Archive for the ‘Governor’ Category

NY Gov. Paterson Hammered By Media Over Kennedy Fiasco

January 28, 2009

People, and that means voters, can tell when they got a bad deal….

Ask Rod Blagojevich or the people of Illinois….

 Governors Gone Wild: Paterson Cancels Swiss Ski Trip, Blago On TV, Arnold Stands Tall

 Should Illinois and New York Voters Be Pleased With Their Governor’s Appointments to the U.S. Senate?

New York Gov. David Paterson, seen here in 2008, has chosen ... 
New York Gov. David Paterson, seen here in 2008, picked Kirsten Gillibrand, a relative unknown on the political scene, to fill the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Chris Hondros)


(CBS) Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Criticism of Gov. David Paterson’s handling of the Caroline Kennedy fiasco continued unabated Tuesday.

“I’m going to address this issue for the last time,” Paterson said.

Slim chance. With the New York Post comparing his ability to tell the truth to Pinocchio, Paterson was on the hot seat again Tuesday over his administration’s handling of Kennedy.

“I had nothing to do with any of the negative characterizations of any of the candidates, particularly Caroline Kennedy,” Paterson said.

But reporters — some of whom had received calls from “sources close to the governor” attacking Kennedy — peppered the beleaguered governor with questions about the leaks. He was also asked if he would give lie detector tests to his staff.

“I’m not going to hunt down scurrilous rumors,” Paterson said.

After just eight minutes of the tough grilling the governor stalked out of the room with reporters left still asking questions.

“Are you going to apologize to Caroline Kennedy?” one reporter asked.

The furor detracted from the new Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s brief swearing in, where she promised to uphold the constitution.

The controversy has caused the governor’s popularity to plummet.

Read the rest:

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is seen with Vice President ... 
The long and the short of it: Kirsten Gillibrand becomes the Senator from New York;  seen with Vice President Joe Biden in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009, before a mock swearing in ceremony..(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Blago in “Victim TV Tour” Quotes MLK; But Transcript Quotes May Land Him in Jail

January 27, 2009

“You know, during times like this there’s a saying Dr. (Martin Luther) King had. ‘In the end, we remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.’ It’s a very lonely period. When things like this happen, people tend to be afraid to talk to you,” Governor Rod Blagojevich said today on The Early Show on CBS.

“I have two little girls and they are hearing a lot of bad things about their Dad,” Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich said this morning on the CBS morning show with Harry Smith.

I thought I could hear a judge shout, “Irrelevant. Overruled.”

This is day two of the “Blago Is The Victim” tour on TV.

On the Early Show on CBS this Tuesday the Illinois Governor said, “If present trends continue, I’ll be out of work in the not-too-distant future. I’m not delusional in terms of what my likelihood of success is to convince those senators to give me a fair trial.”

” … It’s more important than me. It’s about the people who twice elected me. You can’t throw a governor out without giving that governor a chance to show he did nothing wrong. That’s what they’re doing. It’s a dangerous precedent.

“But if you’re asking me do I see myself like a modern-day Frank Capra movie, and I’m the Jimmy Stewart or Gary Cooper character, a guy idealistically trying to do what’s right for people, fighting a system, and then be pushed back? Yeah, I see myself that way.”

Yesterday the Illinois Governor compared himself to Martin L. King, Nelson Mandela, and Mahatma Gandhi.

Today Blago also quoted Martin Luther King, Jr. in his apparent effort to be more black and more sypathetic and more a victim.

Don’t expect Roland Burris, Oprah or Barack Obama to rush to his defense…..


Governors Gone Wild: Paterson Cancels Swiss Ski Trip, Blago On TV, Arnold Stands Tall

From CBS:

From CNN:


By ANDREA ZELINSKI, Associated Press Writer

A day after Gov. Rod Blagojevich‘s loudly proclaimed his innocence during a media blitz, the governor’s more private words are to take center stage at his impeachment trial.

The state Senate was expected Tuesday to hear secretly made wiretaps of Blagojevich allegedly discussing how he could benefit from his appointment power.

Blagojevich never denied the remarks federal prosecutors attribute to him, but insists they were taken out of context and he did nothing illegal.

