya

    Rush and Burris are being used and they're both too stupid to realize it. They're complicit in the Blogo fiasco, and if Burris thinks that he's going to follow in Obama's footsteps, well, he's had too much holiday eggnog. I am black woman, but I'm tired, no, sick and tired, of the old guard defining EVERYTHING by race. This is the 21st century and the country COLLECTIVELY took a giant leap forward. We rejected the Palins, and the Rushes (Bobby and Limbaugh) hopefully are next.

    December 31, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  6. CHANGE.COM

    CNN: why don't you print my comments? Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Bobby Rush: you are a sorry person to throw the race card in the midst of this drama. You couldn't even enunciate African American properly at that ill-fated press conference with your stooge, Gov. Blago. Now you are really off the top with your historical reference. You should be ashamed of yourself. America just elected an African American for President, and you come out to dare the senate to refuse to sit an African American in the US senate? I am black, too, and am deeply offended with your comments and thinking. No wonder, before Obama, no one of your angry generation could go this far. You are a pitiful angry idiot of a human being. You really need to take some prozac and chill, man. better yet, don't show your face again. And please, take Burris with you, okay. He is as stupid and dumb as you are.

    December 31, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  7. Gary in Oklahoma

    Maybe New york could appoint a black person to the Senate.

    Gary in Oklahoma

    December 31, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  8. rob

    Comments like Rush's are old school Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. I voted for Obama, but when this idiot Rush makes such comments, it does polarize some anti black voters. He hurts his own race.

    December 31, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. Al

    Well nice one Mr. Rush. – Are we trying to be the next Al Sharpton?

    The GOP will be sending you a Thank You gift basket for taking the attention away from their "Obama the magic negro" CD they released just in time for CHRISTMAS. How very Christian of them...and you, for giving them this gift.

    December 31, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. Kaye -Jacksonville FL

    And this man sits as a Representative of Illinois voters? Yikes – it would be hysterically funny if it weren't so pathetic. The move to block this appointment has NOTHING to do with race – NOTHING. If a white person had been appointed, the reaction would be the same. It's all about the plight of Blago and his total lack of credibility. Burris, with the support of an idiot like Bobby Rush, is quickly looking like an opportunistic egomaniac that wants his time in the limelight, regardless of how he gets it. I can't quit shaking my head over the entirety of this incredibly absurd set of circumstances and the stupidity of everyone involved...

    December 31, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  11. CHANGE.COM

    CNN: why don't you print my comments?

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Only a crook will accept an appointment from a crook. And, only a crook will come out and defend another crook. While play the race card, Bobby? You are a despicable human being for making those racial comments. As an African American, I've always wondered why many of your angry generation always have to play that race card. Why can't we be Americans first? I hope and pray that someone challenges you for your house seat so you can permanently go and sit down and chill on your race bated, hate-filled pills.

    December 31, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  12. TonyR

    The Senate Democrats made clear that they would not accept ANYONE chosen by Blagojevich, be that person black or white, man or woman, experienced or unexperienced, etc. The only outrage here is that Rep. Rush is allowing himself to be played by Blagojevich so Rush and the Governor can get their way by using the race card.

    December 31, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    This is crazy. As an African -American I can say with full certainty that there is no way not seating Burris can be considered racist. If anything what's racist is to use Burris to allow Blagojevich to make an appointment everyone knows is tainted. Burris should not allow himself to be used in this fashion and NOBODY, black, white, or otherwise, should be appointed by this Governor. Also, while there is no African American in the Senate, America has elected a black president and there are two other senate vacancies to be filled as well, one of which, New York, will be filled by a black Governor.

    December 31, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. Steve

    You know whats a moral outrage, that this Congressman is given a podium to spew such nonsense.

    December 31, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. Bridgette-PA

    "Congressional Democratic leadership said Tuesday they will oppose seating any candidate appointed by the scandal-scarred Illinois governor to fill the remainder of President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate term".

    If the governor was legally able to appoint this man, he should stay. If he wasn't, then how could he appoint him? I am so sick of this crap. You and I cannot appoint anyone for an elected seat (except our kids to kitchen, trash and bedroom duties). No-one will listen to us and call us crazy. This has nothing to do with race (I am an African-American)! Again, was/is Blagojevich "LEGALLY" allowed to do this? It is a simple YES OR NO ANSWER! Now, it seems that the mess has gotten messier!

    December 31, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  16. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Prediction: After the backlash, Rush will claim his comments were taken out of context and he was sorry if he offended anyone.

    December 31, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  17. Tim in NC

    I'm sorry WHO'S the racsist!

    This isn't about the man's race, its about who appointed him. This about Blago being warned not to do this and now that the Senate is ACTUALLY doing what they said they would do all along, this guy crys "Racism". This is a political play by Blago to cause as much damage on his way out as possible.

    There is only one person in that room that we can be certain is a racist... and he's in the gray suit.

    December 31, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  18. Brenda C

    I guess we all know what this means now. It will have to be a black man who replaces obama no matter who it is. Race, race, race, race it's getting old to keep hearing about it. Why not let the people vote and get it over with? Only black need apply.

    December 31, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  19. C.T.

    What in the heck does this have to do with racism Mr. Rush. The Senate said they would not sit anyone appointed by Blago. Can't you read???? I personally was somewhat offended that Mr. Burris would take the nomination from this character.By the way these stupid accusations of racism lent on this manner went out long ago. Don't embarrase the civil rights movement with this crap.

    December 31, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  20. p1tey1

    As an African American, I have to say that I am OUTRAGED that Blago, Bobby Rush and Rolland Burris would try to make this a racial issue. They are trying that old school manipulation bull-- !

    The idea that these motherf--'s would try to play the race card after November 4th should outrage EVERYBODY!!! They are trying to take this country backwards, when we are trying to move FORWARD!!!!!

    December 31, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  21. proud army and navy mom

    Rush is an old school idiot. Burris and Rush are allowing themselves to be used by their felon governor. They are hoping that African-Americans jump to their defense. I hope it doesn't happen.

    PE Obama has brought with him a new generation of voters, the old school, pay to play politics are of the past and that is that's were it needs to stay. The Senate Democrats need to hold their ground.

    December 31, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  22. DJ Colbert

    At this point I'm convinced that Roland Burris is as big an idiot as Blagojevich. Blagojevich is playing a game with the Senate, the media, and Barack Obama and Burris and Harris fell right into his pocket. This is ridiculous.

    As an African-American I will say this play of the race card is outright absurdity at its best. Burris' nominiation shouldn't be accepted and if he had the integrity that he claims to have he should never have accepted under the current situation. Senate Dems shouldn't seat anyone, white, black, or otherwise until Blagojevich is out. This has nothing to do with race and to play the race card is disgraceful. Now, because he's allowed himself to be dragged through this, his [Burris] nomination, no matter how reputable it could have been would never be fully accepted.

    December 31, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  23. John G

    For the love of all that is good and holy. This is NOT about race!

    He was appointed by a governor who was trying to SELL the seat!

    And for the record there WAS a black man in the Senate but he got elected President...which in my mind means there is no moral outrage....

    December 31, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  24. Don

    Bobby Rush!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you are an idiot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stop the racism crap!!!!!! I can not believe that every time a black person is in line for anything the first thing that comes out is racism. It people like you that should keep their mouths shut instead of stirring the pot. Give it a rest man!!!!!!

    December 31, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  25. Truth

    stupid is as stupid does.....pretty much sums up bobby

    December 31, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
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