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Exclusive: Blagojevich talks about Obama Senate replacement.

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WASHINGTON--Gov. Blagojevich, in the most detailed interview to date on how he will fill the Senate seat formerly held by President-elect Barack Obama, told me Tuesday his replacement does not have to be an African American and he is open to selecting someone who would serve only the two years left in the term.

Blagojevich is aiming to replace Obama -- who was the only African American in the Senate -- before the new Senate is sworn in next month to give the new senator a leg up on seniority.

In a phone interview, I asked Blagojevich if he considered the vacancy an African-American seat. "I think it is a factor of a great deal of weight in my mind but it is not the only factor or the only consideration, and somebody could be the next Barack Obama who happens not to be the African American, and that person would be hard not to make a U.S. senator."

Because this is election has just one voter, contenders are working quietly to sell themselves to Blagojevich.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) is waging an overt drive. I asked Blagojevich what he thought of Jackson's public campaign.

Blagojevich offered a response I took as lukewarm, but I may be reading too much into his measured comments.


WASHINGTON--Gov. Blagojevich, in the most detailed interview to date on how he will fill the Senate seat formerly held by President-elect Barack Obama, told me Tuesday his replacement does not have to be an African American and he is open to selecting someone who would serve only the two years left in the term.

Blagojevich is aiming to replace Obama -- who was the only African American in the Senate -- before the new Senate is sworn in next month to give the new senator a leg up on seniority.

In a phone interview, I asked Blagojevich if he considered the vacancy an African-American seat. "I think it is a factor of a great deal of weight in my mind but it is not the only factor or the only consideration, and somebody could be the next Barack Obama who happens not to be the African American, and that person would be hard not to make a U.S. senator."

Because this is election has just one voter, contenders are working quietly to sell themselves to Blagojevich.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) is waging an overt drive. I asked Blagojevich what he thought of Jackson's public campaign.

Blagojevich offered a response I took as lukewarm, but I may be reading too much into his measured comments.

"He's got a right to do it," Blagojevich said, "and he obviously believes in himself as a candidate for the United States Senate and his public campaign is, you know, something he obviously believes appropriate and helpful, and all power to him."

The governor, I learned, is trying to set up an interview with Jackson to discuss the vacancy. He's already talked to Dem Representatives Jan Schakowsky; Danny Davis, who is becoming more vocal about wanting the seat, and Luis Gutierrez. Former state Senate President Emil Jones, Veterans Affairs chief Tammy Duckworth, and Attorney General Lisa Madigan are near the top of what the governor said was a long list.

A few days ago, Gutierrez issued a statement saying he was interested in filling only the two years remaining in Obama's term.

"Not a deal-breaker," the governor said. While Blagojevich has a strong preference to pick someone who will try to keep the seat, he said if he found "the right person," it "wouldn't necessarily preclude him or her from being the choice."

Blagojevich said "it would be very good if all the factors converged and if an African-American candidate would fit that bill . . . and that certainly would be the best of all worlds, and that's possible, but that by itself is not the only consideration."

5TH DISTRICT: Justin Oberman, an aviation security specialist and Lincoln Park businessman, filed papers Tuesday creating an exploratory committee for the House seat being vacated by Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Obama's chief of staff. Oberman is the son of former Ald. Marty Oberman (43rd). He was a member of Obama's advisory committee on homeland security.

30 Comments

I won't be surprised when the governor announces he personally will take over at the Senate.

The replacement should be Rep. Schakowsky. Since she's been a state rep. and a congresswoman, she has more political experience than Rep. Jackson and Tammy Duckworth. After she becomes the senator, her replacement, in the U.S. House, should be St. Sen. Jeffrey Scheonberg.

Talk about insulting and racist ! Since when does the senate seat have to go to an African-American. Especially since there are more white and latino citizens in Illinois. I have a novel idea----give the senate seat to the BEST qualified person. Regardless of race.

John, when you said, "African-American," I hope that you meant someone who was born in Africa. I'm white, and about 2/3 of Blacks, I know, dislike being called African-Americans. They know that, since the dictionary definition of "African" is "a resident of Africa," an African-American must be anyone who was born in Africa, immigrated to the U.S., and became an American citizen. This definition includes some Whites, so whether someone is an African-American can't be determined by his or her skin color.

