* When the cameras were on, Rod Blagojevich said he’d never resign, and wouldn’t even consider the matter. It was a different story when the cameras were off, however…
Contrary to public statements he’s made, Rod Blagojevich contemplated resigning as governor shortly before the Illinois Senate voted to boot him from office.
“He wanted to step aside, but he didn’t reach out to anybody” in state government, Blagojevich’s estranged father-in-law, Ald. Dick Mell (33rd), told the Chicago Sun-Times today in his first public comments since Blagojevich’s impeachment conviction.
Mell was reacting to a report in the Capitol Fax newsletter this morning that quoted anonymous sources saying that on Thursday — after the governor made his closing argument to the Senate in Springfield — Mell called Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) to relay a message that Blagojevich wanted to resign before a vote to oust him could be held.
Actually, I wrote that an “official close to Senate President John Cullerton” was contacted. [Adding: The Sun-Times has corrected its copy to reflect what I wrote. Thanks much to them.]
And I stand by my story.
* But the broader point is that after the governor said this to the Senate yesterday…
“Now, if I felt I did something wrong, I would have resigned in December. If I felt I had violated a law, I would meet my responsibilities, I would have resigned in December. I wouldn’t put my family through this, I wouldn’t put you through this and, most importantly, I wouldn’t put people, the people of Illinois, through this. But I didn’t resign then and I’m not resigning now because I have done nothing wrong.”
And then told reporters this last night…
During a news conference outside his Northwest Side house after the 59-0 impeachment vote, Blagojevich was asked point-blank if he’d considered resigning. “No, I did not,” he replied.
When the cameras were off, he not only thought about resigning, he offered it up.