December 30th, 2008
03:11 PM ET
14 years ago

Blagojevich names Burris to fill Obama seat


Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced Tuesday that he will appoint Roland Burris to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. (Getty Images)

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich named former Illinois Atty. Gen. Roland Burris on Tuesday to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate, calling him a "wise and distinguished senior statesman" with "unquestioned integrity."

Watch: Blagojevich names Burris

FBI agents arrested Blagojevich on December 9 after federal prosecutors alleged, among other things, that he had tried to "sell" Obama's former Senate seat. Blagojevich denies any wrongdoing.

Burris does not have to be formally approved by the Senate to be appointed by Blagojevich. But the Senate could refuse to seat Burris or seat him and investigate the manner in which he was appointed, and unseat him if they discover any wrongdoing.

Watch: Burris accepts Senate nod

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, has threatened not to seat anyone the governor appoints, and has called for the Illinois Democrat to step down.

Updated 3:11 p.m.

Full story

Filed under: Illinois
soundoff (185 Responses)
  1. JT

    At least investigate to see if Burris had anything to do with the Blagojevich conspiracy before asking him to step down.

    December 30, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  2. DCSilb

    If I was in Burris's place, I would turn down the nomination, but make my intetions for interest in the seat known.

    December 30, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  3. Molly

    This is going to be a big test for the Dems. I think its strange that anyone would allow themselves to be put in this situation. Meaning why is this "elder Statesmen" standing next to the slez bag accepting an appointment everyone thinks he bought.

    December 30, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  4. evon

    Has anyone noticed that the man who spoke after Burris (what was his name?) not only gave a racist feeling, but also totally upended the thing that young children have been taught- skin color doesn't matter? Now he's talking about how they need more African Americans- I thought Skin Color doesn't matter?

    December 30, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  5. IKE in Atlanta

    What is this man trying to do? To pitch the African americans against each other? WE DO NOT CARE: ANYONE HE APPOINTS IS TAINTAED NO MATTER WHO.

    December 30, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  6. Brian in SC

    Separate the appointer from the appointee. Rep. Bobby Rush made a very valid point highlighting the state of the senate and the importance of the nomination. We need a more complete reflection of our union.

    Please let Blagojevich deal with his own past actions. Don't hang his mess and drama on Burris- who has no known involvment in corrupt policies in his nearly 4 decades of service in law.

    Of course we are all entitled to our opinions. Bottom line, I pray for a more effective and productive union. May truth and justice prevail in this whole matter.

    December 30, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  7. Matt

    @ Missy

    The only reason Congress has been stagnant for the past 2 years is because the Republicans have filibustered like it's going out of style and Bush has set records for the number of vetoes he signed. Get it straight, because if the Republicans think they can continue to stagnate Congress and then point a finger at the Dems saying "look, they did nothing," they might want think again after perusing the vote tallies on November 4, 2008.

    December 30, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. Sweet Pea


    December 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  9. Jim D

    If Blagojevich had an integrity at all, or had any respect for this man, he wouldn't have appointed him in the first place, knowing that regardless of who he picks under these circumstances, that person would be rejected.

    It's perfectly clear Ram-Rod is delusional.

    December 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. kathleen san juan

    Most of the people who are commenting are not informed.
    Harry Reid has no consttutional case, and his days as speaker are numbered.
    Atty Gen Burris sounds like a good pick.

    December 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. evon

    Ok, I'm not the only one who noticed that Blago and Burris looked like 5th graders trying to answer questions at a high school mock trial event, right? Umm shows uncertainty- which is something you don't want to be relaying in front of critics and the press.

    December 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. Jenea Bradley

    After seeing that horrible excuse for a new conference and that pittful plea from Bobby Rush: For the first time in my life I am ashamed to be a black person from Illinois.

    December 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. Illinois politics.....Obama's home town...GREAT!!

    Well, now the entire country gets to see how a politician from Chicago really operates.

    I'm popping popcorn.......the next four years should be fun to watch!!!!!

