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Shields and Brooks Weigh Illinois, RNC Actions

Columnists Mark Shields and David Brooks consider the Republican National Committee's selection of a new chairman and Illinois politics following the impeachment of Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    And now, in the other news of the day, the new governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn, vowed to clean up state government. He made that pledge a day after former Governor Rod Blagojevich was removed from office by the State Senate for abuse of power. Quinn held a news conference in Springfield, his first since being sworn in last evening.

  • GOV. PAT QUINN, D-Ill.:

    We've had a body blow to our politics and government in the last seven weeks and two days, but that's over. Today is a beginning, a start. And that's what we're going to do. We're going to start to fumigate state government from top to bottom to make sure that it has no corruption. We're going to work hard at that.

  • JIM LEHRER:

    President Obama welcomed the transition in his home state. In a statement last night, he said Illinois had been crippled for months by the crisis in leadership. But now, he said, "that cloud has lifted."

    The Republican National Committee today elected its first black chairman, Michael Steele. The former lieutenant governor of Maryland defeated four challengers over six rounds of balloting. They included the current chairman, Mike Duncan, who dropped out after the first three rounds.

    Steele said Republicans want to be inclusive, but he warned, "Those who wish to obstruct, get ready to get knocked over."

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