According to the Chicago Tribune On the tape, recorded on Dec. 2 while his former Chief of Staff John Harris was in Chicago and Blagojevich was at a governor’s conference in Philadelphia, the two men run through possibilities of someone else who could fit the bill. Some far-out possibilities Blagojevich raised included California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Children’s Defense Fund founder Marion Wright Edelman, neither of whom live in Illinois.
Finally, Blagojevich said it had to be an African-American, possibly a person with a military or law enforcement background. That could help Blagojevich with black voters if he decided to run for re-election in 2010, the governor said.
Then Blagojevich tossed out the name of Winfrey.
“Oprah, by the way, is not far-fetched,” Blagojevich told Harris. Blagojevich said Winfrey’s support “made” Obama’s rise to the presidency possible. “She’s up there so high, no one can assail this pick,” he said at one point.
Blagojevich told Harris he didn’t want to give the Senate seat to U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, who had expressed interest. Harris then expressed the opinion that putting Winfrey in the job “was crazy”
“That’s where you’re wrong,” Blagojevich said.
Harris said voters might take away from a Winfrey pick that Blagojevich was just trying to hand the job to a celebrity. Blagojevich said that was not true.
“People would say that’s just Rod trying to get some of that gold dust sprinkled on him,” Harris insisted.