NOW YOU KNOW THE TERM IN THIS COUNTRY FOR AFRICAN
AMERICAN IS PERSON WHOSE ANCESTORS COME FROM
AFRICA, AND YOU DO KNOW THAT BLACK FOLKS ANCESTORS
WERE BROUGHT HERE IN CHAINS, SO YOU CAN BREAK
IT DOWN ANYWAY YOU WANT, BUT BEING CALLED BOY,
COLORED, NEGRO WON'T WORK ANY LONGER!
BLACK AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN WILL WORK REGARDLESS
OF THE HISTORY LESSON YOU WANT TO GIVE!
5 TO 6 MILLION EXPECTED AT THE INAGURATION AND
YOU CAN COME AS WELL!
WE AREN'T TALKING ABOUT LIKES AND DISLIKES WE
ARE TALKING ABOUT BEING RESPECTFUL!

Saying black is being respectful. About 3% of South Africans are Asian, with ancestors from India. If one of them immigrates to the U.S. and becomes a U.S. citizen, he or she would be an African-American.

This story takes on new dimensions now that Blagojevich has been arrested and his wheeling and dealing is now coming to light. What's his 'ultimate' move now? Seems to me he's in a position to take down many more with him.

Wow! That is shockingly racist! I would prefer it to be a black guy???.....just, wow.

I encourage every black reader to reread the crooked politicians words and replace "african american" with white...then come back and complain about the racism in this country.

WOW

Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has likely seen his last payday for a while, along with his chief of staff, John Harris. The FBI on federal corruption charges arrested both on Tuesday morning. This would be the start again of bad image of government officials. Normally, a person in such a high position getting busted for something that big is shocking enough, but it gets worse in that he is the second governor if Illinois in a row to get arrested on federal criminal charges. His predecessor, George Ryan, was arrested a few years ago, on corruption charges as well. Oh! What’s happening to these people? Blagojevich haven’t learning yet from the mistake of the former governor- George Ryan. Blagojevich evidently assumed that he was King of Illinois and did Barack Obama recently vacate trying to literally sell the Senate seat. According to Illinois law, the governor determines who fills the seat, and Blagojevich figured that it was a quick way to make a buck or two. Well, it would be an understatement to say he got a little greedy. The FBI compiled a 76-page indictment against Harris and Blagojevich. He was caught on wiretap last month, and the FBI waited to get even more evidence against him, which they did. He claims that everything he did and said was legal. Residents of the state of Illinois will just have to wait and see. The climate in DC appears to be hopeful for now, but darker clouds are on the horizon for Blagojevich and his buddy, Harris. It's likely they’ve seen their last paydays in office. Click to read more on Blagojevich courtesy of Personal Money Store's Payday Loan News.

The statement continued, “We say this without prejudice toward Roland Burris’s ability, and we respect his years of public service. But this is not about Mr. Burris; it is about the integrity of a governor accused of attempting to sell this United States Senate seat. Under these circumstances, anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic Caucus.”
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I'm white, and about 2/3 of Blacks, I know, dislike being called African-Americans. They know that, since the dictionary definition of "African" is "a resident of Africa," an African-American must be anyone who was born bedroom furniture in Africa, immigrated to the U.S., and became an American citizen. This definition includes some Whites, so whether someone is an African-American can't be determined.

His predecessor, George Ryan, was arrested a few years ago, on corruption charges as well. Oh! What’s happening to these people? Blagojevich haven’t learning yet from the mistake of the former governor- George Ryan. Blagojevich evidently assumed that he was King of Illinois and did Barack Obama recently vacate trying to literally sell the Senate seat. According to Illinois law, the sexy lingerie governor determines who fills the seat, and Blagojevich figured that it was a quick way to make a buck or two. Well, it would be an understatement to say he got a little greedy

Great Article! Thanks for sharing! hosting I think Gov. Blagojevich did a wrong and he will learn something from this lesson.

The statement continued, “We say this without prejudice toward Roland Burris’s ability, and we respect his years of public service. But this is not about Mr. Burris; it is about the integrity of a governor accused of attempting to sell this United States Senate seat. Under these circumstances, anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic Caucus.Louis Vuitton

Talk about insulting and racist ! Since when does the senate seat have to go to an African-American. Especially since there are more white and latino citizens in Illinois. The credit card processing companies and I have a novel idea----give the senate seat to the BEST qualified person. Regardless of race.

