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Blagojevich: Feds’ alleged taping “smells like Nixon and Watergate”

Monday, Dec 8, 2008

* Via the Tribune’s raw video of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s press conference, we learn that the governor addressed the Tribune’s report that the feds taped some of his conversations…

“If anybody wants to tape my conversations, go right ahead, feel free to do it. I appreciate anybody who wants to tape me openly and notoriously. And those who feel like they wanna sneakily and wear taping devices, I would remind them that it kinda smells like Nixon and Watergate.”

Not sure I quite get that Watergate point, unless the taping was done illegally.

* More…

“This is America. I’d appreciate if you want to tape my conversations, give me a heads-up and let me know.”

That’s not the way prosecutors do things, but whatever.

* On the Tribune revelation that lobbyist and longtime friend John Wyma’s cooperation helped the feds record the guv…

“The Tribune was wrong and very well may have defamed him.”

* And the governor sees a bright side to the taping…

“The good news is, if they’re going to those lengths and extents, if in fact that’s true, that would suggest all the past has been pretty good.”

* When asked about the dark cloud hanging over him…

“I think there’s nothing but sunshine hanging over me.”

* NEW: More quotes at the Tribune.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Pat collins - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 12:40 pm:

    nothing but sunshine hanging over me

    I think the sunshine source is located somewhat lower than that.

  2. - 2ConfusedCrew - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 12:52 pm:

    Seems like a good time for this:
    Profile of the Sociopath

    Glibness and Superficial Charm

    Manipulative and Conning
    They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

    Grandiose Sense of Self
    Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”

    Pathological Lying
    Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

    Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
    A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.

    Shallow Emotions
    When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.

    Incapacity for Love

    Need for Stimulation
    Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.

    Callousness/Lack of Empathy
    Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others’ feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.

    Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
    Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.

    Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
    Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet “gets by” by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.

    Not concerned about wrecking others’ lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.

    Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
    Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.

    Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
    Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.

    Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
    Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.

  3. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 12:53 pm:

    Very good, Pat.

    Yeesh, Nixon and Watergate? Not the history student, is he? I’m sure there are a lot of Mafia types who would have appreciated a heads up on being taped, as well. Interesting law-enforcement technique.

    I’ll give him credit, though. He’s out of the bunker and talking tough.

  4. - You Go Boy - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 12:53 pm:

    For some of the older readers, there was a goofy (and very un-PC song years ago: “They’re Coming to Take Me Away”…..excerpt, “They’re coming to take me away, hee-hee ha-ha ho-ho, to the Funny Farm where Life Is Beautiful ALL THE TIME….” Why does that song come to mind after reading this particular item???

  5. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 12:55 pm:

    Let me get this straight. The Gov. thinks that when the FBI tapes someone they should tell them???

    “Good morning Governor Blagojevic. This is Agent Smith with the FBI. Just wanted to let you know we’ve tapped your phones and wired a couple of your friends. Please feel free to carry on as you have and when you are asking for contributions in exchange for appointments, speak clearly and directly into the microphone.”

    That’s gonna happen.

  6. - OneMan - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 1:17 pm:

    That sunshine over you is the focused light from the big old magnifing glass the feds have on you.

  7. - Secret Square - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 1:18 pm:

    You Go, it might be because Blago might as well call himself Napoleon XIV.

  8. - Here Comes the Bus - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 1:19 pm:

    It is unreal how he can’t help tossing others under the bus at will.

    First, he throws a gratuitous shot at Gutierrez - “With regard to the scrutiny, everybody in any high place is under scrutiny, and all you’ve got to do is read (the Tribune) again today and you’ll see that there are a lot of others as well.”

    Then, he throws in Rahm for good measure - “That’s the John Wyma I know and its the John Wyma that Rahm Emmanuel knows and a lot of other people know.”

    He is a class(less) act.

  9. - Excessively rabid - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 1:21 pm:

    Sociopath is more of a characterization than a diagnosis (it sure fits, though). Had a conversation with a medical professional a while back where an actual diagnosis was mentioned. Unfortunately I don’t remember all of it but it ended “…with narcissistic personality disorder”. Job one in the new legislative session: remove this bozo.

  10. - Carl Nyberg - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 1:37 pm:

    While Nixon did order the FBI to illegally tape record and infiltrate political opponents, including anti-war groups this wasn’t what the Watergate scandal was about.

    The case was made against Nixon during the Watergate scandal because Nixon recorded himself in the Oval Office. These tapes established Nixon was involved in the burglary at the Watergate Hotel and that he had lied about his involvement.

    So, I’m not seeing the parallel Blagojevich is making to Watergate.

  11. - Dan S, a Voter and Cubs Fan - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 1:48 pm:

    If he allegedly received a “C” in constitutional law, what pray tell did he get in history?

  12. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 1:55 pm:

    Thank you Carl…took the words right out of my mouth.

