Ill. politicians urge Blagojevich to resign

CHICAGO The governor's two-minutes-and-fifty-second statement was aired live throughout the state and in most parts of the country. It only confirmed what many people had come this week to suspect: that Rod Blagojevich is going to hold on to power for as long as possible.

"I'm not going to quit a job the people hired me to do because of false accusations and a political lynch mob," the governor said.

In the same Thompson Center room that Rod Blagojevich used to make his statement, two Republican state senators expressed their disappointment that the governor did not announce he was stepping down.

"Speaking on behalf of the vast majority of the people of the State of Illinois who were hoping to hear rather than fight, fight, fight, resign, resign, resign," said State Sen. Matt Murphy, (R) Palatine.

As he faces federal corruption charges and a possible impeachment proceeding, Blagojevich critics say the governor's decision will virtually guarantee that political gridlock continues in Springfield.

Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn, who last week hoped a resignation was eminent, has put his succession plans on hold.

"The governor is clearly impeded in his ability to carry out his executive functions," said Lt. Quinn.

State House Republican Leader Tom Cross says the criminally charged and distracted governor cannot address the state's budget crisis and that Blagojevich's holding on to power has exposed Illinois to national ridicule.

"We have got a huge image problem that we've got to rehabilitate and fix. And it's going to take some time to do that. But as long as he's here, that continues to perpetuate," said State Rep. Tom Cross, (R) Oswego.

All the national and a few international networks covered the governor's statement. Blagojevich family friend Barbara Burchjolla crashed the event and expressed sorrow for the governor and his wife.

"I'm sad Rod is being convicted before he's even gone to court," said Burchjolla.

In the statement, the governor indicated Friday that he planned to take the criminal case all the way to trial to prove his innocence.

In the meantime, the legislative wheels are turning toward a possible impeachment in the Illinois House. That is the immediate concern of the governor's legal team.

It became apparent Friday afternoon that reporters might not get Rod Blagojevich in a true news conference setting with questions and answers ever again.

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