PI Original Josh Kalven Tuesday December 30th, 2008, 11:18am

Just Two Weeks Ago, Burris Called Blago Allegations "Appalling" And "Reprehensible" (UPDATED)

Wow.  Just out from the Tribune: Gov. Rod Blagojevich is expected today to name former Illinois Atty. Gen. Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate. The action comes despite warnings by Democratic Senate leaders that they ...

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Wow.  Just out from the Tribune:

Gov. Rod Blagojevich is expected today to name former Illinois Atty. Gen. Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate.

The action comes despite warnings by Democratic Senate leaders that they would not seat anyone appointed by the disgraced governor who faces criminal charges of trying to sell the post, sources familiar with the decision said.

Burris announced his interest in the seat at a December 13 press conference.  And he didn't pull any punches with regards to the governor.  He described Blagojevich's alleged efforts to sell the Senate appointment as "pretty appalling" and "just reprehensible."  He also endorsed Attorney Gen. Lisa Madigan's effort at the time to get the Illinois Supreme Court to remove the governor from office, describing Blagojevich as "incapacitated."  Here's video, via CBS2:

Burris also made clear at the presser that he is only interested in filling out the rest of the current term and would not run for reelection in 2010.

UPDATE (11:54 am): Blagojevich is going to make a statement at 2 p.m.

UPDATE II (12:16 pm): Politico's Ben Smith reports that an aide to Harry Reid said the Senate Majority Leader views the Burris appointment as "unacceptable." 

UPDATE III (12:30 pm): Meanwhile, on MSNBC just now, Lynn Sweet said that someone close to Burris had told her that he is not ruling out running for reelection in 2010.  

UPDATE IV: (1:08 pm): CF is reporting that Secretary of State Jesse White's office will not certify the appointment.

UPDATE V (1:25 pm): Harry Reid released the following statement:

It is truly regrettable that despite requests from all 50 Democratic Senators and public officials throughout Illinois, Gov. Blagojevich would take the imprudent step of appointing someone to the United States Senate who would serve under a shadow and be plagued by questions of impropriety. We say this without prejudice toward Roland Burris's ability, and we respect his years of public service. But this is not about Mr. Burris; it is about the integrity of a governor accused of attempting to sell this United States Senate seat. Under these circumstances, anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic Caucus.

UPDATE VI (1:47 pm): From the AP:

White says he won't certify anything Blagojevich does to fill the Senate seat once held by President-elect Barack Obama.

White issued a statement today saying he can't accept any paperwork from Blagojevich on the Senate seat "because of the current cloud of controversy surrounding the governor."

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