DURBIN: First, let me say this about the allegations against Senator Reid. It's an outrage, that the Blagojevich people, in the last days of their administration, facing impeachment in Springfield, are now flailing in every direction, trying to show defiance in the appointment of Roland Burris and attacking everybody in sight.
Harry Reid did in this circumstance what anyone would have done as majority leader of the Senate. He called the governor to discuss filling the vacancy. He's done that, of course, in the states of New York, in Colorado, and in Delaware. It is the normal thing. I did the same. I announced at a press conference I was going to speak with the governor.
But to think that this governor, on his way out, is now flailing in every direction, trying to attack everyone, is just plain wrong, and the people of Illinois see through it.
Now, the bottom line is this -- this is not about race. We are so proud in our state to have elected great African-Americans. The first in our history was Roland Burris, elected statewide, and then Jesse White, our secretary of state, and of course Barack Obama as the United States senator. We have a proud record in the land of Lincoln of electing African-American candidates to statewide office. There is no question about race. When we said at the beginning, Democratic senators said we are not going to seat an appointment of Governor Blagojevich, it was before he'd chosen anyone, black, white or brown. So it has nothing to do with race.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Senator, let me turn to the economic plan. President-elect Obama of course is going to meet with you and other congressional leaders tomorrow. Our next guest, Senator McConnell, the Republican leader of the Senate, has warned that this process should be transparent. Let me show you a little bit of what he said. He said that we hope that Democrats in Congress don't attempt to shut the American taxpayer out of this process by trying to pass a bill that hasn't been the subject of bipartisan review and that hasn't been available for public inspection.
Specifically, he and other Republican leaders and calling for public hearings in the appropriate committees, and for the details of this bill to be available online for the entire American public to read for a week before there's a vote.
You know that President-elect Obama has promised a more transparent government. Will you accede to these demands?
DURBIN: I can't tell you what the particulars are. I know that Senator Reid is meeting with Senator McConnell to discuss how we'll do this.
DURBIN: The bottom line is this. Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid both know that we can't pass the economic recovery plan that this nation desperately needs without bipartisan cooperation.
We've got to put aside a lot of the squabbling that in the past and come together under this new administration and new leadership, to get the American economy back on line.
We need to create good American jobs, investing in American workers. We need to have the kind of investments that will help us expand our energy opportunities. We have to make sure that we have health care investments which make it more affordable and safer for people to go to the hospital.
And we have to invest in our libraries and laboratories and classrooms, for the 21st century.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The other...
DURBIN: This economy is in a tenuous position.