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Guv reminded about Farrakhan aide

Wednesday, Mar 29, 2006

The governor appears to have a memory problem.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich says he didn’t know a top Nation of Islam official before he appointed her to serve on an anti-discrimination commission, but in a letter disputing his comments, the official says she met him twice before she was named to the commission.

In a March 2 letter to Blagojevich, commission member Claudette Marie Muhammad said she was “very, very, very disappointed” that the governor told reporters he was only recently aware she was on his Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes. Blagojevich made the remarks earlier while refusing to dismiss Muhammad in the wake of a controversial speech by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Five Jewish leaders quit the panel in response.

“Mr. Governor, your comment stating that you were unaware of my religious affiliation and the fact that I was a top aide to Minister Farrakhan is not true,” wrote Muhammad, who did not return telephone calls about the letter recently obtained by the Tribune. “You and I spoke. We took pictures … I have written to you numerous times, all the letters of which were on our Nation of Islam stationery and, when I signed my name, I always indicated `Chief of Protocol to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’ as my title.” […]

An aide to the Democratic governor said he meets and appoints so many people that he can’t possibly be expected to remember them all.

Read the whole thing. The photographs don’t appear to be posted online anywhere, but I’m sure they’lll surface soon. The photo and a video story from CBS2 can be found here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Beowulf - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 8:15 am:

    I can’t imagine that this denial by Blagojevich of knowing this lady beforehand is any surprise to anybody. The Governor of Illinois is driven by one overwhelming character trait and that drives him to try and patronize each special interest group that he feels might help further his political career. If controversy erupts over a rash decision that he or his administration have made, he simply distances himself from that which might jeopardize his chances of political career advancement.

    Several of my Democrat friends acknowledged to me that Blagojevich has always had his eye set on the national political scene from the beginning. Governor of Illinois is simply a stepping stone that will enable him to reach for a higher office.

    If Blagojevich had been a passenger on the Titanic (Illinois and the Titanic actually might be a good analogy), when they called out for women and children first when boarding the lifeboats, Rod would have been there standing first in line dressed in drag.

  2. - ISU REP - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 8:20 am:

    I love those memory lapses…November can’t get here soon enough

  3. - DOWNSTATE - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 8:27 am:


  4. - puzzler - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 8:45 am:

    “An aide to the Democratic governor said he meets and appoints so many people that he can’t possibly be expected to remember them all.”

    No, that’s his staff’s job. And when you choose your staff based on how much time they spent on your election campaign or how much they or their Uncle Charlie gave to that campaign instead of finding qualified, experienced people, what do you expect?

  5. - Niles Township - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 8:55 am:

    What a surprise! GRod can forget anything or give that dumb staring look he gives pretty much on demand. He still has not done the right thing and either demanded her resignation or disbanded the commission. The state will not be at a loss if this commission dissovles. We still have the Human Rights Commission. JBT has been visible at Jewish causes over her terms as Treasurer. I am fairly certain that this whole thing will drive some votes and contributions her way that might normally go Dem. Too bad we can’t split out vote (like in the old days) because I’d go JBT & Pat Quinn in a second. I’m not a fan of Birkett. Plus can you imagine JBT and PQ in the same meeting. That would be worth the price of admission!

  6. - grand old partisan - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 8:59 am:

    It’s about time someone gave the Gov a taste of his own medicine and threw him under the bus.

    What I still don’t get is: even if it was true that Blago never met with her, and he had nothing to do with her appointment, why would that be any better? Why have ‘Governor’s Commission’ on something if the Governor can’t be bothered to actually know who is being appointed to it? Isn’t that just an admission that the Commission is a worthless waste of taxpayer money (the Commissioners don’t get paid, but the Executive Director does pretty well).

  7. - Randall Sherman - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 9:00 am:

    Perhaps on the morning of November 8th, after his tearful concession speech and a good night’s sleep, Rod Blagojevich can find the time to check out classes on how one can improve one’s memory!

  8. - Levois - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 9:07 am:

    If he doesn’t remember he could just say that instead of being considered a liar by just saying that they never met. That just opened him up good. I don’t think he has the testicular virility to even make it on the national scene either.

  9. - GRod for Prez? Canada sure sounds nice... - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 9:35 am:


    Mos of Rod’s staff wasn’t on the campaign, he either tossed them aside, sent them to various other agencies.

