RNC responds to gov. scandal with criticism

December 14, 2008 4:20:43 PM PST
The Republican National Committee was reacting to the Illinois governor's scandal Sunday with a web-video some Republicans say highlights the links between Governor Blagojevich and President-elect Obama.

Some Chicago area Republicans say a special election is the only way to fill Obama's open Senate seat. State Republicans want a special election because that is the only way they have a chance of taking control of that Senate seat.

While press on Governor Blagojevich has been bipartisan, Sunday at both the local and national levels, the tone and target changed.

"Right now my main focus is to make sure we elect Rod Blagojevich," the video shows Barack Obama saying in 2002.

One of the questions being asked at the national level is, 'Where is the president-elect's chief of staff?' Rahm Emanuel has dropped out of public view and isn't answering questions about reports he brought a wish-list of Senate candidates to the governor's office.

"I don't know all the details of the relationship between president-elect's campaign, his people and the governor of Illinois, but I have some confidence that all the information will come out," former Republican presidential nominee John McCain.

McCain said Sunday that he was more focused on working with Obama on the economy than searching for skeletons in his closet.

However, Illinois GOP leaders weren't being so generous.

"We could have ended this crisis in 2006 if Democrats like Pat Quinn had stood up and spoken out. Instead, he sat in his seat and got re-elected," said former Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, Joe Birkett.

Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn was among the first call for Blagojevich to resign. Still, Republicans are singling him out, suggesting he too cannot be trusted to fill the Senate seat because they claim Quinn didn't do enough to buck his boss.

Monday, as lawmakers head to Springfield, the state GOP will begin using television commercials and phone banks to stoke support for a special election.

State Republicans were stung badly by the corruption conviction of former Gov. George Ryan. Many see the Blagojevich scandal as their chance to try to regain the image of being on the side of "good government."


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