Aug. 10, 2009 -- Illinois Sen. Roland Burris announced last month that he would not run to retain his Senate seat next year, but in his first television interview since making that decision, Burris told ABC News he could change his mind.
"You never say never," Burris told ABC News in a "Subway Series" interview for the ABC News program "Top Line." The "Subway Series," which debuts on Monday, features interviews with senators and other political leaders on board the Capitol Hill subway.
"What I'm still hearing," Burris said, is "people from all over the country and they are saying, 'Don't give up that seat.'"
Nobody took a more unusual route to the Senate than Burris, who is only the sixth African American in U.S. history to serve in the Senate.
After he was appointed by disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to the seat vacated by Barack Obama, Democratic Senate leaders did everything they could to try to block his appointment, turning him away on a cold, rainy day in January as a large group of news cameras and reporters swarmed around him.
"What was going through my head was, 'Gee whiz this must be pretty important,'" Burris said when asked about the day he was first turned away and denied his seat by the Senate leadership. "The fact that I did not get seated was certainly disappointing and it was challenging."
Burris said he feels no bitterness towards his Democratic colleagues who tried to keep him out of the Senate.
Asked about his party-line voting record, Burris said: "Well, it just so happens on every issue that has come up the party has agreed with me."
Burris Talks About Controversial Mausoleum
Burris also spoke, for the first time publicly, about the large mausoleum he has had built for himself at Chicago's Oak Woods Cemetery. The marble mausoleum includes an exhaustive list of professional accomplishments chiseled in stone beneath the words, "Trail Blazer."
"I'm an estate planner and I do pre-planning for peoples' estates. So how could I have your estate pre-planned if mine isn't?" Burris said. "Plus it takes a major responsibility off of my family. That's all done, and the cemetery management insisted that because of my history and my past that there be a record and a resume of the accomplishments."