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. Cheryl in Chicago

    Burris's various business have contributed over $20,000 to Blago' s campaign over the years. Burris has been out of political manistream in Illinois for over 10 years. 2 old, 2 late, 2 bad.

    December 30, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. Rob, Staten Island, NY

    What Edward said is right. It's just a legal gives Rod something to say to a potential jury..."but look who I DID appoint! Look how honest he is!"

    December 30, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |

    ????? Although, Jessie Junior was clearly a better choice I guess he chose this gentlemen, to show he his not a racist, anyone who gave him anything in the past was not going to be chosen anyway and to get the limelight off of himself..........ALTHOUGH, JESSIE JUNIOR WAS A BETTER PICK........

    December 30, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. susie

    What's all the fuss about? Caroline Kennedy was promise a senate seat by Obama for her support. Why is everyone getting mad at the Illinois Gov. for playing the same games as other politicians?

    December 30, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. Rev. Winston Jones (Afro-Caribbean)

    I watched with a sense of deep regret as Roland Burris tainted a stellar career by accepting this appointment. It hurts to see someone so eager to get into the Senate that he would stand with Rod Blagojevich now. What was even worse was to hear Rep. Rush mention race. Is he saying Mr. Burris should be accepted into the Democratic Caucus as Blago's appointee because Burris is Black? As a Black man, I have never been so insulted. Rep. Rush has insinuated that the black leaders who have made it to the heights they have attained – Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, even Barack Obama – got there not on the basis of their ability and the years of preparation and hard work they put in, but by virtue of some special favor because of the color of their skin. Its sad to see black people find it so convenient to resort to our race to get included and yet frown on other races who use it to exclude us. We can't have our cake and eat it too. Either our advancement will be linked to the color of our skin or on the basis of our ability, not on any combination of the two. For me, the color of my skin must have no bearing on my advancement, only and I emphasise ONLY the level of my competency and my ability.

    December 30, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. Retired Army in San Antonio

    JT December 30th, 2008 3:22 pm ET

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

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ people are pulling out the hangin' ropes without having all the pertinent information!

    Burris is way too smart to have been caught up in Blago's 'conspiracy'......and THEN going ahead and accepting the appointment!

    December 30, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. Mwalimu Daudi

    It's fun watching Democrats play the race card against one another rather than Republicans and independents.

    December 30, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. Jan Illinois

    The show must go on!! Hey Rod, put aside the business of guilty or innocent for a minute. We are broke here in Illinois, what have you done for us lately? You just appointed Burris to the senate seat, you did exactly what YOU wanted to do. I ask again what are you going to do about our deficits, our schools , our roads,bridges, no jobs, for heavens sake man get over yourself people are hurting.

    December 30, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  9. Steven

    Is being an African-American a qualification for an appointment? Thats so ridiculous. People are elected into the Senate, they're consituents will decide based on what they see as fit, his/her race should be a non-issue. Oh, I'm black by the way, and pretty peed off right now.

    December 30, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  10. evon

    Brenda: Are you saying that everyone is merely rushing to take the attention away from Obama? That he won to easily? He didn't, and I don't understand quite what you're talking about.... Golden boy? do you want him to be caught with a sheep?

    December 30, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  11. BadgerGuy

    If you look up "chutzpah" in The Joys of Yiddush, you'll see Blago's picture. The guy is incredible.

    December 30, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  12. evon

    Mike Dallas- America think Blago is a slimey ball of snot. Isn't our government based on what the people think? A government for the people, by the people?

    December 30, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  13. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    And Blago goes "all in"...........will the Senate call the hand?

    December 30, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  14. evon

    mike Dallas- The US think Blago is a slimeball- isn't our gov. based on what the U.S. people think? for the people, by the people? Apparently that isn't relevant here... And with all the bugs on Blago, wouldn't they have found a reason to impeach him?

    December 30, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  15. EW

    Matt December 30th, 2008 3:28 pm ET
    ...and Bush has set records for the number of vetoes he signed.

    There is only ONE President that vetoed fewer bills than President Bush. That was President James Garfield. The truth is that the Democrats in Congress over the last two years didn't WANT to do anything. Maybe Republicans have abused the fillibuster lately but I would hazard to guess it is because Democrats refuse to compromise and refuse to accept that any idea except their own could be valid.

    December 30, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  16. Steve

    This move is actually a stroke of genius and a game of hardball by Blagojevich. If the Dems block this appointment, they are effectively blocking the seating of the only African-American headed to the Senate. They will be serious questions by the AA community if that happens! This is a game of double dog dare! This is gonna be interesting!

    December 30, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  17. evon

    sorry... that second one was a mistake.... oopsy...

    December 30, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  18. Shana, Chicago

    This is ridiculous! I love Chicago which is why I moved to the city 1.5 years ago, but if this is what I have to look forward to then I may have to find another city/state in which to live. Why is this guy still governor, and why does he still have authority to appoint someone. Can we please have a special election?!?!?!

    December 30, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  19. Perusing-Through


    . . . oh . . . . . . its on now!!!!

    December 30, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  20. (Former) Lifelong Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    This Burris pick is utterly ridiculous! Why is it so hard to hold our politicians accountable to the citizens? I am so sick of Blagojevich. The people of IL should be ashamed of him and themselves for putting him in office.

    December 30, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  21. Mary

    If this man were a white man, what would the answer be?

    December 30, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  22. Toby in Illinois

    Burris would be a good choice. Pity he won't be allowed to serve. Talk about a kiss of death!

    December 30, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  23. Rudy

    Politics as usual! Are we not tired of all the crap that goes on in the political circle? It amazes me how 99% of the time law does not effect those elected to protect the laws or at least adhere to our laws! Wonder what would have happened if they were Mexican Americans in those positions or if they were just some poor everyday folks, straight to jail, no bail and no job! Just putting a spin on the topic since a white guy is replacing the Senate seat with a black guy maybe Obama did talk to him about it! Just seems mighty funny too me good way to fall back in the graces of the next Pres

    December 30, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  24. Perusing-Through


    . . . What could former U.S. Attorney General Roland Burris be thinking to allow himself to be used as a pawn by Blagojevich, and then abused by Illinois State Legislature and the U.S. Senate who wants nothing to do with Blago's pick?

    December 30, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  25. blagobama

    What's the surprise? Like any Democrat he feels above the law and has not done anything wrong trying to sell the seat. Fitzgerald should have let the investigation play out and see what was really going on. Who was he trying to protect? Sounds like busines as usual in Chicago to me.

    December 30, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
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