Blago defiant in presser

The embattled Illinois governor comes out with guns blazing.


Thomas Schaller
December 20, 2008 1:27AM (UTC)

Embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich just gave a brief press conference. I tried to transcribe it as quickly as possible:

I’m here to tell you right off the bat that I am not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing, that I intend to stay on the job, and that I will fight this thing every step of the way. I will fight. I will fight. I will fight until I take my last breath.

I have done nothing wrong.

And I’m not going to quit a job the people hired me to do because of false accusations and a political lynch mob.

Now, that’s what I’m going to do. Let me tell you what I’m not going to do. I’m not going to do what my accusers and political enemies have been doing, and that is talk about this case in 30-second sound bites on Meet the Press or on the TV news.

Now, I’m dying to answer these charges. I am dying to show you how innocent I am. And I want to assure everyone who’s here and everyone who’s listening that I intend to answer every allegation that comes my way. However, I intend to answer them the appropriate forum -- in a court of law. And when I do, I am absolutely certain I will be vindicated.

He then recites, seemingly from memory, the opening lines of Rudyard Kipling’s “If” poem,  before continuing:

I know there are powerful interests arrayed against me. It’s kind of lonely right now.

But I have the most powerful allay there is: And it’s the truth. And besides I have the personal knowledge that I have not done anything wrong.

He then asked the people of Illinois to afford him the presumption of innocence and the right to defend himself. He also thanked those who sent their good wishes and prayers.

And then he left with a “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,” and bolted for the door.

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It was a tour-de-force press conference . . . nothing "iffy" about it. You've got to give him that much. Great entertainment.


Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

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