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High comedy on Capitol Hill as Illinois junior senator-designate Roland Burris takes D.C. by storm.
Schadenfreude overload at the plight of Harry Reid squirming:
Roland Burris has arrived on Capitol Hill in a steady rainfall and a swarm of television cameras to claim his Senate seat.
Umbrellas partially shrouded Burris has he strode briskly toward the Capitol steps, followed closely by a large phalanx of reporters and photographers. It still wasn’t clear whether 71-year-old former Illinois attorney general would be allowed to take the oath of office for the seat given him by embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich (blah GOY uh vich).
Earlier Tuesday, Burris had been in tense negotiations with Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer. Once inside the Capitol, he was taken to the secretary of the Senate’s office for further discussions.
Stay tuned. I’m laughing. I’m crying. This is better than Cats.
10:53am Eastern. It’s a mob scene with a flock of reporters standing in the rain waiting for Burris to report on his meeting with the Senate Sergeant at Arms.
10:57 am Eastern. Now, there’s a slow-mo trek from the Capitol to a press conference location with Burris “wandering around like a 5th grader without a hall permit,” as a Fox viewer put it.
We’re getting updates every 30 seconds of Burris’s progress: He crossed the street!
11:01am Eastern. Burris speaks: “I presented my credentials to the Secy of the State and I was advised…I would not be seated…not seeking a confrontation, will consult with my attorneys now.”
Burris’s lawyer repeats what Burris just said. Exploring options: Lawsuit or further deliberations.
Burris will remain in Washington.
Interesting: Former Baltimore mayor Kurt Schmoke is one of Burris’s lawyers.
The Swamp has a dispatch from the mob scene:
A determined Roland Burris entered the Secretary of the Senate’s office on the third floor of the Capitol this morning to present his credentials. The media were gathered around the corner – several abreast stretching down the hallway, held back by Capitol police.
Terrance Gainer, the sergeant at arms who would be charged with blocking Burris at the Senate chambers door if necessary, escorted him into the office. The secretary’s office is one floor above the entrance to the Senate chambers.
Leaders have been negotiating what Burris will do today – and there was some word that Burris might accept his rejection in the secretary’s office. Guards initially had been told they were to treat Burris as they would a senator, easing his path through the Capitol entrance, but were later told to take him through security as any visitor.
“We’ve been back and fourth four times,” a Democratic aide said of the choreography of the morning.
Update 1:04pm Eastern. Bobby Rush tells Fox News that the spurning of Burris was “racist” and that if Burris were not an African-American, Reid would have seated him.