Durbin: People Want ‘Blagojevich Burlesque to End’

By Theresa Cook

Feb 24, 2009 4:34pm

ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf reports:  Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said today that he would resign if he were in Roland Burris’ shoes. These are the ill-fitting shoes of a man who was appointed by an embattled governor to serve out two years of a Senate term. But after the embattled governor was thrown out of office, the new Senator became embattled himself when he came clean for not being on the up and up about asking for the seat. It’s a convoluted mess. "People want this Blagojevich burlesque to end," said Durbin. The two met for the first time since Burris filed a new affidavit and admitted to more extensive contact he had with associates of ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich before he was appointed to the seat last year. Durbin was on a fact-finding mission to Turkey, Greece and Cyprus last week while Burris was amending his story about how he lobbied for the Senate seat and being mobbed by reporters during what was supposed to be a downstate listening tour. "I told my colleague Sen. Burris that I was disappointed," said Durbin. "Disappointed that his testimony in Springfield was not complete, that it required a second affidavit to be filed, disappointed that he didn’t make a clear, accurate disclosure of all the circumstances surrounding his appointment until several weeks after the fact." "I asked him if he would be candidate in 2010 and he said he had not made up his mind as to whether he would be a candidate. I told him it would be extremely difficult for him to be successful in a primary or general election under the circumstances," said Durbin, who pointed to the personal pressure Burris is feeling from the legal jeopardy of a county prosecutor investigation and a Senate Ethics Committee inquiry into whether he perjured himself. Durbin said Burris has incurred "hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees already." "I told him that under the circumstances I would consider resigning if I were in his shoes. He said he would not resign. That was his conclusion." "Its now up to Sen. Burris to deal with the facts and challenges before him," said Durbin, who had called early on for a special election to replace Obama, but was forced to walk that suggestion back when state Democrats told him it would be too expensive. Durbin said he would not support Burris if he does run in 2010. But his advice, argued Durbin, has been proven to be of little consequence to Burris. "He contacted me before he was appointed by Gov. Blagojevich and I told him don’t do it. He did it anyway. My advice obviously doesn’t move him." But the two are still sitting Senators from the same state and Durbin said he will continue to work with Burris despite what has got to be an ever-more-awkward relationship between the two men.

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