The impeachment trial — the first for a U.S. governor in more than 20 years — opened Monday with House-appointed prosecutor David Ellis telling senators he will show that Blagojevich “repeatedly and utterly abused the powers and privileges of his office.”

Read the rest:

Blagoyevich Holds Press Conference Asking For Changes in Impeachment Rules, Support From Media

January 23, 2009

He’s impatient, eager and restless.  He’s innocent.

So he says.

He wants to call witnesses in his impeachment trial; which would seem a normal form of American due process.

But the Illinois Senate has crafted impeachment rules to put Governor Rod Blagojeech into a straightjacket, it seems.

Which is where he might belong.

But Blago is not yet indicted, mush less on trial.  He stands impeached: with is a non-judicial proceedure to remove him from the Governor’s office.

The AP Said: Impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich says he’s boycotting his impeachment trial next week because the process is unfair, not because he’s being defiant.

At a news conference Friday, Blagojevich said his constitutional rights are being trampled under the Senate rules because he cannot call the witnesses that he wants at his impeachment trial.

But who is listening?  Not Blago’s lawyer.

“I never require a client to do what I say but I do require them to at least listen to what I say. … I wish the governor good luck and godspeed,” said prominent Chicago defense lawyer Ed Genson in brief remarks to reporters.

Genson told Blago to get a new lawyer yesterday.

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich pauses as he presides over ... 
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.(Frank Polich/Reuters)

“Let’ give him a fair trial, then hang him,” Blagojevech said of himself, quoting some old Western movie.

In another of his classic, rambling news conferences, the impeached Governor of Illinois said he wanted to call White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel as a witness, Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr., and others.

He made a plea or a play for support from newspapers like the Chicago Tribune: newspapers he has maligned and tried to destroy in the past. 

“The irony is stunning,” said Sheperd Smith on Fox News Channel.

Shepard Smith 20071115.jpg

Blago wants the right to challenge the charges and call witnesses.

But he never mentioned the core issue: his apparent effort to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.

Guantanamo Terrorists Getting More Rights Than Blagoyevich, Judge Says

Fox News Channel report:

From CNN:


Illinois‘ embattled but defiant governor turned to the history books to describe the emotional strain on him and his family, comparing his arrest last month to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.

“Dec. 9 to my family, to us, to me, is what Pearl Harbor Day was to the United States,” Gov. Rod Blagojevich told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday. “It was a complete surprise, completely unexpected. And just like the United States prevailed in that, we’ll prevail in this.”

The two-term Democrat, speaking on a snowy sidewalk outside the office of one of his attorneys, said there was no chance he would resign before the start of his impeachment trial in the state Senate next week.

“I’m going to fight this to the very end,” he said.

But that fight, Blagojevich said, most likely won’t include his appearance at the trial, which is set to begin Monday. The governor, along with his lawyers, say the trial rules are unfair, in part because they bar him from calling witnesses who are likely to be called in any criminal corruption trial later.

“I’m not going to be a party to that process,” he said. “That would be a violation of my oath of office. That, to me, would be an impeachable offense.”

He said his decision came from what he called a “bigger principle,” which he said includes due process and the right to call witnesses.

“In some respects it’s an honor to fall on principle on behalf of the people,” he said.

Blagojevich, wearing a black leather jacket and gripping a blue legal folder, also accused legislators of “a rush to judgment,” saying they wanted him gone so they could pass tax legislation.

“The reason they’re doing this is because they can’t wait to get rid of me so they can raise taxes on the people of Illinois,” he said. “This is as much about a tax increases as it is about anything else.”

Blagojevich is accused of scheming to benefit from his power to name President Barack Obama‘s replacement in the U.S. Senate.

Speaking for more than 40 minutes on Chicago station WLS-AM, Blagojevich said he couldn’t discuss specifics of the federal corruption charges against him — but insisted he hasn’t done anything wrong.

“And it was, of course, part of a political process that is not that inconsistent with the way the process works,” he said.

The governor told the AP that with all the pressures on him, being the butt of jokes on late-night TV shows wasn’t among them. The governor said he has not seen any of the parodies and asked a reporter if they were any good.

