Blagojevich Waxes Poetic About Injustice

In an interview with The Associated Press embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich says he did nothing wrong and deserves a fair trial. Video by AP
By Dana Milbank
Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rod Blagojevich may be about to lose the "gov" before his name, but the man's entertainment skills are unimpeachable.

Yesterday, as his trial opened in Springfield, the Illinois governor was on set in New York with the women of "The View."

"He does a fabulous Nixon impression!" Joy Behar told her co-hosts.

"Who said that?" Blagojevich responded, looking uneasy.

Behar poked the governor, seated next to her on the couch. "Just say, 'I am not a crook' to us. Do it!" When Blagojevich declined, Behar tousled his ample hair. "Come on -- you got the hair for it and everything," she urged. "Go like this: I am not a crook!" Behar made victory signs with both hands.

"I'm not going to do that," the soon-to-be-former governor said. "But let me make this perfectly clear," he said, raising a finger in the air. "I didn't do anything wrong. I'm not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing."

"We have to go," Whoopi Goldberg told the disgraced pol. Behar mussed his hair again.

His lawyer has quit, the mayor of Chicago calls him "cuckoo," and Blagojevich probably wasn't helping his case with a media tour yesterday that included a taped appearance on the "Today" show and live shots on "Good Morning America," "The View" and "Larry King Live." But he just might establish himself as an unofficial poet laureate of the criminal justice system.

At his news conference on Dec. 19, after federal prosecutors said they had him on tape trying to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat, Blagojevich quoted Rudyard Kipling:

"If you can keep your head when all about you/Are losing theirs and blaming it on you/If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you/But make allowance for their doubting, too . . ."

On Jan. 9, after he was impeached by the Illinois House, he came before the cameras with a little something from Alfred Lord Tennyson's "Ulysses." "Let me close by doing something that I probably won't do much after this, but I feel like doing it again," he said. "I want to quote another British poet." He then recited:

"One equal temper of heroic hearts/Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will/To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

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