For the past three months, the controversial Senator Roland Burris has refused requests for interviews. Monday, he returned from his self-imposed media exile to spend a few minutes with ABC7. It happened after an event during which Burris was treated as a hero by some of the most powerful politicians in the country.
It was the first time that Senator Roland Burris had been invited to share the stage with so many elected Democrat big shots. There he stood with Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Richard M. Daley and U.S. Senate colleague Dick Durbin at a plant that manufactures energy-efficient windows that could profit because of tax credits and grants made possible by the stimulus bill.
"If Illinois didn't have its full complement of senators there, we may not have had a stimulus package," said Sen. Roland Burris, (D) Illinois.
Durbin and other Democrats had shunned Burris since the former Illinois attorney general was appointed senator by since-impeached and ousted Governor Rod Blagojevich. Burris told me that media questions about contacts he had with Blagojevich before the appointment had interfered with his work in Washington.
"It's been a major distraction," Burris said.
And he explained why he hasn't done news conferences.
"The reason I have been speaking out on issues is, I had to make sure that when I did I had a good working knowledge of the issues," said Burris.
One last question for Roland Burris: Will you run for a full term as U.S. senator in the February, 2010, Democratic primary?
"I basically say I'm not going anywhere," Burris said.
What do we take from that?
"I'm not going anywhere," said Burris.
How should we take that?
"You can take it as you see it."
Money remains a problem for any Burris candidacy. He has had to spend most of what's been available defending challenges to his appointment. Some of those challenges remain unresolved.
At last report, Burris had less than $900 in his campaign fund. The political experts say he would need about $12 million to run a statewide campaign.