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Blagojevich, successor trade charges

On separate radio shows, they both claim God is on their side. The ousted Illinois governor says lawmakers removed him to clear the way for a tax hike.

March 26, 2009|Rick Pearson and Ashley Rueff

CHICAGO — Chicago's morning radio airwaves were filled Wednesday with dueling governors, with both Rod R. Blagojevich and Pat Quinn declaring God was on their side as they attacked each other.

Impeached former Gov. Blagojevich, a guest host on WLS-AM, declared he was an "instrument" of God and maintained that his successor, Gov. Quinn, and top Democratic lawmakers had removed him to clear the way for a tax increase.

Quinn, Blagojevich's lieutenant governor for six years, appeared on WGN-AM to defend his proposed income-tax hike and blamed the state's projected $11.6-billion deficit on previous mismanagement. "Prior to Rod Blagojevich, we had George Ryan, and he's in jail," Quinn said on "The John Williams Show." "You know, I think we've had a decade of problems. And God has, I guess, seen fit to see that I'm governor."

Blagojevich barely addressed his Dec. 9 arrest on federal corruption charges, noting only that he has "got some challenges ahead." He contended his removal was part of a "political fix" led by Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton to raise income taxes. Blagojevich opposed income tax hikes but expanded programs without providing funding.

"I believe God has a purpose for me, and I'm his instrument in some form or another," Blagojevich said.

Quinn said "anybody who has followed my public life knows I don't do deals."

"Everywhere I've gone in Illinois, there's nothing but unmitigated joy that my predecessor is out of office and that a new person, namely me, is in office as governor of our state," Quinn told reporters later.

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rpearson@tribune.com

arueff@tribune.com

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