Transcript Excerpts: Cynthia McFadden Interviews Gov. Rod Blagojevich

MCFADDEN: With all due respect, Governor, given what you are quoted as having said on these tapes, that's laughable. Let me read you a line. "If they're not going to offer anything of value, I might just take it." Another quote: "Unless I get some real good expletive, I might just take it myself." "I've got this thing and it's *#$* golden. I'm not going to give it away for nothing." You tell me the context that that makes sense in, as a guy who's looking to do the work of the people of Illinois.

BLAGOJEVICH: Again, you have to judge someone by the full context --

MCFADDEN: You tell me what the context is --

BLAGOJEVICH: -- and again, by the actions.

MCFADDEN: But that's not the troubling part of the quote, with all due respect. The troubling part of the quote is unless you get something of value, you'll just put yourself in the job.

BLAGOJEVICH: You know, political discussion, again, political discussions are part of the business, and you can take things out of context. You know, it wasn't long ago that President-elect Obama and Hillary Clinton made a deal that he was going to raise $10 million if she got out of the race. That was well-publicized. I've heard commentators on the news talk about the situation here in New York, and if Caroline Kennedy was the senator, if she might raise money for Governor Paterson.Those are political discussions. And I'm not suggesting that's what happened in mine, I'm just saying you can take some of these things out of context --

MCFADDEN: -- But you are suggesting. You're suggesting this is politics as usual, and you just got caught.

BLAGOJEVICH: I'm saying when the full story comes out, you'll see I did nothing wrong. No criminal wrongdoing.

MCFADDEN: So, this kind of talk would be OK, as long as you didn't act on it, is that what you're saying?

BLAGOJEVICH: That's a question you should ask lawyers.

MCFADDEN: I'm asking you, you're a lawyer.

BLAGOJEVICH: I'm saying if you explore things, and are willing to think outside the box, and you test a variety of different things, and you will do only the right thing, once you sort it out, that there's a process, that's part of what it takes to be a leader. And when the whole story comes out, that's what those conversations will show.

MCFADDEN: So, the context, at least in part, that you're urging us to consider, and urging the state legislature to consider, and at some point, at least I assume, a criminal court to consider, is that you could have said things that, had you acted upon them, would have been criminal or at least unethical. But unacted upon, they're simply considering all political options.

BLAGOJEVICH: You're right, I am a lawyer, I went to law school.

MCFADDEN: So did I.

BLAGOJEVICH: I got a C in constitutional law, which might have been one of my better grades, so maybe I'm the wrong person to ask. But again, I can tell you, I've done nothing wrong. No criminal activity, and when this is all said and done, I will be fully vindicated.

***

MCFADDEN: Governor, finally I want to ask about your wife because, willingly or not, she has been made a part of this, as well. Your wife has been characterized as Lady Macbeth, urging you on, pushing you forward as a matter of fact. Fair assessment of her?

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