Obama calls on Blago to resign
Nice to see a president who simply sees the right thing to do, unlike the soon to unemployed Mr. Bush, who protected his cronies with pardons and refusals to testify:
Obama: Gov. Blagojevich should resign
President-elect believes governor can't serve effectively, spokesman says
Mark Carlson / AP
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, center, leaves his home through a back alley Wednesday on his way to the governor's office.
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updated 16 minutes ago
CHICAGO - President-elect Barack Obama is calling for Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to resign, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said Wednesday.
Gibbs said Obama agrees with other prominent politicians that "under the current circumstances, it is difficult for the governor to effectively do his job and serve the people of Illinois."
Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday, accused of scheming to enrich himself by selling Obama's vacant Senate seat. The governor has authority to appoint the replacement. Blagojevich denies any wrongdoing.
In response to questions from The Associated Press, Gibbs said Obama believes the Illinois legislature should consider a special election to fill the seat. Gibbs said the hope is to put a process in place to select a new senator who will have the trust and confidence of the people of Illinois.
Blagojevich returned to work on Wednesday, having posted bond Tuesday. The governor left his home on Chicago's North Side and waved to the media before quickly getting into a dark SUV without talking to the reporters.
A short time later, Blagojevich's SUV arrived at his office.
"He is still the sitting governor of Illinois today, now, and that is not something we have any say in or control of," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in unveiling corruption charges on Tuesday against the 52-year-old governor.
The governor's attorney, Sheldon Sorosky, said Tuesday he didn't know of any immediate plans for the governor to resign. Blagojevich believes he didn't do anything wrong and asks Illinois residents to have faith in him, Sorosky said.
"I suppose we will have to go to trial," he said.
Who'll fill Obama's seat?
Blagojevich could conceivably still appoint someone to fill Obama's seat despite the charges that he tried to barter it away for cash or a plum job in what Fitzgerald called "a political corruption crime spree."
But pressure is growing for state lawmakers to call a special election.
"No appointment by this governor, under these circumstances, could produce a credible replacement," U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said Tuesday after the governor, a second-term Democrat, was arrested on charges of conspiring to commit fraud and soliciting bribery.
Obama was not accused of any wrongdoing.
"I had no contact with the governor or his office, and so we were not — I was not aware of what was happening," Obama said Tuesday. "And as I said, it's a sad day for Illinois. Beyond that, I don't think it's appropriate to comment."
Prosecutors stepped in and had the governor arrested because he was on "what can only be called a political corruption crime spree," Fitzgerald said.
Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, said he is prepared to call the Illinois House into session as early as Monday to set a special election to fill the seat. Illinois Senate President Emil Jones said he had something similar in mind.
In Washington, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., made it plain he didn't want to seat anyone under such a cloud, saying the charges "are appalling and represent as serious a breach of the public trust as I have ever heard."
Chief of staff also charged
Charged along with Blagojevich was his 46-year-old chief of staff, John Harris, who was accused of taking part in the schemes to enrich the governor.
The FBI said in court papers that Blagojevich was overheard conspiring to sell the Senate seat for campaign cash or lucrative jobs for himself or his wife, a real estate agent. He spoke of using the Senate appointment to land a job with a nonprofit foundation or a union-affiliated group, and even held out hope of getting named Obama's secretary of health and human services or an ambassador.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address