Special Election Was the Solution in Illinois

Blgo Burris.jpg

(Hayward, California)

I love politics! It seems when one story fades, something else pops up to keep us pundits chattering. Such was the case when the election was over and Barack Obama had won. Now what would we talk about? It took now ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich, of Illinois, to get us talking again; and we haven’t stopped.

For those who thought the scandal ended when “Blago” was impeached and Roland Burris was sworn in by the U.S. Senate (amidst much controversy), look again. It’s the scandal that just keeps on giving.

Major newspapers, government watchdogs and Illinois lawmakers are all calling for Senator Roland Burris to resign after he admitted he tried to raise money for ousted Governor Rod Blagojevich--the man who appointed him to the Senate despite having been accused of seeking favors in return for that seat.

Contrary to his testimony before the Illinois legislature’s Impeachment Committee, Burris has since admitted his fundraising efforts.

Burris made the admission of his fundraising efforts to reporters late Monday, saying he asked friends to give cash to Blagojevich on the request of the Governor's brother Rob, but was unsuccessful.

"So some time shortly after (President) Obama was elected, the brother called. And now, in the meantime, I'd talked to some people about trying to see if we could put a fundraiser on. Nobody was.... They said we aren't giving money to the Governor. And I said, 'OK, you know, I can't tell them what to do with their money'," Burris told reporters in Peoria, Illinois.

The latest call for Burris's resignation came from Representative Phil Hare, D-Ill., who stated that he is "deeply disappointed that Senator Burris hid the fact that he attempted to raise money for former Governor Blagojevich at the same time he (Burris) was lobbying for an appointment to the U.S. Senate." Hare lamented that the scandal just won’t go away.

"It's like a recurring nightmare," Hare said. "Our state and its citizens deserve the whole truth, not bits and pieces only when it is convenient."

"The Chicago Tribune," "The Chicago Sun-Times" and "The Washington Post" have all called on Burris to resign.

The "Post" editorial was the most scathing. "This latest revelation makes a mockery of his (Burris's) professions of no quid pro quo. It is a violation of the public trust. The people of Illinois have suffered enough. Mr. Burris should resign," the Post said. The paper said that with Burris's "third version" of his dealings with Blagojevich "the benefit of the doubt had already been stretched thin" and that, with his latest admission, "it finally snapped like a rubber band, popping him on that long Pinocchio nose of his."

Ouch! Referring to Burris as “Pinocchio” may not be a stretch, as he could be charged with perjury.

Back when the Blago scandal erupted in December, I said the only proper way to fill Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat was through a special election. Democrats resisted that because it would give Republicans a chance to win the seat. Someone should have gambled on principle or politics and risked the special election. Now Illinois Democrats are very likely to lose this seat in the U.S. Senate next year. It was a very shortsighted gain for what may now be long-term damage.

I'm happy to report that my book is selling well. If you want to buy a copy of “Age of Obama: A Reporter’s Journey with Clinton, McCain and Obama in the Making of the President 2008,” just click on the blue book button on the right side of this screen.

(Portions of today's report came from the Associated Press, "Washington Post" and

San Francisco Book Signing a Huge Success

Mark at Book Passage.jpg

(San Francisco, California)

Thanks to all who braved the chilly, rainy San Francisco weather to come out to "Book Passage" Monday night for my Presidents' Day book signing. As you can see in the photo above, we had a full house!

The first thing I want to do is encourage people to patronize their local neighborhood bookstores, especially in these tough economic times.

If you could not make my signing, you can find signed books for sale at the following locations:

Rakestraw Books at 409 Railroad Ave., Danville, CA

Lafayette Bookstore, at 3569 Mount Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, CA

Book Passage, 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA

Last night's book signing was videotaped for broadcast on C-SPAN's popular "Book TV" show. When I find out the broadcast dates, I will let you know!

As always, my book, "Age of Obama: A Reporter's Journey with Clinton, McCain and Obama in the Making of the President 2008," is available by clicking on the blue book button on the right of this screen.

If you would like your local bookstore to carry the book, please write to me!

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