Barnstorming Illinois Governor Goes One-On-One With Glenn Beck

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," January 27, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GLENN BECK, HOST: There are really two politicians in America that the media just can't seem to get enough of these days. One is Obama and the other is Gov. Rod Blagojevich. He's got a media blitz going on right now. I'm not going to recap the story. You pretty much know it.

If you don't know it, I wonder — have you been watching the weather channel? He may be on that as well.


Let's go to the guy who is at the center of the storm, Gov. Blagojevich. Welcome, sir.

GOV. ROD BLAGOJEVICH (D-IL): Thanks for having me, Glenn.

Video: Watch Glenn's interview

BECK: I will tell you —

BLAGOJEVICH: It is a hot time, speaking of weather.

BECK: Yes. I will tell you, I'm not a fan.


BECK: I think you're getting a raw deal on not being able to present evidence, but that's the way it is. William Jefferson Clinton didn't get that opportunity either, but there — and maybe it's just me, but I think I'm a lot like most people. I don't trust a single damn one of you politicians.

I just assume you're guilty for a myriad of reasons. But one of which is you know and I know, Illinois is corrupt to the hilt. So convince me that you're not the guy that everybody says you are.

BLAGOJEVICH: I appreciate that. And I don't necessarily disagree with your assessment of politicians in general. And I know there will be a lot of people who're going to find what I'm about to say difficult to stomach. But I don't consider myself one of those.

I view myself as someone who has worked real hard to try to fight for people who otherwise don't have a voice. And I do it in a way that doesn't burden the middle class. I fought for six years members of my own party who have been trying to raise the income tax.

At the same time we expanded healthcare and gave seniors free rides on public transportation. We do a lot of things for people but not on the backs of middle class families. It is a different kind of politics.

And I believe deeply in what I've tried to do. I have taken on a system in Springfield, our state government an old political establishment. Part of that, I come from. There's no question about that.

Yet I believe my heart is pure and I've tried very hard to try to do what is right. I have gotten into a rough-and-tumble business. I've tried to keep myself in a politically strong place so I can do the people's business.

And again, I see my story — it's ironic, considering what I'm facing — as a modern day Frank Capra story. I see myself as those old black-and-white movies with Jimmy Stewart and Gary Cooper —


BECK: I mean, I have heard the Gandhi thing. I've heard the Martin Luther King thing. Now, you are saying you're "Mr. Smith goes to Washington?"

BLAGOJEVICH: I'm saying that's how I see myself, OK? I was trying to right by people. And I've got — that's why the establishment (inaudible) with vengeance.

BECK: Let me — help me out on this.


BECK: Because I think that those tapes should be exposed, and I know they are being played today. And they should be played — all of it.


BLAGOJEVICH: ... in their entirety. Full context. Yes.

BECK: Help me out because you say you're being taken out of context.

BLAGOJEVICH: That's right.

BECK: Help me out because I'm trying to figure this one out.


BECK: Here is what — we don't have any context. Here's what we have, "An (EXPLETIVE DELETED) valuable thing. An empty Senate seat is (EXPLETIVE DELETED) valuable thing. I just don't give it away for nothing. I've got this thing and it's (EXPLETIVE DELETED) golden."

OK. Tell me the context that's in the sides. You know, it would be totally wrong for me to say this, but tell me the context that is said around that that makes this not selling a seat?

BLAGOJEVICH: Well, let me begin by saying I have never, ever, ever gotten involved in any activity that was about selling a U.S. Senate seat in the way that you are trying to suggest and others have.

BECK: No — you're trading.


BECK: You're trading this seat for power, whatever. Tell me, sir, how that's OK.

BLAGOJEVICH: Now, let me say another thing. I can't acknowledge whether what you just read is accurate or not, because we haven't had a chance to see all those tapes. I would like, in an impeachment trial in Illinois, to be able to —

BECK: Does it sound like you?

BLAGOJEVICH: I would like to be able to have all of those tapes right now so we can have a chance to hear them in their entire context. But —

BECK: Does this sound like you?

BLAGOJEVICH: Having said that, assuming that what you say is, in fact, the case, then that's open to all kinds of interpretations. As you said, there's the normal give-and-take in the political process to try to get things done for people.

If that Senate seat was all about me, I could have made myself a U.S. Senator the next day after Obama was elected, because the governor can choose himself as a U.S. senator, and if I did that —

BECK: Are we playing the "definition of 'is' is?" Is that the game we're playing?

BLAGOJEVICH: No, not at all. I'm simply saying.

BECK: Well, there's all kinds of explanations for this. I don't understand, "You don't give it away for nothing. I've got this thing and it's (EXPLETIVE DELETED) golden."

