Over the objections of President-elect Barack Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress, embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has chosen Plaxico Burress to replace Obama in the United States Senate.
The selection of Burress, the New York Giants’ star wide receiver who faces criminal charges after accidentally shooting himself in the leg last month, took lawmakers by surprise. Blagojevich, himself facing federal prosecution for corruption, was not expected to fill the vacant Senate seat, but he said that the opportunity to select Burress was “too good to pass up.”
“In Plaxico Burress, we have a man who has inspired millions of average Americans to dream that they too can someday make headlines – in both the sports section and the police blotter,” said Blagojevich. “Sure, he doesn’t have any political experience or knowledge of what goes on in the Senate, but he does have heart. That, and millions of dollars to contribute to my 2016 presidential campaign.”
Blagojevich turned to Burress after approaching dozens of other candidates who all turned down the job, fearing that an endorsement from the Illinois governor could ruin their careers. Burress’ career, though, has nowhere to go but up. Consumed by his court proceedings, he also appears to be the only person in America who is completely unaware of the scandal that has enveloped Blagojevich.
“I thank the governor for overlooking the fact that I’ve never lived in Illinois and drafting me for this important position,” Burress said in accepting the nomination. “The U.S. Senate is a place where I can speak my mind and not get fined for it.”
After the press conference, Obama released a statement condemning Blagojevich’s move.
“Plaxico Burress would be on anyone’s short list for the Senate,” he said. “But how can he properly serve the people of Illinois when Gov. Blagojevich has rubbed his taint all over him?”
No one was available for comment.