- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 27, 2008

CHICAGO | Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Friday that if what he’s done as governor is an impeachable offense, he’s living on the “wrong planet” and is in the “wrong place.”

Speaking to a WLS-TV reporter outside a Chicago law office, the governor said he was hired to fight for the people of Illinois and that’s what he’s been doing.

The interview marked the first time Mr. Blagojevich has spoken to the media since giving a defiant three-minute speech last Friday in which he said he’ll fight the forces against him until he takes his last breath.

The 52-year-old Democrat is charged with scheming to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder. Federal prosecutors built their case against the governor using wiretapped conversations riddled with profanity.

“Look, if I’d have known people were listening, I probably wouldn’t have said some of the things you say in private conversations,” Mr. Blagojevich said Friday. “But I think there’s probably tens of millions of people across America that talk like that from time to time.”

Mr. Blagojevich has ignored ongoing calls to step down. He spoke Friday as the committee of legislators investigating whether he should be impeached prepared to reconvene in Springfield on Monday. The group’s chairwoman, state Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, said members were “still doing due diligence.”

The governor’s attorney, Ed Genson, said he will provide the committee with a list of 25 of Mr. Blagojevich’s accomplishments that will render the idea of impeachment ridiculous, according to WLS-TV. Mr. Blagojevich said the wiretap recordings show him working for the people of the state.

“Even in this process, without saying too much, that was all about trying to end up with the right decision that could do the most things for the people of Illinois, and when the full truth is told, you will see precisely that,” Mr. Blagojevich said.

“If somehow that’s impeachable, then I’m on the wrong planet and I’m living in the wrong place,” he said.

Mrs. Currie’s committee has yet to rule on a request from Mr. Genson to subpoena incoming Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and more than a dozen others, including Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. Mr. Genson has said their testimony would also prove Mr. Blagojevich’s innocence.

U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said earlier this week that lawmakers’ interviews of current or former members of Mr. Blagojevich’s staff might jeopardize his criminal investigation.

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