From the Chicago Tribune:
Saying the Illinois House impeachment vote against him was “not a surprise,” a combative Gov. Rod Blagojevich defended his work in office and again asserted his innocence of any criminal wrongdoing, vowing to “continue to fight every step of the way.”
At a brief news conference Friday afternoon, Blagojevich sought to undermine the House vote by depicting himself as a public servant who does not deserve to be kicked out of office but rather should be recognized for saving lives.
Blagojevich said a hostile House had conspired to impeach him since shortly after his re-election in 2006.
“From the very moment of my re-election I’ve been engaged in a struggle with the House to get things done for people,” Blagojevich said, flanked by a dozen people who he said had benefited from his programs.
Blagojevich’s stand, while coming under extraordinary circumstances, was in many ways a classic response for a politician who has long portrayed himself as the people’s champion against enemies ranging from state bureaucrats to well-heeled lobbyists. The event was vintage Blagojevich, featuring the governor surrounded by women, children and senior citizens, and quoting poetry, this time from English poet Alfred Lord Tennyson.
But he did not address many of the actions lawmakers deemed worthy of impeachment.
He skirted allegations he tried to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama and did not address accusations he attempted to get Tribune editorial writers fired and traded support from his office in exchange for campaign contributions.
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, who is next in line for the state’s top office, said Blagojevich “is missing the point of the impeachment.”
Quinn said while expanding health care may have been “worthy,” Blagojevich was out of line by pushing his agenda without lawmakers’ approval.
In establishing the health theme, Blagojevich went jogging near his Ravenswood Manor home early Friday.
“He jogs before most press conferences—collects his thoughts,” said spokesman Lucio Guerrero.
Blagojevich said he is confident he will be cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.