WASHINGTON--Last week, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs issued what sounded like an ominous warning to embattled Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.). Take the weekend to think about his future.
That chilling message was suppose to pry Burris from his Senate seat. Well, the weekend is over and Burris is still here. He'll be at President Obama's address to a joint session of Congress tonight. So far Gibbs threat and the calls from others for Burris to resign ihas not worked. In an earlier post today, I reported that Burris is not resigning but offered this bone to critics: he will not run in 2010.
On NBC's "Today Show," host Matt Lauer asked Gibbs about Burris. Gibbs threat is going into overtime.
"That Senator Burris needs to take some time and think about whether he can actually help this country, whether he can serve the constituents of Illinois," Gibbs said.
MR. GIBBS: Absolutely, 100 percent.
MR. LAUER: And Roland Burris expected to be in attendance tonight as the president addresses this joint session of Congress. As you know, he's come under fire, bipartisan fire, for what is perceived as a possible lack of truthfulness during this whole process where he was named as a senator from the state of Illinois.
The president has talked a lot about transparency in government and transparency with government officials. In your opinion, does Roland Burris meet the threshold for transparency that the president wants to see?
MR. GIBBS: Well, Matt, what I talked about here just last week was obviously many of the representations that Senator Burris made in order to get into office have now proved to be true. I think he has to spend some time thinking about his future and make a determination --
MR. LAUER: Have proved to be true or untrue?
MR. GIBBS: -- about what's best for Illinois. The representations he's made have proved to be untrue. I'm sorry if I said that wrong.
MR. LAUER: Right.
MR. GIBBS: That Senator Burris needs to take some time and think about whether he can actually help this country, whether he can serve the constituents of Illinois --
MR. LAUER: Can he survive?
MR. GIBBS: That's a question for him, and I hope he'll do some real thinking about that.
MR. LAUER: All right, Robert Gibbs at the White House this morning. Thanks very much for your time.
MR. GIBBS: Thanks, Matt.