Hannity Faces Off With Blagojevich

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 11, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: He has become a household name for all the wrong reasons. At one time Rod Blagojevich was known only to the people of Illinois, but he burst onto the national scene after being arrested and accused of trying to sell Barack Obama's then vacant Senate seat.

The impeached former governor of Illinois has vowed to clear his name, and he joins me now with an update on what he's been doing since he's been removed from office.

I guess, Former Governor, thank you for being with us, we appreciate it. I think people have been too easy on you in interviews, and I'm going to tell you why. Because I think there's two sides of you. There's the one you compare yourself, pretty much, to Gandhi and other people, and Mandela, et cetera, and Dr. King, you've done that. There's the guy that you who said, I ought not to be impeached for getting health care from Canada or prescription drugs. That's the one side of you, right?

Video: Watch Sean's interview

There's another side of you.

I've got this thing. It's blanking, F word, golden, and I'm not going to give it up for blanking nothing, and that's just the beginning of the other side of you. So why should anyone believe that the "I did this for the people of my state and I love them, and I wish — they've impeached me for good things"? Why should they believe that side or the real side that was on tape?

ROD BLAGOJEVICH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ILLINOIS: Whether you're talking about me comparing myself to Gandhi, Mandela or Dr. King, or whether you're talking about that snippet of a conversation, you've got to have the whole context. Now when I compared myself to Gandhi, I never compared myself to Gandhi. I was asked.

HANNITY: Well, you're acting like you were a victim like Gandhi. You're victimized. You're a victim in all of this.

BLAGOJEVICH: No, no, no. No, I was asked what it was like when you were arrested, and you walked out in handcuffs from your home a little after at 6 o'clock in the morning. It's a shocking development. And I just kissed my wife goodbye. And fortunately my two little girls were still sleeping, I said I thought about my children, my wife, and then I thought — people in history who had gone through something like that so I can seek some inspiration and some resolve as I had to deal with that issue.

With regard to that snippet you pointed out, there's a whole story, there's a whole context, and every one of those conversations I've asked to have them released in the impeachment trial so that I can begin to.

HANNITY: I got all that. You repeat yourself in every interview because I read all the transcripts.


HANNITY: So I want to deal specifically — tell us the context. You have an opportunity now to tell America when you said I've got this blanking thing, meaning the Senate seat, it's blanking golden, I'm not giving it up for blanking nothing.

What do you mean? If not to sell the seat, what did you mean?

BLAGOJEVICH: Well, let me, let me unequivocally say I never ever intended to "sell", quote, unquote.

HANNITY: What did you mean?

BLAGOJEVICH: ... a Senate seat for any kind of gains, any personal.

HANNITY: You're a good lawyer. What did you mean?

BLAGOJEVICH: I haven't heard the tapes, and I haven't heard that one particular one if, in fact, that's exactly what it is, which may or may not be the case, presumably it might be, but we don't know. We haven't heard it. So it would be wrong of me to comment. It's also...

HANNITY: Do you think Patrick Fitzgerald, who has never failed in a public corruption case — and by the way, I disagreed with Fitzgerald, although I think he's — relentless. I would not want him on my case.

Do you think he made that up? You said it. Then why don't you just admit it? You have to remember saying something like this or plotting because it's not just that quote. You said, "The immediate challenge is how do we take some financial pressure off our family." You say that.

You go on to describe the three things that are important to you, my legal situation, my personal situation, my political situation. Legal, personal, political.


HANNITY: You're not thinking about the people.


HANNITY: ... and prescription drugs. You're thinking about you.

BLAGOJEVICH: If that was all in one sentence or one conversation, I would concede maybe you're probably right. But...

HANNITY: No, I have seven, eight more. Ten more.

BLAGOJEVICH: But no, no, no. They had taped conversations that took place for weeks, days and weeks and over a long period of a month. Those are snippets taken out of those conversations, not in context. When the whole context is heard, I think you're going to see...

HANNITY: What — give me — then explain what other possible context could it be, I've got this thing, it's blanking golden.


HANNITY: And, quote, you're saying, I'm not giving it up for nothing. I can only conclude you're looking to sell that seat.

BLAGOJEVICH: No, I don't think so. And I think you're astute enough in politics to understand that in the business of politics and a government, sometimes, you know, there's — trading things for the good of the people, and again.

HANNITY: We're not talking about trading. We're talking about selling.


HANNITY: Selling a United States Senate seat. Selling it. It's golden, I'm not giving it up for nothing.

BLAGOJEVICH: Sure. You can — again, you're asking me to take something out of context. I'll give you a theoretical, hypothetical potential explanation for something like that, which is I want to pass a jobs bill, I want to expand health care, I don't want to raise taxes on the middle class, I need help to get it done.

HANNITY: But you're saying that — you're saying you're going to give — just to understand you.


HANNITY: You were saying this in the context that you wanted to do this for good legislation for the people of Illinois even though you repeatedly say that you're in financial trouble, that you want money, that you're sick and tired of being governor. You said all of these things in the criminal complaint and that you want to make money for your family and you come up with a number of schemes including the SEIU scheme, including a scheme for your wife to get a job.

You're saying it wasn't about you. Come on, Governor, in context, you were after money here.

BLAGOJEVICH: That's — let me say a couple things. Your characterizations are not completely accurate, number one. Number two, there's full context for every one of those conversations. Again, they took place over a period of a whole month, longer than that. There's an end result.

When the whole story is told that result will be apparent, and, again, when you have conversations with top staff, with top political advisers, that take place over a long period of time.

HANNITY: Let's go to another one.

BLAGOJEVICH: ... you're talking about a lot of different things.

HANNITY: Mother f-er. You're talking about the president of the United States, then president-elect. Mother f-er, his senator, meaning, the person that he was choosing, blank him for nothing, your words, blank him, f-him, and the states, he will put Senate candidate 4 in the Senate, quote, before I just give blanking Senate candidate 1 blanking Senate seat and I don't get anything?

Now — and then you talk about — you talk specifically in these — in this report — you talk specifically about money given for the Senate seat by candidate number 5 and that they're going to raise 500 grand specifically.

BLAGOJEVICH: Again — yes. See, I can't get into all the details. I'm at a big disadvantage. It's not appropriate for me to comment on a criminal case. Let me say this. If you quote properly from what was alleged there, you'll see that I indicated allegedly if, in fact, that's accurate, that somebody approached us with regard to that, not the — not me, the other.

HANNITY: But you told them to go have conversations, and you — you said, quote, "We now find out," I think it was your brother or somebody related to you, that you also tell him, "By the way, do it, but make sure that they're not recording you, make sure that nobody's listening." You say this all throughout the tapes.

BLAGOJEVICH: No. No. Here again, you're characterizing.

HANNITY: I'm characterizing your words. I'm giving you verbates of some of your words.

BLAGOJEVICH: You're taking things out of the full context, and you're adding some interpretations, your own interpretation, I think, to be a good cross-examiner. When the whole story is told I think you'll see.

HANNITY: All right.

BLAGOJEVICH: ... a completely different factual circumstance.

HANNITY: We've got to take a break now. One thing you're throwing down the stairs the legislators saying that they're having affairs, they're drinking, so we'll have part two of that with the governor. That's all coming up.

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