Thursday, October 12, 2006

Blagojevich and WTTW have a Good Night: Blago's Bus

In an unusual early evening presser, postponed from 5:30 pm to start at 7:00 pm and ultimately starting around 7:20 pm on Wednesday night, Governor Rod Blagojevich gave a virtuoso performance, unlike his last one which was turned into a Topinka ad. The press conference, which lasted about 18 minutes and ended abruptly with Blago exiting stage left with a question left dangling in the air, was on his home turf, Blago headquarters at 1200 No. Ashland, about 10 minutes from the Loop.

This was the old Rod, quick on his feet, charming and even smiling, as he politely said No—when asked if he thought he would be indicted during the next four years. He seemed ready for all the questions about the indictment of Tony Rezko. He proudly discussed why he brought Rezko into his kitchen cabinet and how Rezko had done a number of good things: bringing people like Jack Lavin [DCEO] and a number of African-Americans into the Blagojevich Administration. On the other hand, although he had some caveats, e.g., “if the allegations are true,” “and I pray that they are not true,” “I hope they are not true,” etc., Blagojevich essentially threw Rezko under the bus, with Rod saying:

What is, from a personal standpoint, so disappointing to me, and so surprising to me, is that he [Rezko] would engage in a criminal conspiracy to personally enrich himself and do that behind our backs and repeatedly deceive us, deceive me, lie to us and reassure us that the rumors about him weren’t true and I tend to be somebody who if you are a friend of somebody’s and you have no reason to not believe him, you believe him unless there is something tangible. Now, there is something tangible and I am obviously disappointed in him.

Rezko joins Stu Levine, Jews [from the Sister Muhammad incident], father-in-law Ald. Dick Mell, et al under the Blago Bus. In short, it is getting crowded under the Blago Bus, and perhaps a few of those folks will climb into the driver’s seat and start steering it in another direction, trying to run over their former buddy, Governor Blagojevich.

The above described press conference came to you and me, courtesy of WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, which interrupted a panel discussion on CT of Wednesday’s Rezko indictment to bring viewers live coverage of the presser, with a short update in the opening news segment from Rich Samuels. Further, I am told that WTTW was prepared to carry the presser later in the evening after the Chicago Tonight show, if that had been necessary.

Kudos to Samuels, Marin, Ponce and anyone else involved in the decision and process of WTTW bringing the Blagojevich press conference to its viewers, live. This is exactly what Public TV should be about. Now, why didn’t I think of that?
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at