“People can criticize and vilify, they can do skits on `Saturday Night Live‘ — I think that goes along with the territory,” he said. “But what I won’t do is cave in and sacrifice the people of Illinois and be party to some phony farce, some unconstitutional process that’s designed to remove me from office so these lawmakers can raise taxes on people.”

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, who would become governor if Blagojevich resigns or is removed, told the AP Friday he has gotten no help from Blagojevich in preparing for that possibility, but that he’s up to the task of taking over.

Associated Press writer Deanna Bellandi in Chicago contributed to this report.

Burris Turned Away at Door of U.S. Senate

January 6, 2009

The man appointed to fill Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat, Roland Burris, was turned away from the door of the U.S. Senate this morning.

In a brief news confernce outside the U.S. Capitol building in the rain, Burris spoke briefly before turing the event over to his lawyers.

Burris looked scared and dismayed amid a throng of reporters on a dark, cold, rainy and wet Washington DC.

CNN called the event a “circus” and reported “Burris was surrounded by a swarm of reporters as he tried to join the other senators on the first day of the new Congress.”

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has offered Senate Appointee Roland Burris office space not far from the Capitol.

Above: Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has offered Senate Appointee Roland Burris office space not far from the Capitol.

The Associated Press reported that:

A Democratic official says the secretary of the Senate has turned former Illinois attorney general Roland Burris away from taking the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

Burris left the Capitol offices of the secretary, Nancy Erickson, after a meeting of about 20 minutes.

Illinois U.S. Senate appointee Roland Burris talks with the ...
Roland Burris

Illinois: Thanks for “Nutjob New Year” (Blagoyevich, Rush, Burris)

December 31, 2008

On December 9, Illinois Congrssman Bobby Rush said, “Governor Blagoyevich should not appoint anyone to fill Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat.”

Rush said then that anyone appointed by the Illinois Governor would be “tainted.”

The December 9 remarks by Representative Rush appeared New Year’s Eve on the Fox News Channel.

Yesterday Bobby Rush strongly supported the Illinois Governor’s appointment of Roland Burris to fill the vacant Illinois U.S. Senate seat in blunt racial terms.

“I would ask you to not hang or lynch the appointee while you castigate the appointer,” Rush said at Blagojevich’s news conference yesterday. “Let me just remind you that there presently is no African-American in the U.S. Senate.”

Rush also threatened to “take this issue to the Congressional Black Caucus” if the Senate rejected Burris.

U. S Rep. Bobby Rush speaks after Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich ... 
U. S Rep. Bobby Rush speaks after Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich announces his choice of former Ill. Attorney General Roland Burris, right, to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008 in Chicago.(AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

Bobby Rush and Governor Rod Blagojevich are now on one side of this debate and President-elect Barack Obama and Senator Harry Reid are on the other.

As for Mr. Burris and his qualifications to serve, well, at Chicago’s Oak Woods Cemetery he has erected a granite mausoleum listing his many accomplishments.

Who else in the state of Illinois has a granite resume?

In summary, in Illinois we have a Governor that nobody much likes, allegedly tried to sell the U.S. Senate seat and has refused all advice.  Add to that a Congressman who isn’t sure what he said a few weeks ago and a nominee to the U.S. Senate with an ego and mausoleum the size of a condo.

Roland Burris has erected a mausoleum listing his accompishments in Chicago's Oak Woods Cemetery.

Ill. gov. says ready to tell his side of scandal

December 17, 2008

Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Wednesday he is ready to tell his side of the scandal to the people of Illinois and that he would do so no later than Thursday.

“I can’t wait to begin to tell my side of the story and to address you guys and, most importantly, the people of Illinois. That’s who I’m dying to talk to,” he said as he left his home Wednesday morning for a jog.

“There’s a time and place for everything. That day will soon be here and you might know more about that today, maybe no later than tomorrow.”

On Tuesday, an impeachment inquiry against Blagojevich hit a speed bump shortly after getting under way, with state lawmakers seeking guidance from federal prosecutors and postponing any real action until the governor’s attorney arrives.

