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. Paul

    No matter whether or not Burris would be a good choice, he is now tainted by being the choice of a slimy governor, who is clearly corrupt and needs removing from office as quickly as possible. Someone else needs to make the decision.

    December 30, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  2. keith

    Burris has given more than $20,000 to Blagojevich's campaign fund on his own and through his consulting and law firms, state campaign finance records show. Burris' consulting company received about $290,000 in state contracts with the Illinois Department of Transportation a few years ago, according to state comptroller records.

    December 30, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. John in Ohio

    Arne: I don't know how much Blago is paying you to be a flak for him, but the Constitution specifically allows the Congress to only accept legitimate Senators. There was a ticker article about it earlier, not sure where it went.

    December 30, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. Texas Teacher

    Trust me, the farther you get down the scale to local politics... the closer you get to corruption. Small town politics is about as corrupt as you can get! And I am speaking from experience. I was born and raised in small town... and spent my adulthood in a small town. Now I live in a small town and work in one of the largest cities in Texas. I could tell you how corrupt they are in the state of Texas from bottom up... but I won't bore you with what you probably already know.

    One example... it is common knowledge that Bush's daddy pushed him through college... "he wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth... he was born on a silver chair... with wheels." 🙂

    December 30, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. Proud Military Wife

    To Matt: Check the Congressional Record:

    While you can complain about President Bush setting records, please tell the entire truth. According to Senate Records, President Bush set records for the fewest Presidential vetos of any modern president in the 200-year history. From the US Senate source, since January 2001 to December 2008, he has had a total of ten vetos with two overrides by the House with a success rate of 80%.

    While his four predecessors had both higher and lower sucess rates, all had much higher vetos ranging from 31 to 78. From this information, it seems that President Bush has wanted to work with the Democratic Majority in Congress along with Their Royal Highnesses Prince Reid and Princess Pelosi. However, both seem to have their own interests at stake, especially if there is a camera or the media involved.

    December 30, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. GuyInVA

    I was concerned for a minute, but since they trotted out Bobby Rush, what could possibly go wrong? Most obvious play of the dreaded race card you'll ever see. Let's see if Harry Reid stands up to this guy now that the possibility of a racism charge is staring him in the face. Louis C. Wyman from New Hampshire wasn't seated by the senate in the 1970's because of some recount debacle. A later special election was held. The ball is in Senator Reid's court.

    December 30, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. Proud American

    Richard Rohde honey it's time for you to go back down to the basement, put on your helmet, take your pill and take a nap. You have had to much excitement for one day. Dear God the last time you had this much excitement you thought you were President of the United States. Lay down honey and get some rest, please don't bump your head again.

    December 30, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  8. case

    As a AA male, and this ploy by Blago to hide behind Black Pols for political makes me sick. Bobby Rush cross over into absurdity speaking of the Senate seat as if reserved for the black pol of Blagos choosing with no thought of electablility in two years. You would think this was a cabinet position. This was truly sad.

    I pray the media does not (as usual) attempt to speak for AA and imply that we support this act. No one outside of Ill has ever heard of Burris before today.

    Truly sad.

    December 30, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  9. raul

    Typical chicago politics !!!

    December 30, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  10. Mike, Syracuse NY

    I wonder how much Burris paid.

    December 30, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. John in Ohio

    So the Republican idiots here are trying to say that Fitzgerald was helping Obama by busting this thing open when he did?

    Are you guys all shortbus students?

    December 30, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  12. M Paul

    Ask Bush and Cheney the same question! They have named their friends even when we know that they have no moral autority after lying to american people. We are still calling the guy "Governor" and we are still calling Bush and Cheney, "President and vice-president".
    Burris is more qualified than we are dealing with in Senate and Congress. Bush after 8 years, doesn't get it!

    December 30, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. Jenny

    To Retired Army in San Antonio: About Burris, you said, "He runs a successful Political Consultantcy company."

    I'll say he does. Anyone who manages to get Blago to appoint him to the post after the FEDS came calling and the Senate threatened to not accept the appointment must be as talented at "negotiations" as Blago.

    I still think that neither Blago or Burris would dare attempt this publicity stunt if they didn't know something all of us don't. Wait and see. I'll bet Obama supports the appointment and both men continue to "operate".

    December 30, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. Mark Silvers

    If Burris was sooooooo politically savy and mature why would he accept a tainted appointment from Blagojevich? Something isn't Kosher in the state of Illinois.
    Time to throw all the incumbents out of office and start fresh with new blood.

    December 30, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  15. John from SC

    Blago just killed Burris' political future!

    Thank you Blago for, how did you put it in the other article, "visiting your political troubles on" a " 'wise and distinguished senior statesman' " with " 'unquestioned integrity'."

    December 30, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. tc

    Didn't a great man once say that we should judge a man "not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character."

    If this lesson were taken, then why is the color of Mr. Burris' skin any issue at all? Mr. Rush has basically called anyone a racist who would oppose Mr. Burris "appointment." This is a prime example of affirmative action foolishness. Mr. Burris is getting used, Mr. Rush is pulling the strings, and Blagojevich is throwing this guy under the bus to further his 15min of fame. And Mr. Obama, well, he's on vacation, enjoying the trappings of being the PEOTUS, but avoiding the job altogether. By the way, he is monitoring (aka voting "present") the situation in Gaza, and probably "monitoring" this Illinois situation as well. What a dear leader.

    December 30, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. Griff

    If it's about the Middle East... I believe nothing a BBC reporter says... For a Century and more... The Brit's... And the Only Radio communications.... BBC.... Forget ITV ar any other.... BBC control Broadcasting in Britain... If you don't buy a Licance of some Kind....
    BBC Licence, your lucky if you any news at all... Unless your Computer Trained...

    December 30, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  18. tc

    Texas Teacher December 30th, 2008 4:41 pm ET

    Judge Barack Obama on his preformance as the next President of these United States…

    I am glad we homeschool....


    please also look up, character, integrity and honesty....

    December 30, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  19. California Gold

    Since when does integrity make any difference to Governor Blagojevich? Like Blagojevich is an authority on integrity, moral fiber, and character. This clown is definitely cringeworthy.

    December 30, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  20. Arne

    Isn't Senator Reid violating the Constitution of the United States in his statement to refuse to seat the New State Senator from Illinois because he was appointed by the Governor of the State of Illinois who "happens" to be accused of wrongdoing, but hasn't even gone to trial. He is being treated as if Guilty before trial and our Constitution states "Innocent until Proven Guilty" Wow ! are we as a Nation going crazy.

    December 30, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. Franky

    I'm telling you, our Gov does not give a crap about you or the people outside this state...


    Hey Missy, what's twisting your tit?? And in case you don't know, you win House races and Senate races when the American people select you...

    Note: Is pretty funny people are still twitching...

    December 30, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  22. Proud American

    "Proud Military Wife" Wow what can I say honey. You know the federal Gov't will give you a check fonce a month or being this stupid? Yes it's call SSI or Stupid checks. Honey you would qualify, please check with your local social security office. Dear God your stupid.

    December 30, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  23. Jenny

    Mark: why indeed. This smacks of both of these men knowing that they will get away with this appointment; otherwise, why would such a so-called distinguished and "honest" public servant like Burris even bother, right?

    December 30, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  24. Ann

    Bravo Blagojevich.
    A perfect politically correct move. Barry et co. wanted you as a scapegoat and you tricked them. What are they going to do now?

    December 30, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  25. Richard Rohde

    Proud American, another put down, just no disagreement allowed? Looks like I am right. You notice, I don't have to resort to name calling or put down's to make a point.

    December 30, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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