    Aside from that, what idiot of an elected official voluntarily compares himself to Richard Nixon?

    I think the pressure is starting to get to our teflon gov.

  13. - Anonymous45 - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 2:04 pm:

    Like from the scene in “When Harry Met Sally” without the groaning, all I can say is “I’ll have what he’s having…”

  14. - ArchPundit - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 2:08 pm:

    We forget that when you get past the sleaze adn corruption, he’s also a moron. Trying to make sense of what he is saying assumes that there is any sense there.

  15. - North of I-80 - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 2:09 pm:

    IL overhear law is 2-party consent while Federal law is 1-party consent. Think he understands? In his statement, he GAVE his CONSENT to be overheard in future. Nixon analogy is mysterious…. are things coming apart up there?

  16. - the Patriot - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 2:20 pm:

    Two words…”insanity defense.”

  17. - Carl Nyberg - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 2:21 pm:

    Perhaps this is what Blagojevich means….

    He’s saying the feds engaging in surveillance of him as part of a criminal investigation is like Nixon ordering burglars to break into Dem Party headquarters.

    I disagree with the analogy. Obviously there’s a difference between law enforcement agencies conducting an investigation of a potential crime and getting judicial approval for surveillance based on probable cause and a politician assembling a team of criminals to break into his opponent’s campaign office.

    So, Blagojevich’s analogy might not reflect complete ignorance of history. It’s merely ignorant of criminal law and procedures.

  18. - Downstate weed chewing hick - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 2:23 pm:

    Unethical and stupid is a bad combination. One or the other we could live with but this just not working.

  19. - Captain Flume - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 2:36 pm:

    What other response would anyone expect the Governor, or anyone who has been the subject of speculation as to the legality his/her activities, to say? Would anyone on this blog, given the same type of coverage say anything much different? Honestly? Really?

  20. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 2:38 pm:

    ===Would anyone on this blog, given the same type of coverage say anything much different? Honestly? Really?===

    So, the Nixon thing was okeedokee with you? What about the request that he be given a heads-up before the G tapes him? OK with thee? Honestly? Really?


  21. - A Citizen - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 2:40 pm:

    Oh Look! A kitty wearing a wire.

  22. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 2:52 pm:

    In the federal investigative system you only need one-party consent to record a conversation. No court order is needed. This superior tool is one reason most corruption prosecutions are federal. In the state system you’d need to get a court order from a Judge,and show probable cause, which is slow, often difficult, and more apt to leak out.

  23. - Captain Flume - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 2:59 pm:

    Political answers to political questions are always deflective. Really.

  24. - Carl Nyberg - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 3:00 pm:

    Capt Flume, let me try an alternative to the Blagojevich response.

    “I’m glad the U.S. Attorney has succeeded in investigating and prosecuting corruption.

    “I am disheartened and ashamed that some of this corruption was done to benefit my campaign committee.

    “While I pledge to cooperate in providing information that will clarify what did and didn’t happen, on the advice of counsel I am also invoking my rights as a U.S. citizen on some matters. My primary concern is that investigators not get partial information that may look damaging, but actually has a reasonable explanation.

    “While being under investigation is stressful I am calmed by my confidence that I will be vindicated. I did not do anything illegal. I am confident that the U.S. Constitution and a competent legal defense team will protect me from being erroneously convicted. And I expect the facts will keep me from being erroneously prosecuted.

    “I understand investigators have a job to do. And I want them to move forward quickly. The sooner they complete their investigation the sooner this cloud will be removed from my administration.

    “I am hopeful the U.S. Attorney will be able to redeploy the investigators now being used to investigate me to other cases where corruption really hurt people.”

  25. - Speaking At Will - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 3:14 pm:

    Good ole Rod rides again! Yeehaw!

    As usual, Rod doesn’t call a press conference to deal with the Tribune story, he goes in to get his press pop with the factory workers, then answers a few questions.

    Anyone who was innocent of all these allegations would be chomping at the bit to get behind a microphone and lay out all the details of why they are innocent and address this thing head on.

    Perhaps the media has been more hard on Blago than he deserves, but he hasnt dont anything to help his own cause.

  26. - enrico depressario - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 3:20 pm:

    I want some of what Rod’s smokin’!

  27. - DuPage Dave - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 3:23 pm:

    I think he meant to say: “Nothin’ but sunshine headed my way, zip-a-dee doo-dah, zip-a-dee ay.”

  28. - Captain Flume - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 3:27 pm:

    Carl Nyberg: your answers work, too. And with the same spirit of honest non-commitment as the answers he is quoted as giving. I think he even may have used the less colorful approach you supplied here in some of his previous denials of culpability. But allusions to Watergate are far more stunning, aren’t they? And if you are in a position that whatever you say is met with a few grains of salt (well, more than a few), why not throw out the smelliest red herring you can come up with?

