Letterman Puts Blagojevich On The Hot Seat (VIDEO)

03/06/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Editors The Huffington Post

The Rod Blagojevich media tour rolled on Tuesday night with a surprisingly bracing stop at the "Late Show with David Letterman."

"Why exactly are you here, honest to God?" asked the late-night host.

"I've been wanting to be on your show in the worst way for the longest time," the disgraced former governor said upon taking his seat in the guest's chair.

"Well, you're on in the worst way, believe me," replied Letterman, setting the tone for the nearly 20-minute interview in which he never seemed to let Blagojevich get too comfortable.

After reading the names of Illinois governors who've served time in prison as Blagojevich smiled, Letterman told the ex-governor, who has been making the case for his innocence on nearly any show that would have him over the past few weeks, "The more you talked and the more you repeated your innocence, the more I thought, 'oh this guy's guilty.'"

Blagojevich offered little of substance in response.

"Well, let me say two things: one, that's the truth; and two, I'm glad you're not going to sit on that jury in Illinois."

The former governor reiterated his innocence, referring to his historic impeachment trial conviction as a "hijacking," but Letterman repeatedly challenged the claim.

"You were not deprived of due process," Letterman said. "I don't believe you have been deprived of due process."

Asked if the criminal trial will clear his name and voters will think then that he should still be governor, Blagojevich didn't hesitate.

"Yes, I do believe that, and I believe it will be a historic result," Blagojevich, the first governor in Illinois history to be removed from office, said.

Blagojevich also used the appearance to associate his case with other Illinois politicians. The ex-governor said he first learned of an investigation into his administration when the government was probing "a friend." This "friend" is Tony Rezko and though Blagojevich did not mention his name, he did say "this friend is the friend who's very close to Barack Obama as well." Mayor Daley also received an unwelcome mention and new Gov. Pat Quinn, who took over as governor minutes after Blagojevich's conviction, was called on to "keep his promise not to raise taxes on people during a time of economic depression."

The appearance had its light moments, with the the cash-strapped ex-governor telling Letterman: "Well, I'm looking for work," and then asking "Are you hiring?" And Letterman got in a dig at Blagojevich's famous coif, asking if he uses an all-in-one shampoo and conditioner.


Read the full transcript at the Tribune's "The Watcher" blog.