WASHINGTON--A big reason that Senate Democratic leaders dropped their resistance to seating Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) last month is that President Obama signaled that the commotion over his appointment by now ousted Gov. Blagojevich was a distraction.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was asked about the revelations that Burris was not candid (to say the least) when he testified before the state House impeachment panel about his contacts with people in the Blagojevich orbit. Burris also was not candid when I asked him about how he put himself in play at a Jan. 7 press conference here--a day before his Springfield testimony.
Gibbs, asked about Obama's reaction said,"I have to say, I've neglected to speak with him. But I will give you this. Obviously the people of Illinois have been through a lot in the past few weeks. And obviously Senator Burris was seated based in some way on the representations that he made to the U.S. Senate and to the committee in Illinois investigating Governor Blagojevich, and as well in interviews to the people of -- that the people of Illinois heard.
"I think in many ways he was seated based on those representations, and I think that the people of Illinois deserve -- deserve to know, based on some of the things that have happened over the past few days, deserve to know the full extent of any involvement. And I think that's likely to come out as part of some of the investigations that are now ongoing."
Gibbs declined to says whether Burris should resign.