Associated Press

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is  surrounded by the media before ... 
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is surrounded by the media before jogging at his home in Chicago, Wednesday, Dec.17, 2008. Blagojevich said Wednesday he is ready to tell his side of the scandal to the people of Illinois and that he would do so no later than Thursday.(AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

The attorney, Ed Genson, planned to attend Wednesday’s meeting of a special Illinois House committee reviewing potential impeachment and may provide the first hint of the embattled Democratic governor’s strategy.

The committee’s chairwoman, Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, said Wednesday’s meeting would focus on a review of the criminal case against Blagojevich and no witnesses would be called.

When asked if he would join his lawyer at the Capitol Wednesday, Blagojevich said he was “in good hands” with Genson being there. Asked about when he might talk, the governor was glib: “To quote Elvis, ‘hang loose.’ Now can I get a run in, do you think?”

Read the rest:

Legal Hurdle: Blagojevich Has A Big Mouth But Was A Crime Completed?

December 16, 2008

When Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the United States attorney in Chicago, announced the arrest of the Illinois governor, Rod R. Blagojevich, Mr. Fitzgerald said he had acted to halt a political crime spree that included what he called an “appalling” effort to sell off the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

By Dvid Johnston
the New York Times 

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich leaves a downtown office building Monday, Dec. 15, 
AP Photo By Spencer Green
But now some lawyers are beginning to suggest that the juiciest part of the case against Mr. Blagojevich, the part involving the Senate seat, may be less than airtight. There is no evidence, at least none that has been disclosed, that the governor actually received anything of value — and the Senate appointment has yet to be made.

Ever since the country’s founding, prosecutors, defense lawyers and juries have been trying to define the difference between criminality and political deal-making. They have never established a clear-cut line between the offensive and the illegal, and the hours of wiretapped conversations involving Mr. Blagojevich, filled with crass, profane talk about benefiting from the Senate vacancy, may fall into a legal gray area.

Robert S. Bennett, one of Washington’s best-known white-collar criminal defense lawyers, said Mr. Blagojevich faced nearly insurmountable legal problems in a case that includes a raft of corruption accusations unrelated to Mr. Obama’s Senate seat. But Mr. Bennett said the case raised some potentially thorny issues about political corruption.

“This town is full of people who call themselves ambassadors, and all they did was pay $200,000 or $300,000 to the Republican or Democratic Party,” said Mr. Bennett, referring to a passage in the criminal complaint filed against the governor suggesting that Mr. Blagojevich was interested in an ambassadorial appointment in return for the Senate seat. “You have to wonder, How much of this guy’s problem was his language, rather than what he really did?”

Read the rest:

Illinois Lawmakers Intent on Ousting Governor Blagojevich

December 15, 2008

Republicans and Democrats alike are calling for Illinois lawmakers to begin impeachment proceedings against Gov. Rod Blagojevich, saying the step is necessary to restore public confidence in state government.

“The General Assembly must move to impeach Rod Blagojevich immediately,” said DuPage County State’s Attorney Joe Birkett, a potential Republican candidate for governor in 2010.

“We should have started yesterday,” agreed Rep. Jack Franks, a Democrat.

Legislators were to meet Monday afternoon for the first time since Blagojevich was arrested last week on charges he shook down businesses seeking state deals and tried to profit from his power to choose a replacement for President-elect Barack Obama‘s vacant Senate seat.

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich waves as he leaves a downtown ... 
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich waves as he leaves a downtown office building Sunday, Dec. 14, 2008, in Chicago. Blagojevich was arrested this week on federal charges that he tried to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat.(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

The session’s focus was supposed to be about considering a special election, but impeachment is likely to be the chief topic of conversation.

Read the rest from the Associated Press:

Blagojevich: “No Resignation”

December 14, 2008

Scandal-plagued Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will not resign Monday, his spokesman said Sunday, but pressure to do so continued to grow on the governor to step aside before he is impeached.

Blagojevich was arrested last week on charges of conspiracy to swap political favors for cash, including an attempt to sell the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barack Obama following his November presidential election victory.

“We have heard that there is a possibility that tomorrow he will make an announcement where he will step aside,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

But Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero Sunday denied the governor planned to resign on Monday: “I can confirm the no resignation.”

