• This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," December 13, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

    PAUL GIGOT, HOST: Up next on "The Journal Editorial Report," politics Chicago style. We'll take a closer look at the culture that bred Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and a long list of politicians before him.

    Plus, our panel looks at the political fallout from the scandal. Will it taint the incoming administration?

    And Obama's Gitmo problem. Five detainees want to plead guilty to death penalty charges. Will the new president be the one to decide their fate?

    "The Journal Editorial Report" begins right now!


    BARACK OBAMA, (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here in Illinois — and it's true I think across the country — there is a tradition of public service where people are getting in for the right reasons to serve. But there's also the tradition where people view politics as a business.


    GIGOT: Welcome to "The Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.

    That was president elect Barack Obama reacting to the stunning allegations laid out this week by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald against his home state Governor Rod Blagojevich.

    According to prosecutors, the governor talked opening in recent weeks about sell Obama's U.S. Senate seat, trading government favors for campaign Kass and our personal favorite, punishing the owner of the Chicago Tribune if it didn't fire members of the newspaper's editorial board. If convicted, Mr. Blagojevich would be the second consecutive Illinois governor to be found guilty of a felony and the fourth in 35 years.

    John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. He joins me now.

    John Kass, thank you for being here. Good to have you here.

    JOHN KASS, COLUMNIST, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Thanks for having me back, Paul.

    GIGOT: You wrote this week that outsiders who profess to be shocked and appalled by these taped remarks are being naive. Is this really Chicago business as usual for politics?

    KASS: Chicago is so corrupt that it appears to me that the national media — I'll except you in this, Paul...

    GIGOT: Thank you!

    KASS: They wanted to believe in Barack Obama as a reformer. As if he were pristine and coming from some kind of different culture than the one you see laid out before you and the nation sees now. Everything's for sale here. There's one scandal after another, from city hall...

    GIGOT: So pay to play.

    KASS: Right.