If there was a slim chance Roland Burris could escape Blagogate politically unscathed, a newly released FBI-wiretapped conversation between him and then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s fundraising brother, Robert Blagojevich, flushed it down the toilet of public opinion.
In the Nov. 13, 2008, wiretapped conversation, Burris told Robert Blagojevich he is interested in being appointed to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama. Burris said it would look bad if he directly raised money for the governor’s re-election campaign, but later agreed to “personally do something” such as write a check to the Blagojevich campaign. Burris also suggested having his law partner, Tim Wright, host a fundraiser for the governor rather than do so himself.
However, during damage control today, Burris said he never intended to do any of those things. Burris wants us to believe he is innocent of anything improper because he never got around to doing what he discussed with Robert Blagojevich.
“I did not intend to hold a fundraiser for the governor’s brother,” Burris told Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s “Hardball.” “We were seeking to placate the governor’s brother because, at that time, it was my intention not to alienate the governor’s brother. That’s all.”
So … Burris’s defense is that he lied to Robert Blagojevich. Seems the Illinois House impeachment committee, the U.S. Senate’s Democratic leaders, the media and, oh, all Illinois citizens weren’t the only people Burris told lies. Burris lied outright and lied through omission. But at least he’s consistent in his inconsistency.
Of course, Burris read aloud a prepared statement to reporters this morning (which you can find by clicking here) and then got cranky with them after they dared to question his truthfulness.
But it was Burris’s live interview on “Hardball” that really made the senator look bad. As MSNBC political analyst Jim Warren noted, Chris Matthews probably interrogated Burris harder than the U.S. Senate ethics committee did. I’m not sure why Burris agrees to do such interviews, considering he always comes across as a blustery buffoon who doesn’t have his story straight. (You can find the transcript of Matthews’ interview of Burris by clicking here.)
This latest development isn’t going to help Burris’s re-election chances, which weren’t very good to begin with.
“I’m not sure that his campaign fund of $845 is going to see much more money anytime soon,” Chicago Tribune political reporter Rick Pearson said on the WGN Midday News.
A rough election season is the least of Burris’s worries, though. He is being investigated for perjury during his testimony to the Illinois House impeachment committee.
“This is all part of a potential — potential — perjury charge against Burris,” Warren said on “Hardball.” “Does it rise to that level? I’m not sure.
“But what you have here is a guy who is being a 100 percent, unadulterated weasel.”