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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/19/blagojevich.speaks/art.blagojevich.wgn.jpg caption="Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich spoke to reporters at a news conference Friday but did not take questions."] Maureen Miller
Just days ago, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich vowed to tell his side of the story. Today, a defiant governor stepped up to a microphone and vowed to fight the corruption charges against him.
"I am not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing," Blagojevich said at a news conference in Chicago.
Federal prosecutors accuse the governor of trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama's now vacant Senate seat.
"I will fight until I take my last breath," he said.
The governor said he was "not going to quit the job the people have hired me to do."
"I am dying to answer these charges. I am dying to show you how innocent I am," the governor said. "I intend to answer every allegation that comes my way. However, I intend to answer them in the appropriate forum," he added.
"I have on my side the most powerful ally there is, and it's the truth. And besides, I have the personal knowledge that I have not done anything wrong," said Blagojevich.
He took no questions from reporters.
One of Blagojevich's attorneys, Sam Adam Jr., told reporters after the governor spoke that the U.S. attorney's office hasn't given them the tapes mentioned in the criminal complaint filed 10 days ago - the day Blagojevich was arrested.
On the tapes are phone calls involving the governor's alleged efforts to sell the Senate seat.
"It is conduct that would make Lincoln roll over in his grave," said U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald last week when announcing the charges against Blagoveich.
Do you think the governor is innocent?
Is he the victim of a "political lynch mob" as he suggested today?
Please share your thoughts.
We'll have the latest on this developing story and tonight's other headlines starting at 10pm E.T.
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Editor's Note: Don't forget to watch CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen talk further about President-elect Obama's cabinet tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
David Gergen | BIO
CNN Senior Political Analyst
With the final pieces falling into place today, a much clearer picture has emerged of the men and women who will gather around the table when Barack Obama convenes his new cabinet in Washington. By any measure, this cabinet will be one of the most pragmatic, talented, and politically experienced of any in recent decades - the makings of a dream team. Even so, some serious questions remain about how effective they will be – questions that can only be answered by the passage of time.
Altogether, Obama will have some 21 people at his cabinet table – himself, his vice president, his White House chief of staff, the heads of 15 executive departments, as well as the heads of the Office of Management and Budget, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Trade Representative. Whether he will invite others to the table such as his “czars” is still unclear.
But we do know now the identity now of the first 21, and one thing that stands out – especially in the political tug of war between left and right – is how centrist and pragmatic most of them are, especially in the areas of economics and national security. For weeks Washington has been wondering whether Obama would govern from the center-left or from the left. His appointments suggest that on a few issues, he will please the liberal elements of his base – global warming and unionization – but on most others, he will be more of a moderate progressive. That’s what he promised during the campaign, and that is what he is delivering in his appointments.
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U.S. President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush attend the unveiling of their official portraits at the National Portrait Gallery December 19, 2008 in Washington, DC.
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Tell Me More, NPR
It's another Friday in the Barbershop with Jimi Izrael, Nick Charles, Arsalan Iftikhar and Ruben Navarrette. Up for discussion this week: a closer look at President Bush's close call with a pair of flying shoes and a recent comedy sketch on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" that failed to hit New York Governor David Paterson's funny bone. LISTEN HERE
And see what AC had to say on the subject earlier this week.
So did they go too far?
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/19/art.jack.dog.jpg caption="Sammy Gray: 'I don't get out of bed for less than $10,000'"]
AC360 Associate Producer
Greetings from New York, where the snow is falling faster than an Upper East Side Ponzi scheme. The city is like a scene from a holiday post card; a veritable winter wonderland of Christmas decorations, a frosty storm and a guy in a Santa suit who meanders between subway cars announcing: “My name is Forever and I am a poet.”
In Chicago, President-elect Obama continues to feel heat for inviting controversial Pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration. Said the exasperated president-elect: “Fine, we’ll go back to the original plan. No invocation, just Rod and Patty Blagojevich singing their profanity-laden version of ‘Love Lifts Up Where We Belong.’”
For his part, Rick Warren is defending his opposition to same-sex marriage. He tells NBC - not joking here, people - , “I’m naturally inclined to have sex with every beautiful woman I see, but that doesn’t make it right.” I'm guessing he added something like, “Not that I couldn’t, you know, because chicks totally dig my billowy Hawaiian shirts.”
The big story here in New York continues to be Caroline Kennedy’s push to get herself appointed to the United States Senate. There remain those who question her qualifications, but her supporters are quick to highlight her resume: Education advocate, civil liberties author and Al Sharpton dining companion.
Editor’s Note: You can read more Jami Floyd blogs on “In Session”
In Session Anchor
We covered a lot of cases on our network in 2008, from exonerations to gay marriage. And while Osama Bin Laden's driver was tried by the first Military Commission at Gitmo and the U.S. Supreme Court handed down decisions on lethal injection, the right bear arms and even presidential powers, the biggest legal story of the year, at least for most Americans, was probably O.J. That’s right O.J. Simpson, back in court, back on trial and now going to jail.
He was convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping 13 years to the day of his acquittal on double murder charges. The families of Nicole Brown Simpson and especially that of Ronald Goldman have been pursuing Simpson ever since. And so have we, in the public. Difficult for us to let it go. To accept that the state of California didn’t make its case, but the state of Nevada did. And now, America finally has what it has wanted from all these years.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/17/condoleeza.rice.interview/art.rice.cnn.jpg caption="Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in an interview with CNN's Zain Verjee earlier this week."]
Overheard by our reporters, during a meeting at the Council on Foreign Relations today:
SECRETARY RICE: Nobody was trusting of the North Koreans. I mean, who trusts the North Koreans? You’d have to be an idiot to trust the North Koreans. (Laughter) That’s why we have a verification protocol that we are negotiating.