BLAGOJEVICH: Well, I mean, I'll give you a hypothetical stuff. You can interpret that a certain way. I would like them to help me pass a jobs bill so we could put people to work. I would like them to come to Illinois, help break up gridlock so we can expand healthcare for people.

I would like them to help us hold the line on taxes because the Democrats in my party want to raise taxes on middle class families.

BECK: Excuse me. I have a really hard time just buying into when I hear a Democrat in Illinois saying you're trying to keep taxes low.


BECK: I'm just having a hard time buying into that.

BLAGOJEVICH: Yes. I wish you would do your homework, because you'll see, for six years, I did.

BECK: No, you —

BLAGOJEVICH: And I fought my own party against raising income taxes on people. Yes, I did.

BECK: There are just certain people. And usually Democrats don't have a hard time raising them on certain people.

BLAGOJEVICH: I don't disagree with you, but unfortunately, there are members of my party who think that all the solution ought to be done on the backs of middle class families with higher taxes. And if they remove me from office with this unfair impeachment, the way they're doing it, an income tax increase is coming to the people of Illinois by Memorial Day.

BECK: OK. You say that you are great and you know, you're for the people and you've worked hard for —

BLAGOJEVICH: I'm not saying I'm great. I'm just saying I'm for the people.

BECK: You said you've worked hard ...


BECK: ... and you put yourself — you did the things to put yourself in a political position where you get the job done, right?


BECK: Four percent approval rating before the scandal. Four.

BLAGOJEVICH: No, that's total baloney. Total baloney.

BECK: Well — I'm sorry —


BLAGOJEVICH: (inaudible) That will be up to 10 percent. That's total baloney.

BECK: It was four percent before the scandal.


BECK: Yes, it was. And it went up three points after the scandal at seven percent.

BLAGOJEVICH: Yes. Not true.

BECK: What was it?

BLAGOJEVICH: It depends on the polls you're looking at. Every governor —

BECK: What was the poll you like to cite?

BLAGOJEVICH: I don't know. I saw one in the 20s, OK? Not good. But here — there is no governor that's doing well. Now, obviously, what's happened to me —

BECK: Sarah Palin, in the 70s. She was at 87 before the press took a hold of her. She's in the 70s.

BLAGOJEVICH: And by the way, her attorney general that she appointed — she told me in Philadelphia — was my former roommate in law school. How do you like that? Good guy, by the name Thomas Coburn. I want to plug him. I just thought I would throw that out.

BECK: I have to — you are doing shout-outs now.


BECK: Governor —


BECK: I have to tell you, do you understand that, first of all, if you're innocent —


BECK: This is — I understand. If you're innocent, then you know what? The biggest tragedy is being done right now and we need to get to the bottom of it. If you're guilty, do you realize the damage you're doing to the country? Do you realize that?

If you're on television and you're looking at me and you're looking America in the eye ...


BECK: And saying — I mean, look me in the eye right now.

BLAGOJEVICH: I'm looking you right in the eye.

BECK: You tell me ...


BECK: ... you are absolutely clean and you had nothing to do with this.

BLAGOJEVICH: I'm telling you I did not commit any criminal acts.

BECK: Don't do this because it makes me think of Clinton.


BECK: Very bad thing to say, "I did not do that."

BLAGOJEVICH: OK. Fair enough. I'm not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing. Any conversation I had, there was no criminal intent.

The conversations were had with top staff senior political advisors for a long period of time discussing a whole bunch of ideas, a lot of different options concerning a lot of different candidates —

BECK: This is all wrong about you?

BLAGOJEVICH: Thinking outside the box, including Oprah Winfrey who was a consideration for a little bit of while. All of these facts.


BLAGOJEVICH: And when the whole story comes out — when the whole story comes out — and that's why I'd like every one of those tapes to heard at that impeachment trial. I am the anti-Nixon when it comes to releasing tapes.

BECK: All right. I don't think I got the straight answer here.


BECK: But here is the thing —

BLAGOJEVICH: I'm innocent.

BECK: OK. If you're not, sir ...


BECK: ... do you understand the damage that you are doing, because we were about this close to getting buckets of tar, and a whole bunch of chickens, and dipping you people into it and sticking chickens to you. Do you understand that? Do you understand that?

BLAGOJEVICH: Look, if god forbid what you're saying is the case, I've got bigger problems than worrying about you tarring and feathering me. I have done nothing criminally wrong.


BECK: That was just part one of the interview. Tomorrow, part two. You are not going to believe how it ends. Don't miss it, tomorrow.

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