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Blagojevich a Brutha?

As constituencies loyal to him continue to contract, Rod Blagojevich is doing his absolute best to hold onto the support he still has.

One example is how he's recently held events announcing programs catered to the African-American community, among others like the elderly (i.e. free transit rides for seniors).

But this past Monday in a speech to the City Club of Chicago, Blagojevich may have gone too far.

After the forum's moderator, Roosevelt University Professor Paul Green suggested there was little difference between Blagojevich and Senate president Emil Jones (the second African-American to hold the post) the governor agreed, and made the following pronouncement.

"There are times I consider myself the first African-American governor of Illinois."

Other than the oddness on its face that someone of Bosnian Serb ancestry would claim honorary African heritage; it's also factually incorrect.

Illinois has already had a black governor, albeit for only a few hours.

It was trailblazing African-American pol Cecil Partee, the first black president of the Illinois Senate.

And it was because of something that the late Illinois Senator Paul Simon, who was then Illinois' lieutenant governor did.

Simon describes the little-known history in his autobiography P.S., read on:

“As president pro tem he [Partee] followed me in the succession line for the governorship, if anything happened to the governor and me. Because of the constitutional provisions that succession followed even for temporary vacancies, one day when I knew Governor Ogilvie would be out of the state I made it a point to go over to St. Louis so that Illinois had an African American governor for the first time, even if only for one day. And I’m pleased Cecil Partee had that honor.”

The governor may be the Rain Man of presidential factoids, but he may need to bone up on his Illinois trivia.


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