Burris 'fine,' but Obama backs Senate Dems

CHICAGO, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- President-elect Barack Obama restated his support of the Senate Democrats' plan not to seat his successor, even though Roland Burris is a "fine public servant."

Burris, 71, a former Illinois attorney general, was appointed by embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who defied calls that he not appoint someone to fill the Senate seat vacated by the president-elect. The Senate Democratic Caucus said it would not seat anyone appointed by the Illinois governor, who was arrested Dec. 9 on federal corruption accusations, including one that he tried to sell Obama's open Senate seat to the highest bidder.


"Roland Burris is a good man and a fine public servant," Obama said in a statement late Tuesday, "but the Senate Democrats made it clear weeks ago that they cannot accept an appointment made by a governor who is accused of selling this very Senate seat. I agree with their decision ... ."

Obama expressed disappointment that Blagojevich ignored the Senate Democrats' warning.

"I believe the best resolution would be for the governor to resign his office and allow a lawful and appropriate process of succession to take place," Obama said. "While Governor Blagojevich is entitled to his day in court, the people of Illinois are entitled to a functioning government and major decisions free of taint and controversy."


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