By Peter Bohan

Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich talks with Northern Illinois ... 
Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich talks with Northern Illinois University President John Peters (not in the picture), in DeKalb, Illinois in this February 15, 2008 file photo.(Kamil Krzaczynski/Files/Reuters)

The controversy over Blagojevich has been a distraction for Obama and his team as the president-elect announced Cabinet nominations and tried to lay out plans for dealing with the recession and other crises after his January 20 inauguration.

The charges against Blagojevich come after years of investigation detailed by court-approved wiretaps.

But the governor has not been indicted and remains governor with full powers including being the only person who can name a replacement for Obama in the Senate. Through his lawyer, Blagojevich has denied doing anything wrong.

Read the rest:

Blagojevich: Wacko, Pathological, Grandiose and Narcissistic: But Criminal?

December 13, 2008

He’s accused of talking about an ambassadorship, a Cabinet post in the Obama administration, even someday running for president – all while clearly aware of a federal corruption investigation hovering over his administration.

“Wacko” is among the unscientific diagnoses suggested by many after prosecutors this week accused Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich of essentially trying to sell the president-elect’s open U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder.

Associated Press

Delusional, grandiose and narcissistic are some of the official terms offered up by mental health specialists, who have their own theories.

“When hubris creeps through the door, judgment just flies out the window,” said David Levy, a psychology professor at Pepperdine University’s graduate school.

Assessing the embattled governor’s state of mind has become a sort of parlor game as the enormity of the stunning allegations against him sinks in. Everyone seems to be wondering, was it lunacy, or just an extreme form of politics-as-usual?

“Blagojevich’s defense lawyers might want to consider an insanity defense,” wrote Mark Brown, a Chicago Sun-Times columnist. “He’s utterly mad. Completely and totally off his rocker.”

Not so fast, Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass said (any surprise the two papers differ?): “The pundits who make such diagnoses have never talked to a Chicago machine politician in their lives. How do they think Chicago politicians talk in private when they’re muscling some other guy for cash? Like Helen Mirren playing the queen?”

Yet, even in a state where corruption seems to flow like water, the governor’s alleged actions and words caught on tape stand out.

“These charges are absolutely stunning and it’s because it’s kind of transcended simple greed,” said Cindi Canary, executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. “This is not like giving somebody a sewer inspector job. This is an abuse of public trust 100-fold.”

Like rubberneckers drawn to a highway crash, Levy said he’s been riveted by the developments.

“I’m really intrigued by this guy’s brazenness,” he said. “The recklessness is remarkable.”

New York City therapist Jonathan Alpert said he was struck by “the grandiosity, the grand sense of self and entitlement,” the arrogance.

Those traits are consistent with a mental condition called narcissistic personality disorder, he said. Its other symptoms can include taking advantage of others for personal gain and lack of empathy.

That could be a cynical job description for politicians. They are, after all, often lured to the job at least partly by the heady sense of power it promises. And Alpert said just having some of those behaviors doesn’t guarantee mental illness.

But Chicago psychoanalyst Mark Smaller said Blagojevich’s alleged behavior seems to have gone beyond bad judgment.

“This is somebody who knew he was being investigated, so you would think that would be the type of person” who wouldn’t want to increase the probability of being caught, Smaller said.

Instead, according to the complaint against Blagojevich, he conspired to sell or trade Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat in recent weeks, knowing he was the target of a longtime federal probe of alleged pay-to-play politics.

Just a day before FBI agents arrested Blagojevich at his home Tuesday, he defiantly told reporters he didn’t care about reports he was being secretly taped because his words were “always lawful.”

Smaller said the self-destructiveness is stunning: “There’s something going on here that doesn’t look like normal political corruption.”

Still, some experts suggest that being in a position of power can make people feel they are impervious to danger. Levy said there’s no easy answer when it comes to Blagojevich.

“There really is no clear line between what’s normal and pathological,” he said.

Without Martin Luther King and Me; No Barack Obama

Blago in “Victim TV Tour” Quotes MLK; But Transcript Quotes May Land Him in Jail

 Blagojevich’s TV Defense: “Don’t Touch The Hair”