Blago: Senate Seat Was a 'Last, Best Opportunity' | NBC Chicago
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Blago: Senate Seat Was a 'Last, Best Opportunity'

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    Former governor Rod Blagojevich testified Tuesday about the moment he knew he was being recorded by the FBI.

    "It was startling and shocking," he said.  "Not to mention, it's frightening and terrifying."

    At length, Blagojevich denied two of the primary scandals against him -- at Children's Hospital and the Illinois Tollway -- although in both places he admitted asking the principals to help him raise campaign cash.

    And then Blagojevich finally started talking about Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat.  He called it one of his last, best opportunities.

    He admitted that on big decisions he bounced around a lof of ideas.  There were, as he put it, good ones, bad ones, stupid ones, and ugly ones.

    He was asked about one call in particular, where he seemed to be interested in fundraising promises from Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

    The former governor insisted that Jackson was never a contender.

    "That's no way to make friends and influence people," he said.  "It was irritating.  He wasn't the person I thought he was."

    And again, he said his real intention was to appoint Attorney General Lisa Madigan to the seat in hopes of currying favor with his arch-enemy: Madigan's powerful father, House Speaker Michael Madigan.

    "She was the offspring of a foe," he said.  "She loved her father. They didn't love me, but that's OK.  That's politics."

    Blagojevich spent his first day on the stand last Thursday, in a tedious recitation of his life story.  He finally broached the first of the allegations against him, that he attempted to shake down a horse racing executive, during a half-day of testimony on Friday.

    While Blagojevich offered daily comment during this second trial, he is now operating under something of a self-imposed gag order, citing his ongoing testimony.

    For a play-by-play of Day 3 testimony, read our live blog.