Obama calls on Blagojevich to step down

Dec. 10, 2008 at 1:22 PM
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CHICAGO, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has joined the loud chorus calling for Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to resign in the wake of corruption charges.

Robert Gibbs, incoming White House press secretary, said Obama agrees with others "that under the current circumstances it is difficult for the governor to effectively do his job and serve the people of Illinois," The Washington Post reported.

A federal complaint accused Blagojevich of trying to sell or barter Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat for his personal and financial gain, among other things. Blagojevich has denied the accusations.

Gibbs said Obama thinks the Illinois General Assembly should take over the matter of selecting a new U.S. senator from Illinois. The Legislature, with the House expected to convene next week, should "consider the issue and put in place a process to select a new senator that will have the trust and confidence of the people of Illinois," Gibbs said.

After the news of the indictment and arrest Tuesday, Obama said he was "saddened and sobered" by the news, but stopped short of calling for Blagojevich's resignation. The Obama transition team worked to distance itself from Blagojevich, with whom relations were strained.

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