Rod Blagojevich's strangest moments
Even before Rod Blagojevich was impeached, convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison, making Illinois the butt of late-night TV jokes, the former governor's antics raised eyebrows in the state capitol. Here are some of the more outrageous moments of his years in office:
• May 2004: While playing catch in his office, Blagojevich gets a ball stuck in a chandelier. He later tells reporters he had to stand on his desk and poke at the ball with a flagpole to knock it loose. Blagojevich also is known to show up late for meetings and public events so he can play videogames with his daughters.
• May 1, 2004: Habitually late for events, Blagojevich severely damages his reputation among lawmakers by showing up late to the funeral of one of the state Senate's most respected members, Sen. Vince Demuzio of Carlinville.
• Aug. 11, 2006: Carrying his young daughter like a shield, Blagojevich tries to avoid answering questions from a gaggle of reporters at the State Fair. The girl eventually breaks into tears, and Patti Blagojevich later writes a letter to the editor criticizing the media.
• May 10, 2007: A major Blagojevich tax proposal fails in the Illinois House, 0-107. Blagojevich insists the flop still amounts to "an up day" for him.
• July 17, 2007: Illinois House approves a resolution urging the hands-off governor to stop flying home to Chicago each evening and stay at Capitol to get some work done. Later, at trial, an aide testifies that he rarely showed up at his office and was known to hide in the bathroom.
• Dec. 8, 2008: Blagojevich announces investigators are welcome to bug his telephones because he has done nothing wrong. He is arrested the next day, largely on the strength of evidence gained from bugging his phones.
• Jan. 26, 2009: Blagojevich skips his impeachment trial to do a round of appearances on shows like "The View" and "Today." He compares himself to the hero of a Frank Capra movie and a cowboy in the hands of a lynch mob and says he takes solace from thinking of Nelson Mandela and other imprisoned leaders.
• June 2009: Desperate for money, Blagojevich's wife takes part in a reality TV show where her activities include eating a tarantula. Blagojevich later appears himself on "The Celebrity Apprentice" and reveals to the world that he can't operate a computer.
• December 2008-January 2009: Blagojevich's arrest and impeachment prompts him into an orgy of literary allusions. He compares himself to the main character of the story "The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner" and repeatedly cites poems by Tennyson and Kipling.
• Aug. 7, 2009: After being tossed out of office, he picks up a much-needed paycheck by showing up at a Chicago party and briefly singing a tune by his hero, Elvis Presley.