Blago: I'm the Anti-Nixon

Rod Blagojevich's new memoir hits book stores today.

In the past year, Rod Blagojevich has been impeached as Governor of Illinois, removed from office, and charged engaging in "pay-for-play" politics, including trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President Obama.

Now, Blagojevich is telling his side of the story in his memoir, which hits stands today. It's called, simply, "The Governor."

On "The Early Show" Tuesday, Blagojevich staunchly defended himself, strongly denied wrongdoing and insisted it's his accusers who are in the wrong in the way they're pressing their case against him.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald called Blagojevich's actions "a political crime spree" that would "make Lincoln roll over in his grave."

But Blagojevich asserted to co-anchor Harry Smith that, "Not only does (Fitzgerald) have it all wrong, that's a mutilation of the truth.

"The facts are that, the very day before I was arrested, I had instructed my chief of staff to work out the tactics of a routine political deal that would have put 500,000 people to work in Illinois, that would have expanded health care for 50,000 to 300,000 working families."

So, Smith asked, "There was no pay to play?"

"Not only was there no pay to play..." Blagojevich responded.

"At any point in your administration?" Smith interrupted.

"However you define that," Blagojevich continued. "If you're saying there was in any activity that dealt with quid pro quo thing -- one thing for another -- absolutely not with regard to my behavior, or my activities.

"And you did not try to sell Sen. Obama's?"

"The truth is in hundreds of hours of taped (wiretapped) recordings," Blagojevich replied. "The government, at a sensational press conference when I was locked up in a jail cell, said what you just referred to, (that it) was stopping a crime spree before it happened. They used snippets of conversations from those private taped conversations. The big irony here is that the very accusers who said those things, who used those snippets of conversations out of context, went to court to have an order that prevented me and you from hearing all of those tapes.

"All of those tapes should be heard. The truth is in those tapes. And just the opposite is true. This is a story that is upside down.

"I was holding my nose to appoint a United States senator as my first choice, on one condition, if we can have a political deal that would put people to work, expand health care and not raise taxes on people ... and then it all stopped when I was falsely accused of things I didn't do."

"So," Smith inquired, "you're not corrupt, there is no corruption, there was never any corruption in your administration?"

"I have never done anything that would be a crime or even intended to be a crime," Blagojevich said flatly. "When all of the taped conversations are heard, that will be proven to be true. I will be fully vindicated. The issue is, when will those taping be heard? I've advocated since January for those tapes to be heard. I was hijacked from office at an impeachment trial that didn't allow me to move my innocence.

"I'm the anti-Nixon, asking that these tapes be heard. My accusers are the ones who went to court and are keeping those tapes from being heard by the public. Someone's lying here, and it's not me."

Blagojevich's trial is expected to start later this year.


Watch CBS Videos Online




To read an excerpt of "The Governor," click here.
  • CBSNews

Comments