04/10/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Dick Durbin: Mike Madigan Partially To Blame For Cohen Situation (VIDEO)

Here is something you don't hear every day: an Illinois Democrat criticizing state Democratic Party Chairman Michael Madigan.

After announcing his chairmanship of Alexi Giannoulias' Senate campaign, Sen. Dick Durbin talked to reporters over the weekend about the Scott Lee Cohen debacle--and placed some of the blame on Madigan, who is considered one of the most powerful state democrats:

"I think that Chairman Madigan needs to have a much better process in place so that we know the backgrounds of all candidates as they put themselves up to be Democrats," Durbin said, adding that Illinois Democrats in general should have done more to prevent Cohen from going as far as he did with his background.

Durbin called the situation "an embarrassment to our party and an embarrassment to our state," and also blamed the media for failing to ask the "tough questions" earlier in the election season.

Durbin was also asked if he thought the Madigan, who has controlled the state Democratic Party since 1998, should step down when his term is over. He said he would not get involved with that, but reiterated that a Cohen situation should never happen again:

"I would say to [Madigan] and to every member of this party at every level: We have a special responsibility to make sure it never happens again."

Watch The Capitol Fax Blog's video of Durbin speaking about Madigan and Cohen here: