Spox: ‘Upbeat’ Blago Has ‘Bigger Things to Worry About’ than Calls for his Resignation

By Lindsey Ellerson

Dec 12, 2008 8:29am

ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe Reports: Two days after his arrest, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is "upbeat," "positive", and focused on leading the state of Illinois, not on widespread calls for his resignation, his spokesman said Thursday.

"He was upbeat, he was positive and I think he was trying to at least impart that for the staff and to let people know that we have to keep continuing to do our jobs, regardless of what’s going on around us," said spokesman Lucio Guerrero as Blagojevich spent a second straight day working at his Chicago office.

Speaking to Stacey Baca of ABC News’ Chicago affiliate WLS-TV, Guerrero said the governor might not even be aware of all the numerous politicians – including President-elect Barack Obama – who want him to step down.

"I don’t know even if he knows about those things," said Guerrero. "I mean, I think he’s got bigger things to worry about, like the state budget, the economy, things like that. Making sure the state continues to run and not those types of things."

Pressed that just hours earlier across town Obama had reiterated his call for Blagojevich’s resignation, Guerrero replied, "I don’t think that’s what he’s thinking about right now."

Instead, the governor is continuing to attend to business as usual, wrestling with the state’s unemployment and health insurance issues, not his own legal troubles.

"I think what he’s trying to do is at least give a signal that things are  – day to day, the operation isn’t affected, in particular for the staff," said Guerrero. "I mean, we have to remember that the staff works for the state of Illinois. We have to make sure that the needs of the people are still met, that people are still getting their unemployment checks, people who need health insurance are still getting health insurance and we want – the governor is trying to make sure that people realize that there’s still a sense of, trying to impart a sense of normalcy back in the office."

Guerrero said Blagojevich will also not let rock-bottom poll numbers result in his resignation, arguing that with the nation in a recession, "a lot of people are upset" with elected officials in general.

"During these times, nobody is happy with anything and that makes sense," Guerrero said. "I mean, we’re in a financial crisis, people are losing their jobs, so a lot of people are upset with a lot of their elected leaders. As for the resignation, I don’t know, he doesn’t really concern himself with polls. He never has."

"I don’t think he’s worried about it. I mean, he expects that when you’re the guy at the top, that that’s gonna be the take. People are going to come after you, that that’s what happens."

Noting that "the state economy isn’t just one person’s responsibilities", Guerrero also disputed that the governor’s situation was placing additional strains on Illinois’ financial crisis.

"Everybody is having to take a part in a little bit of getting us through this state, whether what’s going on around the governor or not," he said. "I mean, it’s a matter of getting the state through its crisis, this economic crisis and making sure that the state’s needs are still met. And that I think is why the governor is there today, to make sure that he sends a message from the top down that we have to continue to work for the people of the state."

Guerrero assured that at some point, Blagojevich will speak out about the criminal charges he’s facing, but offered no time frame as to when that might be.

"I know he’s obviously aware of the situation," Guerrero said. "When he’s ready to talk – and I’m sure he will – he’ll talk."

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