    Obama: NOT a messiah........only a 1st Term Senator with no experience...........thank you idiots for voting this guy into office

    December 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. Blackknight

    As a black man, let me say that this appointment makes me sick. I am not sickened by the person appointed but how the appointment was made and how it is being sold. Barack Obama, during his run for president made it clear that he didn't want to be thought of as the best black man for the job but the best man for the job. Burris' color should have nothing to do with his qualifications for the job. The fact that the last man that held the job was black should have nothing to do with who is appointed to the job. Rush's use of words like hang and lynch sets black people back decades. We as african americans can't make statements like those made by Rush. To say that other politicians and the media shouldn't hang or lynch the appointee because of the Governor's troubles is screwed up. Why would he use language like that. I am ashamed. I think the old school politicians, the ones that have been around for 20 years or more, should all be retired regardless of color. That type of politics does not work anymore. I think a special election should be held in Illinois to determine the next Senator for the state.

    December 30, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  15. WOW

    this is unbelievable, completely speechless

    December 30, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  16. Steve

    Jeez, I wonder what the final price tag on the Senate seat ended up being? Jesse Jackson Jr. was the low-bidder at $1million it appears.

    December 30, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  17. Sheila Perry

    The governor of Illinois have not been proven guilty of any crime. So the news media,have help spread a lie, that had not been proven. The
    whole world have put the comments in on what they think, about about
    a situation that have no facts. Let's hear the facts first , before we start
    downing someone. The media have lost all levels of intergity, and truth
    the thsy say they stand on. People need to get a life!

    December 30, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  18. Joseph

    I think he has the sole right to make the appointment. So he did. Moreover, he has not been convicted. He may deserve the benefit of doubt

    December 30, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  19. email4kh

    Anybody who would accept such an appointment is obviously too stupid to serve.

    December 30, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  20. Jenny

    My goodness. I believe a deal has been cut behind our backs again folks. Blagojevich obviously feels Obama will support him against the FBI and the Senate by appointing an african american man who must have been on the Obama wish list for this position all along. Only time will tell!

    December 30, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  21. Jim D

    Missy – you are clearly delusional. Wake up and get a clue.

    Pelosi and company may have "done nothing" the last two years in your opinion, but that has certainly been a welcome relief from the kinds of "doing stuff" you Republicans did the 6 years prior to that, with Katrina, Iraq, Afghanistan, Abu Gharab, Guantanemo, illegally spying on American citizens, TORTURE, and now the final feather in the cap – a complete economic meltdown under Republican rule.

    After that train wreck of incompetence and ineptitude, supported by narrow minded, biased morons like you, it's a welcome relief to have someone not completely screw something up for a change.

    December 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  22. diane ca

    there is a definite brain disfunction with blago. he just doesn't seem to get it. when does all of this stop?

    December 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  23. Bert

    One can understand Blagojevich's strategy. But Mr Burris is proving that he may be moving past his level of political competence by accepting this appointment. He obviously does not have the judgement required to override his ambition. He should graciously decline, realizing that the murky context of the appointment does not serve or represent the best interests of his constituents.

    December 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  24. rich

    After watching that press confrence, my initial reaction is that the appointee is not a bad choice at all regardless of the apointers legal troubles. Indeed, I think he is an excellent choice under the circumstances. I think the DEMs should reconsider not seating him provided there was no hanky panky to get the seat which I doubt this appointee would have involved himself with. He appears clean. The onus is on them.

    Bottome line, IL needs two senators ready on Day 1 in the next congress as does Barack. The seat will be up for reelection in a few years after which the people of IL could decide who should continue to serve as their senator. IMO, this is a done deal; there are more important fish to fry.

    Anyway, while I think the governor is probably a crook, he has not been convicted of such to date, so I have to put my prejudements aside until he has his day in court. I think he has put a good one over on the Feds and the DEMs. The other congressman said it best: What senator (all of whom are white) will want to go on record to deny seating the only African-American senator even under these circumstances. It's a tough one that is made easier by the record of the appointee.

    December 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  25. Skip, a black man


    December 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
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