“I think about my parents a lot. I think about a lot of people I’ve met along the way.” Governor Rod Blagojevich is doing his Mr. Smith Goes to Washington routine in Springfield on what is expected to be the last day of his impeachment trial. “I met a woman who told me the story of her day-to-day life,” he says. She lives in Chicago “out back of the yards” and is “up before dawn” to kiss her boys goodbye and go out “in the darkness before dawn” to ride a bus and train to work to support them. For people like her, “I push too hard maybe” against “gridlock” in the Legislature, he says. This seems to be as much as he will admit.
Blagojevich claims the evidence is not sufficient to convict him even though “there’s a sense that it would be better if I’m not here.” He asks the lawmakers to acquit him, “or give me a chance to bring my witnesses [and] evidence in” first. “Walk a mile in my shoes,” he pleads. “What happens to me can happen to you.” He appeals again to have his witnesses brought in — “they haven’t done anything wrong, either.” (These may be coded messages of some sort.)
He also asks them not to bring this “shame” upon his daughter. Also, that “this is not Richard Nixon in Watergate… I want all the evidence heard.” He thanks them for their attention, apologizes for “all this,” reminds them of all they’ve achieved together, he and they, in education, taxes, etc. “Give me the chance to stay here so we can roll up our sleeves and continue to do good things.”
He ends to complete silence. Both parties request a caucus and the senate adjourns for it, to return in an hour or so.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 29, 2009