Saturday, January 03, 2009

Reid Tried To Dictate Senate Choice To Blago: No Blacks

A Sun-Times report today is likely to fuel the controversial decision of Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) to block the seating of Roland Burris as Gov. Rod Blagojevich's choice to fill Barack Obama's Senate vacancy. Sen. Reid and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) were recorded on government wiretaps contacting the governor to advise him on he should or should not appoint to the vacancy. The two white Senate leaders made it clear to the governor that several leading black candidates were unacceptable, including Congressmen Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Danny Davis, and Obama mentor, Senate President Emil Jones. Instead, Reid and Menendez urged Blagojevich to appoint Attorney General Lisa Madigan or state Veteran Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth, a disabled Iraqi War veteran. The Senate leaders believed the potential black candidates were unelectable according to the report. Reid isn't talking now about who he recommended his spokesman says because he doesn't want to embarrass anyone, but it is now Reid and Menendez who have egg on their faces:

“Of course Sen. Reid spoke to the governor of Illinois -- just as he spoke to the governors of New York and Colorado when senators from those states accepted jobs in the new administration,’’ Manley said. “It is part of his job as majority leader to share his thoughts about candidates who have the qualities needed to succeed in the Senate.”

Reid declined to reveal the specific names discussed, saying he didn’t want to embarrass anyone.

Though Menendez did talk with Blagojevich about the appointment, he “did not suggest any names and he did not discourage the appointment of anyone,’’ said Matt Miller, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee which Menendez chairs.

Senate Democrats are telling reporters they will physically block Roland Burris, Illinois' first statewide elected African-American official, if he attempts to take the Senate seat to which he was appointed last week by the governor. Instead, Democrats plan to refer his appointment to a committee to investigate until the clock runs out on Blagojevich. Democrats expect the Illinois General Assembly to wrap up its impeachment in the House and Senate trial by early February, officially removing the governor from office. Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, upon succeeeding Blagojevich as governor, would likely appoint Lisa Madigan to the seat to remove her as a potential contender for the 2010 gubernatorial race.


IndyPaul said...

The article report states that Reid made clear to Blago that he didn't want Jackson, Davis, or Jones appointed as he viewed them as unelectable. An analysis on shows that there is valid concern over the electibility of Jackson as compared with someone like Madigan, while Davis and Jones would be more unknown. The report does not state that Menendez mentioned any particular names in his call to Blagojevich.

At this point, the far more controversial move was Blagojevich's to appoint Burris. Ried had already said he would block any Blago appointee, so it can't be credibly claimed that moves to block Burris are racially motivated.

IndyPaul said...

On Meet The Press today, Ried denied telling Balgojevich that he didn't want any specific individuals appointed. He said Blago just made that up.

That's a pretty strong denial of what was said in a conversation Ried admits is likely on tape.