- The Washington Times - Monday, December 29, 2008

CHICAGO | The lieutenant governor of Illinois said Sunday he is certain that scandal-plagued Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich will be out of office in less than two months.

Lt. Gov. Patrick J. Quinn, speaking from Chicago, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” he believes Mr. Blagojevich will be impeached and convicted by the Illinois legislature by Abraham Lincoln’s bicentennial birthday celebration on Feb. 12.

Mr. Blagojevich was arrested Dec. 9 and charged with scheming to swap President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat for profit, shaking down a hospital executive for campaign donations and other wrongdoing. The governor has declared his innocence and says he will fight the charges.

Mr. Quinn described Mr. Blagojevich as “isolated” in his decision-making and surrounded by a “tight palace guard” that “tells him what he wants to hear and not what he needs to know.”

The Democratic governor needs to know that “he’s disgraced himself, he’s disgraced the people of Illinois,” Mr. Quinn said.

The lieutenant governor said he hasn’t spoken to Mr. Blagojevich since August 2007.

Mr. Quinn would become governor if Mr. Blagojevich leaves office. He said he would call for a special election to fill Mr. Obama’s seat, rather than appoint a replacement.

The Illinois House committee investigating the possibility of impeachment is scheduled to meet again Monday. The panel rejected a request from the governor’s lawyer to subpoena two top advisers to Mr. Obama, the committee’s chairwoman, state Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, Chicago Democrat, said Saturday.

If the House approves impeachment, the Senate would hold a trial. It would take a two-thirds vote to remove the governor from office.

Mr. Quinn said Sunday that far more than the required two-thirds of the state’s senators are ready to convict.

Mr. Blagojevich has not given any indication that he will resign. He has been going to work and signing legislation since the charges were announced.

On Sunday, Mr. Blagojevich approved $2 million in grants for a statewide program that adds ramps and chair lifts for low-income seniors and people with disabilities.

Mr. Quinn said the governor’s daily routine since the charges has been a “pretense … that he’s doing his regular business.”

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