Blago Took the Fall, But Wouldn't Jump

Flight back to Chicago had ex-governor kidding around

Rod Blagojevich's appearance on his front porch Thursday night allowed any interested parties to get a pretty good look at his current state of mind.  He remains fairly upbeat, considering he was booted out of office in an historic impeachment, and he maintains his innocence, saying he's done nothing wrong or illegal.

In fact, as he's been telling anyone who'll listen in the past week, he insists that everything he did as governor was for "the people who elected me two times."

The New York Times reported Friday that there were moments of laughter as he bid farewell to his staff in Springfield.

“I’m still governor for now, and I say you take the afternoon off!” the Times said he told employees, many of them tearful.

He kidded with people as he flew home to Chicago on the state's dime, just hours before the Illinois Senate voted to strip him of his power, as well.

"As the nine-seat airplane raced through the skies on Thursday somewhere between Springfield and here, an onboard telephone began to ring ... (Blago) instructed his aides not to answer. It might be the news ... that he had been removed from office and that he no longer controlled the state's thousands of employees or even, especially pertinent, the state-owned airplane taking him home."

"'I'll tell you what,' Mr. Blagojevich said, laughing, as the phone went on ringing. 'I'm not jumping out. Not for those people, no way. I don't like heights,'" the paper quoted him as saying.

Six years ago, Bagojevich was elected on a message of reform, but on Thursday, the State Senate unanimously voted him out of office.

It was the first time that an Illinois governor had been convicted in an impeachment trial.

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