Saying black is being respectful. About 3% of South Africans are Asian, with ancestors from India. If one of them immigrates to the U.S. and becomes a U.S. citizen, he or she would be an African-American.

"Obviously like the rest of the people of Illinois I am saddened and sobered by the news that came out of the US attorney's office today," said President-elect Obama this afternoon in Chicago, speaking of the criminal complaint against Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich for corruption. "But as this is a ongoing investigation involving the governor I don't think it would be appropriate for me to comment on the issue at this time." This I saw in abc news.

The replacement should have the quality the same as former Senator Barack Obama. I've done essays about this so I hope the replacement would be deserving enough.

George Ryan, was arrested a few years ago, on corruption charges as well. Oh! What’s happening to these people? Blagojevich haven’t learning yet from the mistake of the former governor- George Ryan. Blagojevich evidently assumed that he was King of Illinois and did Barack Obama recently vacate trying to literally sell the Senate seat. According to Illinois law, the governor determines who fills the seat, and Blagojevich figured that it was a quick way to make a buck or two. Well, it would be an understatement to say he got a little greedy. The FBI compiled a 76-page indictment against Harris and Blagojevich. He was caught on wiretap last month, and the FBI waited to get wholesale handbags even more evidence against him, which they did. He claims that everything he did and said was legal handbags. Residents of the state of Illinois will just have to wait and see. The climate in DC appears to be hopeful for now, but darker clouds are on the horizon for Blagojevich and his buddy, Harris.

Soon governer would really take control over the Senate, and noone would manage to do something against.

Great Article! Thanks for sharing! hosting I think Gov. Blagojevich did a wrong and he will learn something from this lesson.

"it would be very good if all the factors converged and if an African-American candidate would fit that bill . . . and that certainly would be the best of all worlds, and that's possible, but that by itself is not the only consideration." - amen to that but will it come about? Also is setting a template for the successful candidate a good idea?

Wow! That’s a really shocking story! Thanks for posting it1 I like reading about politics, so I enjoyed your post! I think your blog is excellent as it has loads of information that is useful for writing term papers Keep up with it!

Wow! That’s a really shocking story! Thanks for posting it1 I like reading about politics, so I enjoyed your post! I think your blog is excellent as it has loads of information that is useful for writing term papers Keep up with it!

People are saying that they respect and can embrace the African-American race but reading how many times the word was used in this article tells me otherwise.

I have seen numbers of politics essays from students and their response to the celebration of the word is not overwhelming.

If it is true that African-Americans are looked at in the same level, then this must not be of great deal of discussion.

The next to seat must looked upon on how he can do and what he has already done, not of anything else.

I hope that there would be no more discrimination in America. Being a first world country, and being the country with the most number of foreign nationalities, it is never been good to act like US is just too exclusive. For example, I hope that the lifetime health care is not just exclusive for the citizens alone but will be free as well with other races.

You got it right Carry Sun. I have also observe that until nowadays people are always being discriminated. For example, a typical filipino citizen who went out of the country to work to earn money for their living but in return they are being treated as a poor servant, discriminated and etc. BUT.. if you are a famous filipino man who owns virtual business, people might respect you and treated you special. Life's so unfair.

In a phone interview, I asked Blagojevich if he considered the vacancy an African-American seat. "I think it is a factor of a great deal of weight in my mind but it is not the only factor or the only consideration, and somebody could be the next Barack Obama who happens not to be the African American, and that person would be hard not to make a U.S. senator."

I think it should be one of those education essays that are supposed to show us how narrow-minded a person can be!it is certainly very strange that in a country like America there are still people who are considering the african-americans to be minor to them-tha's just silly! and what's even more strange is we are hearing it from a governor, who has to set an example for the whole nation...I'm glad,that Obama has won-he's going to prove he is worth it!

this is great..I' totally agree with you on this point that there are still people who are considering the african-americans to be minor .I'm glad,that Obama has won-he's going to prove he is worth it!thanks for sharing this article.keep it up!

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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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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 3, 2008 7:44 AM.

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