Obama Pushed Dems to Take Burris
Aides made calls to senior senators before today's decision
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Jan 7, 2009 2:23 PM CST

(Newser) – Barack Obama may have had something to do with the Senate’s apparent about-face on Roland Burris, a congressional aide tells the Huffington Post. Obama reps contacted senior Democrats before they began moving today towards accepting the Blagojevich appointee, despite the Illinois governor’s ongoing corruption case. After meeting with Burris, Majority Leader Harry Reid took pains to praise the veteran Chicago pol, as did Obama, who called him “a fine public servant” and expressed willingness to work with him.

In his own press conference after the meeting with Reid and Sen. Dick Durbin, Burris praised the Democratic leaders and said they had signaled that he would be allowed to take the seat and without any conditions, such as a promise that he not seek reelection in 2010, reports the Washington Post. "I'm very pleased," he told reporters. "This afternoon, I'm very happy."