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The Burris Saga Concludes

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Jan 15, 2009 4:20PM


AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

At 1 p.m. Chicago time this afternoon, Roland Burris will be officially sworn in as The Lord's Senatorâ„¢ by Vice President Dick Cheney, ending a several-month-long saga that has been lively even by Illinois standards. Burris will be seated without any protest from any senate leaders in spite of a litany of threats earlier in the process. While Burris faced an uphill climb to gain acceptance from his soon-to-be colleagues, the current Senators promise they'll treat him like any other freshman senator. By duct taping him to his office chair and rolling him down the hall? "Like any other senator, he'll have to learn the ropes and not get lost getting to committee hearings, like I have. I think he'll come in with people open to meeting with him and getting to know him. I think it will be just fine," said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn). Oh. Senators also are looking for Burris to distance himself from Blaogjevich once he is seated, saying a call for Blago's resignation could go a long way towards helping his cause, especially if he intends to keep his seat in 2010.

Meanwhile, before heading to Washington for today's swearing in, Burris hoped to build a little momentum of support on the homefront and started at Paderewski Elementary on the city's South Side. Eighth graders at the school had been raising money to attend the inauguration and, before the election, then-Senator Barack Obama promised that if the students raised enough money, he'd provide them with tickets to the ceremony. The students fell short of their goal by $11,000, but that difference was made up by a donation from Louis Carr, president of the BET television network. And, of course, we all know what happened next for the then-Senator. So what happened to the tickets? All 400 eventually fell to Burris, Obama's replacement. Burris made an appearance at Paderewski yesterday to announce he would make good on Obama's promise, giving the students their promised duckets (35 in all for the students and chaperons) to the most anticipated national event since...the election. Said Burris: "They will have the tickets."