Chicago Sun-Times
Inside the Rod Blagojevich investigation and related cases

Northwestern students laugh with -- and at -- Rod Blagojevich's ethics talk

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To some, the irony was as thick as the shock of hair on his head: indicted ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich addressed Northwestern University students Tuesday night about ethics and morals in government.
One student said the event was akin to inviting Tiger Woods to speak about fidelity.
But ever the expert orator, Blagojevich had a Northwestern University auditorium --packed with about 1,000 people -- laughing.
Even if the yuks were usually on him.
Blagojevich, a Northwestern alum, who married his wife, Patti, on the campus 20 years ago, revealed the feds have subpoenaed his grades and student information from when he attended 30 years ago.
He invited the FBI to also look at his law school performance at Pepperdine Law School in Malibu, Calif.
"If they look at those grades they'll see -- I obviously never cheated on an exam," Blagojevich said to much laughter.
A panel of three professors sparred with the slippery Blagojevich and had alternating success at pinning him down on an answer.
Blagojevich spoke to a skeptical student body, who didn't cut him much of a break. When Blagojevich evaded questions, they snickered.
They laughed when he plugged his book and drew parallels between his case and the war in Iraq.
Blagojevich won chuckles when he said there was "nothing ethically wrong," with wanting to meet Sarah Palin.
He was booed when he likened U.S. Senate leaders to southern segregationists for initially not allowing his pick for senator -- Roland Burris -- into the U.S. Capitol last year.
"Shame," someone from the crowd shouted.
"You don't like Burris?" Blagojevich asked.
"No -- you," he responded.
"My friend, I have love in my heart for you," the ex-governor said.
One student asked Blagojevich why, if he were innocent, has he gone on a media "circus" tour, including an upcoming "Celebrity Apprentice," appearance.
"If I did things wrong, I would do none of that," Blagojevich said. "It ain't so. I didn't do it. And by the way, play all the tapes."
At that, Blagojevich won loud applause.
One student, Samir Pendse, said Blagojevich left him with "a sleazy feel." But the more Blagojevich talked, the more the Northwestern senior couldn't help but feel some empathy for him.
"It was such self-deprecating stuff, you almost at times had to empathize with him," Pendse said.
Still, Pendse, a political science and economics major, didn't buy that the former governor was "morally or ethically innocent," he said.
Ravi Umarji, also a senior, said while he was skeptical of Blagojevich's claims of innocence, he was surprised to find himself at times laughing with him -- not just at him.
"The key thing I came away with: I'm shocked by how good of a speaker he is," Umarji said. "I was amazed by how well he can get a crowd to respond to him."
Blagojevich, 52, is scheduled to go to trial on wide-ranging corruption charges in June.

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Rod Blagojevich did nothing on his own and there are many out there still profiting from the bad advice they gave him and enjoying the benefits of the legislative and political stiffarming they did on his behalf. Hopefully, the trial will afford him an opportunity to at least square things with those who remain free and carefree. Upcoming and ongoing updates on the old Blagojevich "team" at I imagine Rod will at least get a laugh knowing some are still sweating out there--even if they did get their impeachment vote to provide cover!

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on March 2, 2010 10:35 PM.

Northwestern students get to ask Blagojevich questions was the previous entry in this blog.

Blagojevich on Celebrity Apprentice: His charm wins over fellow players is the next entry in this blog.

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