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From Lynn Sweet:
In a phone interview, I asked Blagojevich if he considered the vacancy an African-American seat. "I think it is a factor of a great deal of weight in my mind but it is not the only factor or the only consideration, and somebody could be the next Barack Obama who happens not to be the African American, and that person would be hard not to make a U.S. senator."A caretaker Senator is not off the table. And there something to be said for letting Illinois Democrats decide who their Senator should be for the long-term.
"He's got a right to do it," Blagojevich said, "and he obviously believes in himself as a candidate for the United States Senate and his public campaign is, you know, something he obviously believes appropriate and helpful, and all power to him."
The governor, I learned, is trying to set up an interview with Jackson to discuss the vacancy. He's already talked to Dem Representatives Jan Schakowsky; Danny Davis, who is becoming more vocal about wanting the seat, and Luis Gutierrez. Former state Senate President Emil Jones, Veterans Affairs chief Tammy Duckworth, and Attorney General Lisa Madigan are near the top of what the governor said was a long list.
A few days ago, Gutierrez issued a statement saying he was interested in filling only the two years remaining in Obama's term.
"Not a deal-breaker," the governor said. While Blagojevich has a strong preference to pick someone who will try to keep the seat, he said if he found "the right person," it "wouldn't necessarily preclude him or her from being the choice."