    The fact is that had he kept the folks around him that got him to where he is, this issue–and many of the other foul ups that he has tossed his staff under the bus for–may have been averted.

    That’s not his style…you can see that everyday. His first action is to always use his people and then discard them.

    As far as national politics go, if GRod ever makes it to the national stage Canada and Mexico will need to shut their borders…China and India would lick their lips economically, and the rest of the world would say “George Bush really was smart”

  10. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 9:56 am:

    Poor Blago. The black community does seem to be piling on these days.

    On the other hand, Blago is so self absorbed that I can believe he would forget Ms. Muhammed. For him, it’s me me me me…..all the time.

  11. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 11:24 am:

    Blagojevich sees his job as a stepping stone to bigger things, so he doesn’t have a lot of interest in doing what his job requires of him on a daily basis. He is busy dreaming of greater glory, instead of being a governor.

    This man is a fine campaigner, but we are discovering that he is all facade. He has been a very poor administrator, and instead of making the state better off under his stewardship, is dumping the fiscal problems with their huge debts to the governors following him.

    He’s all talk. His programs do not save money, do not have the fiscal support to enact them, and sometimes we see no legislation proposed to support a political position he’s trying to prove to us he believes in.

    The guys winging it, and it is very embarrassing to see. Besides raising campaign funds, what does he do all day?

    We are accustomed to having a vacant governor’s mansion and lack of presence in the state capital, so maybe we’re ready just to leave the entire office vacant for a while. Having no governor just can’t be as bad as having Blagojevich popping off stupid statements to placate voters every day. He is an empty suit.

  12. - ChicagoCynic - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 11:34 am:

    Let’s stipulate that the Governor is not pro-hate. In fact, I believe he is for all the children of the world, that they may live together in peace and harmony and grow up soon to write $50,000 campaign contributions to Friends of Rod.

    But his handling of this present conflagration does indicate that while he may boast of his testicular virility, he is at best, less than gifted in the head above his shoulders.

    Get him off his talking points and he talks himself right into trouble.

    He has now managed to alienate both the Jewish community and the African American community.

    Why is it so many of the wry observers of this administration see these things coming up the road while Team Blago seems to be like distracted drivers on I-55–no doubt driving away from the Capitol–talking on their cell phones, balancing a hot coffe and a crawler and, of course, checking their hair in the rear view mirror.

    I for one am grateful. And I have to admit, this political gapers block has been thoroughly enjoyable.

  13. - LittleEgypt - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 11:52 am:

    I believe Blago was not in favor of giving this lady the boot from the commission. Perhaps her revelation will now give him a reason to do so, not that he didn’t already have one. Poor Rod. He’s way to young to be having “senior moments” but that seems to have been a problem of his throughout his tenure.

  14. - Gregor Samsa - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 2:08 pm:

    This kind of blunder will happen when you surround yourself with expensive freelance photographers and cameramen 24/7/365. Man, that guy likes to see himself. Chances are he’ll look at that posted photo and not think twice about his lapse but just jot a note to be more carerful how he parts his coiff.

  15. - Paul Powell - Wednesday, Mar 29, 06 @ 4:45 pm:

    Tisk, tisk, tisk or is it Tusk, Tusk, Tusk?

  16. - OH MY - Thursday, Mar 30, 06 @ 6:45 pm:

    “Perhaps on the morning of November 8th, after his tearful concession speech and a good night’s sleep, Rod Blagojevich can find the time to check out classes on how one can improve one’s memory!”

    Early on the Governor proclaimed that he has a GREAT memory - claimed he can remember lists of names with his memory techniques - Jim Leach challenged him to come on the radio and show his powerful recall but the Governor was “busy”…. I LOVE that he can’t remember - but she CAN! she has names, places, dates and times - OH MY!

  17. - Northwesternite - Tuesday, Jul 4, 06 @ 10:00 pm:

    If Blagojevich seriously wants us to think that he didn’t know who Sister Claudette was linked to, then isn’t it just dreadfully obvious that he cannot do his research and hence, is too careless to be elected again?

    We’ve got a North Korean dictator getting testy, a threat from international terrorists that we need to be concerned about, we’ve had some thugs allegedly plotting to blow up the Sears Tower, and yet Governor Blagojevich cannot pull himself away from his hairdryer long enough to go and do a better background check as far as who he’s appointing to his various panels??

    This man is, in my humble opinion, too careless to govern Illinois.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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