Blago to plead for his job in dramatic appearance before IL senate

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There is no way that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich can possibly hang on to his job after being caught trying to sell a senate seat, is there?

His impeachment trial has ground relentlessly forward despite the absence of his attorney who referred to the proceedings as a sham, and the governor's own status as AWOL from the trial as he toured the media world looking for sympathy and understanding.

Now that the trial is in its final phase, Blago has decided to show up and deliver what promises to be a dramatic closing argument on his own behalf. Given the tenor of his appearances on TV lately, it is probably going to be schmaltzy, self-pitying, and full of invective aimed at those who just don't understand him:

His career tattered but his dramatic flair intact, Gov. Rod Blagojevich reversed course Wednesday and accepted the Illinois Senate's challenge to explain in person why it shouldn't toss him out of office Thursday in a historic impeachment vote.

After boycotting the trial since its Monday opening, explaining to national TV audiences that he would not dignify an unfair process, Blagojevich asked Wednesday for permission to address senators with a 90-minute closing argument. His appearance, expected to receive Senate approval, would be followed by roll-call votes that could not only remove him as governor but bar him from holding future office.

A vote by 40 of the legislature's 59 state senators to convict Blagojevich on charges of abuse of power would instantly make Lt. Gov. Patrick Quinn the state's 41st governor. Quinn intends to be at the Statehouse, awaiting the results of the Senate's deliberation and roll call that could come as soon as late Thursday.

The appearance by Blagojevich answers the challenge of his fellow Democrats who run the chamber, including Senate President John Cullerton, who expressed anger and frustration over the two-term governor's all-out New York media blitz. In a dizzying array of appearances on an alphabet soup of national network and cable news shows, Blagojevich maintained that the outcome of the trial was rigged as a result of unfair rules and special interests who wanted him gone so they could raise taxes.

But after days of Blagojevich's complaints that he couldn't call witnesses or challenge evidence concerning the federal criminal charges that led to his arrest Dec. 9, a number of senators said it was too little, too late from a governor who has traditionally treated the legislature with disdain and disrespect.

Given Blago's flair for the dramatic, some lawmakers are speculating that after an impassioned defense, he will resign. Given that he may only have 2 or 3 senators who would even consider a "not guilty" verdict, that possibility is certainly in play.

We will see tonight whether any of his PR machinations have done him any good.


There is no way that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich can possibly hang on to his job after being caught trying to sell a senate seat, is there?

His impeachment trial has ground relentlessly forward despite the absence of his attorney who referred to the proceedings as a sham, and the governor's own status as AWOL from the trial as he toured the media world looking for sympathy and understanding.

Now that the trial is in its final phase, Blago has decided to show up and deliver what promises to be a dramatic closing argument on his own behalf. Given the tenor of his appearances on TV lately, it is probably going to be schmaltzy, self-pitying, and full of invective aimed at those who just don't understand him:

His career tattered but his dramatic flair intact, Gov. Rod Blagojevich reversed course Wednesday and accepted the Illinois Senate's challenge to explain in person why it shouldn't toss him out of office Thursday in a historic impeachment vote.

After boycotting the trial since its Monday opening, explaining to national TV audiences that he would not dignify an unfair process, Blagojevich asked Wednesday for permission to address senators with a 90-minute closing argument. His appearance, expected to receive Senate approval, would be followed by roll-call votes that could not only remove him as governor but bar him from holding future office.

A vote by 40 of the legislature's 59 state senators to convict Blagojevich on charges of abuse of power would instantly make Lt. Gov. Patrick Quinn the state's 41st governor. Quinn intends to be at the Statehouse, awaiting the results of the Senate's deliberation and roll call that could come as soon as late Thursday.

The appearance by Blagojevich answers the challenge of his fellow Democrats who run the chamber, including Senate President John Cullerton, who expressed anger and frustration over the two-term governor's all-out New York media blitz. In a dizzying array of appearances on an alphabet soup of national network and cable news shows, Blagojevich maintained that the outcome of the trial was rigged as a result of unfair rules and special interests who wanted him gone so they could raise taxes.

But after days of Blagojevich's complaints that he couldn't call witnesses or challenge evidence concerning the federal criminal charges that led to his arrest Dec. 9, a number of senators said it was too little, too late from a governor who has traditionally treated the legislature with disdain and disrespect.

Given Blago's flair for the dramatic, some lawmakers are speculating that after an impassioned defense, he will resign. Given that he may only have 2 or 3 senators who would even consider a "not guilty" verdict, that possibility is certainly in play.

We will see tonight whether any of his PR machinations have done him any good.