  29. - Speaking At Will - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 3:33 pm:


    Rod just appeared on Fox News w/ Brit Hume via the phone. Talked all the same talk about the Factory workers.

  30. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 3:33 pm:

    A history lesson to the governor:

    Nixon taped Oval Office and telephone conversations. Some of those taped knew (Haleman, Erlichman), most did not.

    The significance of the tapes was not the ethical question of taping someone unknowingly, but as evidence in both criminal and Congressional inquiries.

    Since the first transcripts in 1974 to regular releases from the Archives to this day, the Nixon Tapes are fascinating, contemporaneous, unfiltered history by the participants. I also recommend tapes released to date from both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.

    The conversations between Johnson and Sen. Rusell regarding Vietnam are heartbreaking, regarding the politics of Civil Rights extraordinary. With Vietnam, Johnson saw no path to victory and no way to pull out. With Civil Rights, he saw himself delivering the formerly Solid South to the GOP for a generation by doing the right thing.

    The Kennedy Tapes, regarding the Cuban Missile Crisis, showed how the Best and Brightest were quite logically marching into MADD with the Soviets more for political than strategic reasons (nuclear subs were just about online). A very near thing.

  31. - Brian - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 3:47 pm:

    “Just look on the bright side of life” [whistling]…

  32. - Anon - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 3:49 pm:

    I think this old SNL sketch defines Blago’s thinking (albeit dellusional):

    Darrly Hammond dressed as Bill Clinton. The scene: Press conference on the White House lawn. Pres. Clinton walks up to the microphone, states “I am bulletproof,” smiles, bites lip with a “thumbs up,” and leaves stage right.

    I think this just repeats in Blago’s mind over and over again.

  33. - Vote Quimby! - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 3:59 pm:

    DPD: The first song I thought of was ‘Sunshine Day’ by the Brady Bunch kids….

  34. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 4:16 pm:

    I do think the Trib. misquoted him. They have him saying he is “always lawful” when he clearly meant “always awful.”

  35. - phocion - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 4:21 pm:

    “I think there’s nothing but sunshine hanging over me.”

    Aside from the breathtaking scale of denial here…does sunshine “hang over” someone? I mean, shouldn’t it be “shining on” the Governor. Sorry, just a linguistic nit to pick.

  36. - Levois - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 4:28 pm:

    Teflon governor? What teflon? I don’t think this man have teflon. It might be more likely that flies stick to him faster than the truth!

  37. - ArchPundit - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 4:39 pm:

    ===#DPD: The first song I thought of was ‘Sunshine Day’ by the Brady Bunch kids….

    Seriously? Check out the front page of AP right now. Same thought.

  38. - How Ironic - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 4:46 pm:

    I was thinking more along the lines of Patsy Cline “Crazy”.

    I’ll bet if the day wasn’t over we coulda come up with more songs about the gov.

  39. - VanillaMan - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 4:49 pm:

    I’m certain that our governor believes we trust and believe him or he wouldn’t have given a statement.

    He’s preaching to that 13% choir, isn’t he?

  40. - some former legislative intern - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 5:14 pm:

    Nixon bugged himself. And “it kinda smells like Nixon and Watergate?” Does that mean he sent his multitude of goons and hacks to ruin opponents’ campaigns? (He certainly hired enough of them) He sent Cubans to break into JBT’s therepist’s office? Besides the fundraising scandals, these are the types of activities Nixon and his men engaged in.

    So, given the Governor’s statement, is something more that the Feds ought to be investigating that we are unaware of?

  41. - Speaking At Will - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 5:24 pm:

    While we are on the songs dedicated to the governor. I think this recent hit by Gnarles Barkley is particularly perfect.

    I think I will work on a music video with rod pics and this music as a back ground.

    check it out at

  42. - Limerick - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 5:59 pm:

    The governor’s unending spin,
    Is a claim that he’s free from all sin.
    But it sure won’t be Sun,
    If learn what he’s done,
    ‘Cuz the Feds have been listening in!

  43. - Dan S, a Voter and a Cubs Fan - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 9:09 pm:

    Ya Rod I’m sure Fitz will give you a heads up on the ivestigation going forward. You have nothing to fear but the truth. Here kitty, kitty, kitty.

  44. - Gregor - Monday, Dec 8, 08 @ 10:28 pm:

    You know, I remember exactly where I was when I heard Nixon’s resignation speech. I’m going to have a similar indelible memory when Rod’s indictment, conviction, and impeachment get announced.

    So yeah, there are parallels, I guess.

  45. - Nuance - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 6:47 am:

    Sunshine above me, bs below me!

  46. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 8:57 am:

    I wonder if Pat Quinn’s fundraiser Monday night in downtown Chicago will be well attended?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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