Obama: “Cloud Has Lifted” for Illinois

Illinois pols turn political page

There's strong reaction to Rod Blagojevich's closing argument at his impeachment trial and subsequent ouster from office, and many of Illinois' top elected officials say they look forward to working with Gov. Pat Quinn and hope to put the "sad chapter" of his predecessors' administration behind them.

"Today ends a painful episode for Illinois," President Barack Obama said in a statement.  "For months, the state had been crippled by a crisis of leadership. Now that cloud has lifted.  I wish Governor Quinn the best and pledge my full cooperation as he undertakes his new responsibilities."

In a statement issued shortly after the Illinois Senate voted to remove Blagojevich from office, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley said he congratulated Quinn on being sworn in, and said he was glad "this sad and tragic chapter in our state's history is behind us."

Daley said that it's time to look to the future, and time for Quinn and the legislature to begin rebuilding confidence in state government.

The mayor also said that it's time to get the Illinois economy moving again by passing a statewide capital bill to improve schools, highways and public transportation.

At a news conference in Springfield after the 59-0 vote at Blagojevich's impeachment hearing Thursday, Senate President John Cullerton said the decision wasn't a matter of "political expediency" or settling old scores, but was in the best interest of the residents of Illinois.
Cullerton said he voted to remove Blagojevich because the twice-elected governor was unable to govern, showed a disdain for the laws of Illinois and abused the trust of the people he was supposed to serve.
Cullerton also accused Blagojevich of showing a "self-aggrandizing absentee style of leadership" that was bad for Illinois.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan said she's committed to moving Illinois beyond "this sad chapter" and she pledged to work with Quinn to restore people's trust in government.

Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes said he supported the state Senate's decision to remove Rod Blagojevich from office.

State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias said Thursday's actions mark a "new beginning" and that the state now has a governor who values "collaboration over combativeness."

Shortly after Quinn took the oath of office, Secretary of State Jesse White congratulated him.

Sen. Roland Burris said his thoughts and prayers are with the Blagojevich family and with the people of Illinois.

In a statement, Burris said he stands behind the Senate's decision to remove Blagojevich from office.

"As I've repeatedly stated, the Governor must be held accountable for his actions to the legislature, in a court of law and to the people of the State of Illinois," Burris said.

Senate minority leader Christine Radogno said she was pleased with the outcome of the trial and thought the proceedings were held in a dignified, professional manner.

Earlier in the day, it seemed that more people around Chicago wanted to hear what Blagojevich had to say during the closing argument of his impeachment trial than President Barack Obama's inaugural address.

Customers at Abt Electronics in Glenview Thursday watched hundreds of Blagojevichs on hundreds of flat screen TVs as the governor repeated that he'd done nothing wrong and that he should not be removed from office.

Reaction to the speech at the store was split.

Some said the governor is "an idiot" for not addressing the specific charges against him. Others said it was unfair that Blagojevich wasn't allowed to call witnesses and they would be sorry to see him go down. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us