Chicago Sun-Times
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Blagojevich offered Obama senate seat to Danny Davis before tapping Burris

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WASHINGTON -- Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) would like to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the Senate. The appointment was dangled before him last Wednesday. He turned it down.

We discussed why when we talked Tuesday night, hours after a defiant Gov. Blagojevich, facing impeachment for, among other charges, trying to sell the Obama seat, tapped former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris for the spot, touching off a racially inflammatory firestorm.

Davis, speaking on the phone from Chicago, said he met with Blagojevich attorney Sam Adam Jr. last Wednesday morning. The two met in Davis' Chicago office. Davis said he was told "the governor would like to appoint me to the vacant spot." After Blagojevich was arrested Dec. 9, Davis, who sought the appointment from him when he thought Blagojevich was playing it straight, said he would not take the job if offered.

But he conferred with Adam anyway, out of "respect" for the office of the governor, Davis told me; besides, Blagojevich has not yet been indicted nor found guilty of anything.

Davis, first elected to the House in 1996, has been restless: In 2006, he eyed the Cook County Board presidency after Board President John H. Stroger Jr. had a stroke. And now, just weeks after being named to the powerful Ways and Means Committee in the House, Adam was making him an offer.

You know the backstory, as did Davis: the Senate Democrats said they would not seat anyone appointed by the tainted Blaogjevich.

Davis met again with Adam, Friday at 9 a.m. "I indicated I came to the conclusion there was too much discomfort on my part and the part of my family," Davis said. Anyway, he could not see how the governor could name anyone and make it stick.

But most important, Davis said he realized that if he took the job, "It would be difficult to generate the trust level people would have to have in me. I just decided there was too much turmoil, too much disagreement. It was something I wanted to do, but I said I would not take an appointment from the governor."

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), an African American, heated up the race question when he appeared Tuesday with Blagojevich and Burris, using racially charged language. Backing Burris, the first African American to win an Illinois statewide office, Rush said, don't "hang or lynch the appointee, as you try to castigate the appointer."

Obama was the only African American in the Senate, and Rush said the seat must go to an African American.

(Rush did not invoke racial solidarity when Obama faced a Senate primary in 2004. Rush backed another candidate, Blair Hull, payback for Obama's failed challenge to unseat Rush in 2002.)

Davis, an African American, disagrees with Rush. It's not all about race.

Said Davis, "I always said that I don't think it is a seat that belongs to anybody. . . . The person should be who can best unify the state and bring back a sense of integrity and trust. . . . The seat does not belong to any race or any ethnic group or any category of individual. It belongs to the voters."

5 Comments

I voted for Obama because he's black, but this is ridiculous.

DANNY DAVIS ISN'T A FOOL, IF HE HAD TAKEN THE
JOB, HE COULDN'T HAVE RUN FOR DOGCATCHER, HE ISN'T
STUPID, ANYBODY CONNECTED TO THE GOV IS GOING TO
RUIN HIS CAREER, THIS JOB IS TAINTED, AND ALL OF
YOU TALKING ABOUT A SPECIAL ELECTION, WITH THE
ECONOMY IN SHAMBLES, ONLY THE GOP CAN AFFORD THIS
KIND OF FOOLISHNESS, BECAUSE THEY WOULD THROW
SO MUCH MONEY BEHIND THEIR CANDIDATE, HE WOULD BE
BULLET-PROOF IN A COUPLE OF YEARS AND HE OR SHE
WOULD GET RE-ELECTED!
SOME PEOPLE FORGET THAT A REPUBLICAN HAD THIS JOB
BEFORE PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA HELD THE POSITION!
ALSO REMEMBER CAROL MOSELY-BRAUN, SHE HELD THE
JOB AND SHE WAS DEFEATED BY THE GOP AS WELL, WELL
GUESS WHAT THE GOP WANT THIS SEAT AGAIN AND THE
GOV OF ILLINOIS HAS GIVEN THEM AN OPENING, HE
WANTS ROLAND BURRIS TO GET THE JOB, A DINOSAUR
AT 71, A GUY WITH NOTHING TO LOSE AND EVERYTHING
TO GAIN, THIS MAN IS A GOLDFISH IN A POOL WITH
BARRACUDAS!

It occurs to me that perhaps the State, if not the nation, would be better served if all voting in the City of Chicago and Cook County would be susupended for a decade or two. That would be time enough for the scum already in political place to disapate and prevent the morons on the voter rolls in that area from continuing to send the monsters from the cesspool that is Chicago politics to Springfield. Of course this is not meant to insult those who have passed away and somehow continue to cast ballots, often a number of times per election. De mortis nil nisi bonum” (“Of the dead, nothing but good”.)

mr davis
we all need you to be in the house so we can get the change we all need to the prison system
keep up the good work you been doing

Governor Blagojevich is "Gangsta"; can he "rap"?

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 31, 2008 7:00 AM.

Obama says "extremely disappointing" Blagojevich went ahead with Senate pick was the previous entry in this blog.

Bobby Rush tells CBS "Early Show" folks opposed to Blagojevich need to take "chill pill" and clear path for Burris is the next entry in this blog.

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