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Defiant Blagojevich Names Appointee for Senate Seat

Embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich appointed former state Attorney General Roland Burris to fill Barack Obama's Senate seat Tuesday, prompting objections by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. Reporters mull the move.

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    Next, a surprise appointment in Illinois. Here's more of that press conference with embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his pick to fill President-elect Obama's Senate seat, Roland Burris.

    They were also joined at the podium by Democratic Congressman Bobby Rush.

    GOV. ROD BLAGOJEVICH (D), Illinois: The people of Illinois are entitled to have two United States senators represent them in Washington, D.C. As governor, I am required to make this appointment. If I don't make this appointment, then the people of Illinois will be deprived of their appropriate voice and vote in the United States Senate.

    Therefore, I am here to announce my intention to appoint an individual who has unquestioned integrity, extensive experience, and is a wise and distinguished senior statesman of Illinois. This man actually once was an opponent of mine for governor.

    So I'm here today to announce that I am appointing Roland Burris as the next United States senator from Illinois.

  • ROLAND BURRIS, Senator-designate, Illinois:

    As the greatest nation in the history of the world, the United States is confronted with a crisis of faith in our own leadership capability and in our ability to bring understanding to nations who look to us for peace and prosperity.

    And the people of our great nation have told us, in no uncertain terms, that we are at a crossroads of confidence in our ability to return the ideals that make the United States the greatest nation in the world.

    Faced with these challenges and challenged with these crises, it is incomprehensible that the people of the great state of Illinois will enter the 111th Congress short-handed.

    REP. BOBBY RUSH (D), Illinois: Let me remind you that the state of Illinois and the people in the state of Illinois in their collective wisdom have sent two African-Americans to the U.S. Senate.

    We need to have not just one African-American in the U.S. Senate. We need to have many African-Americans in the U.S. Senate.