Wednesday was Rod Blagojevich‘s 52nd birthday, but you can bet it was not a happy one. After having been charged by federal authorities with trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat that President-elect Barack Obama vacated, the Illinois governor spent most of the day hidden from view inside the state office building in downtown Chicago. The few allies he had left have vanished. And anyone who might have been among the unnamed Senate candidates in the detailed charges against Blagojevich have been busy putting distance between the governor and themselves. Among those were Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., who has hired a lawyer to accompany him to a meeting with federal prosecutors on Friday…
By Steven Gray
Stay away from the rats….they could be toxic….
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich leaves his home in Chicago, Illinois. President-elect Barack Obama said Thursday he is “absolutely certain” his team was not involved in any deal-making with Blagojevich and vowed to disclose a review of all contacts with his office.(AFP/Getty Images/Brian Kersey)
But it is Blagojevich who continues to be the target of public outrage. Talk-radio hosts in the state fielded calls from citizens who wondered how the governor could attempt anything so brazen amid what were clearly ongoing federal investigations into some of his activities. “It’s as if it didn’t register [with Blagojevich],” says Jay Stewart, executive director of the Illinois Better Government Association, in Chicago. “Even by our crass, low standards in Illinois, it’s stunning.” Most polls had the governor’s approval rating in the low two digits, from 16% to about 25%, but a recent survey had Blago (as the Illinois public has grown to call him, unflatteringly) at an incredible subbasement-level 4%.
Six years ago, Blagojevich, the son of a Serbian-born steelworker, seemed to have an almost inspiring rÉsumÉ. He worked as a dishwasher to pay for college. After graduating from Pepperdine University’s law school, he eventually found work as a prosecutor in Cook County, which includes Chicago, frequently handling domestic-abuse cases. He married well; his wife Patti, the daughter of influential Chicago alderman Richard Mell…
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