Blagojevich's goodbye: good enough for a pardon?

Mar 15, 2012

Former governor Rod Blagojevich made his last public speech Wednesday before heading off to federal prison. He may want to change his tune if he’s looking to get out of prison before his 14 year sentence is completed. That’s according to P.S.  Ruckman, a Rock Valley College political science professor and expert on presidential pardons.

 He says Blagojevich’s speech was reminiscent of former governor George Ryan’s statements before HE was sent to prison: while Blagojevich was more “upbeat and chit-chatty” than Ryan, neither took responsibility for the actions that got them there.  Ruckman says there were things Blagojevich could have done to make himself a better candidate for clemency: that includes not rambling, not giving a political speech, and not being so defiant. Ruckman says “humbly submitting himself to the majesty of the law” could score some points for Blagojevich over time.

Ruckman says timing could also come into play if Blagojevich pursues a presidential pardon or, more likely, a shortened sentence.  He says historically, half of all presidential pardons have been granted in December, so the former governor should set his sights on December of 2016.  That would be near the end of a second Obama administration…IF the president wins re-election this fall.

AUDIO: Here's the interview with P.S. Ruckman, including more about the differences between Governors Blagojevich and Ryan, as well as the likelihood of clemency.