December 30th, 2008
03:11 PM ET
13 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. mike r

    Blogo appointed Burris whom everyone agrees is qualified.
    after he got caught trying to "sell" the senate seat...what else can he do?
    he has appointed man that, if he's not approved, will make the other Illinois politicians look bad. it's a stroke of genius.

    December 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  2. Dawson

    I'm an African American and congressman (RUSH) sounded like a foul to me. As we try to move pat racial divides he atemps to bring us right back. I pray that people understand that not all Afican American agree wih he race card thing they are pulling.

    December 30, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. Casey-New Hampshire

    This is the key to impeachment. The legislature is looking for reasons to impeach somebody who hasn't been convicted of anything. With the Senate refusing to seat any appointment by the governor and the Illinois secretary of state refusing to certify any appointment by the governor, the state legislature can say that their reason for impeachment is that the Governor can not perform his job effectively....conviction or not!

    December 30, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. Felonious Monk

    Hey Illinois Politics-The next 4 years could not possibly ever be as bad for America, and the world, as the last 8 years. We'll have to wait a while to rush to judgement. Our current president certainly has made a mess of things and appears to be just waiting out the clock. How un-inspiring!

    December 30, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  5. Ash

    I think it is sick that he was still able to appoint someone to the seat. What does that say about our government? Pathetic! It is scary that corruption can be outed and yet still be overlooked, allowing those behind it to still function and have influence. Makes you wonder what goes on behind the scenes that we never find out about.

    December 30, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. WOW

    Oh yeah illinois politics dont you mean 8 years of politics for Barack obama. Let me get some of that popcorn, I was one of the millions of idiots that voted Obama in. SEE YOU IN 2009!!!!!!! LOLOLOLOLOL!!!!

    OBAMA 08!!!!!!!!

    December 30, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. ken

    This is totally wrong and needs to be looked into. I believe that the Senate should refuse to seat Burris. It was wrong of Burris to even accept the nomination as well.

    What is the Governor even thinking or should I say not thinking.

    December 30, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  8. Mike in Oahu

    What doesn't Blagojevich understand when he is told that his appointee will not be honored?

    As a matter of principal the senate cannot accept his appointee, and anyone he appoints will be cast under a cloud of suspicion.

    Anything Blagojevich does at this point will be construed as tainted. Conventional wisdom dictates that he may place individuals who will try to politically shield him from prosecution. This is bad for the peoples government all around.

    December 30, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. Independent

    I feel good to be Independent after being a long-time Democrat. This mess needs not be blamed on both sides. Please help to remove this corrupted cheap thug Blago as soon as possible by write or call all lawmakers in Congress!

    December 30, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  10. Brenda

    Does anyone else smell "decoy"? Looks like there's a growing number of leaders who are willing to do anything and say anything (even outright reverse-racism like Bobby Rush just did) as long as it distracts from the real issue--–the golden boy Barack Hussein Obama! America fell at his feet, and so are our leaders, one by one, like Dominos. It's an abominable game, people.

    December 30, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  11. Richard Rohde

    I knew it, I just knew it Matt found a way to blame it on Bush. Unbelievable.

    December 30, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  12. Retired Army in San Antonio

    Anyone who knows ANYTHING about Roland Burris, knows that his charactor is impeccable!

    They will tell you that Blago made a 'safe' choice in appointing Burris.

    And they would be right!

    Those posting otherwise on this page are simply looking for any reason to cry foul.

    If you don't know the man, then you should shut the heck up.....because you just don't know!

    December 30, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  13. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Blago needs to be dealt with swiftly and if he is allowed to continue conducting business while under investigation there is something wrong with our judicial system. Blago is without doubt above and beyond the law and needs to be stopped now.

    December 30, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  14. evon

    Did you see that post from twitter or what ever? the one about how Burris's seat was just something on his resume, not a way for people from Illinois to get a voice in Congress- and they were right! How can he just sit there, smiling, while the man who picked him is charged with selling his seat? And doesn't the FBI have a right to any and ALL evidence? Shouldn't that have been done first? And don't be ashamed of being an African American in Illinois! I was ashamed of being white when Bush made those mistakes, but he doesn't have anything on me! I'm not him, and I'm not a blumbering imbecile!

    December 30, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  15. gman

    I'm not a fan of Blago...but the man has not broken any law by merely "TALKING ABOUT" wanting payback for BO's senate seat. People keep forgetting, he is well within his legal right to appoint someone to the seat. People need to actually read what the law says before they comment base on emotions. Sure, Blago may need to go...but until he leaves...he can do whatever the law allows.

    December 30, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  16. deb in Colo

    @ Missy

    The head of the Senate is Harry Reid.
    The head of the House of Representatives is Nancy Pelosi.

    PE Obama was a Harry Reid.

    Get a clue!!!

    December 30, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  17. Richard Rohde

    They ask Bobby Rush for comments? The man can barely mumble two cogent words. He is the heart of the Chicago machine, he is so bad that he actually beat Obama on Obama's first try. Rush should be in the same cell as Blago.

    December 30, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  18. evon

    About the being ashamed thing... I was talking to the Jenea Bradley person... no offense

    December 30, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  19. Innocent Chia

    Because of all the allegations, I was fervently in support of all and any attempts to strip the Governor of any powers to appoint the new Senator. Failing to stop Rod, one must look at it from another angle... We are like the parents that oppose our children from having any kids out of wedlock, but the teenage daughter conceives a grandchild. What do we do with the grandkid? Love them or cast them out. The country, including Senate leader Reid and Illinois Secretary of State must be biting their fingers for speaking too fast on this matter.

    December 30, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  20. john

    i wouldent accept anyone he chooses either

    December 30, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  21. Dawson



    I AM HURT!!!!!!

    December 30, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  22. Laverne

    With all due respect, in this country you are presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty. Not that I think this guy is innocent by any stretch of the imagination, but the law states Blago can appoint the senate seat so he did, so maybe the laws should be looked at. As for Burris, this man does have a distinguished career regardless of the troubles Blago have bought for himself.

    December 30, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  23. Retired Army in San Antonio

    Bert -– December 30th, 2008 3:34 pm ET

    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.


    This is a prime example of a person not knowing what he's talking about!

    This man is a former State Comptroller and former Attorney General; both of which are statewide elected officials. He's the first African American in Illinois history to be elected to a statewide seat.

    He runs a successful Political Consultantcy company.

    HOW IN THE WORLD -– do you figure that he's not qualified?!?!?

    December 30, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  24. evon

    Has anyone else noticed that Barack will practically HAVE to have a second term? It takes practically 3 years to really get settled with congeress, and all these fixes will take a while.. I'm getting really off topic...

    December 30, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  25. Mike Dallas

    Folks, this is not a banana republic. In America you cannot prevent something from happening that is lawful just because one of the parties is an accused crook and heard to be suggesting illegal acts on a tape..

    Since Blago has not been convicted or impeached it is totally within his power to make the appointment and totally legal.

    You cannot change that just because we think Blago is a slimeball.

    December 30, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
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