Reporting with Lark Turner
Rod Blagojevich describes his hyper-interest in raising campaign money this way:
"If you're in a strong political position, it gives you the independence to frankly, lose friends. ..and even lose political allies," Blagojevich says.
They talk about ethics legislation of 2008, which has been at issue in this trial. Prosecutors say Blagojevich knew he could no longer take donations from contractors by the end of that year because of that bill. So they allege the ex-gov ramped up his shakedown schemes.
Blagojevich said he saw it a different way. It was still legal to seek campaign contributions until the end of the year.
He says he wanted to kill that bill in favor of another bill that had more extensive legislative reforms, forcing lawmakers also to abide by the same rules as the governor.
He said then-Illinois State senate leader Emil Jones agreed with him. Until later in 2008, "a sheepish Emil Jones" said he had to call the original ethics bill for a vote.
Jones, he said: "I thought was a friend to me, is humiliating me."
"He said he received a call from President-Obama, he asked me to "please call this bill," they're running TV ads against me in Pennsylvania," Blagojevich said of Jones' call to him.