Before Reversal, Senate Democrats Were Ready to Play Hardball Against Burris

They appear ready to reverse positions and seat Illinois Senate pick Roland Burris.

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers.

While Senate Democrats today appear ready to reverse positions and seat controversial Illinois Senate pick Roland Burris, aides say the chamber's majority was ready to play hardball against embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich's pick. At a theme and communications meeting with top aides Tuesday, officials from various Senate Democratic offices were quizzed on how to answer media questions about Burris. Top aides gave two answers. The first was to follow Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's lead in saying that the people of Illinois should make the choice, not Blagojevich. But if the media pressed for more, the message was to be much harsher on background. Aides today said they were being advised to essentially make fun of Burris for appearing before the secretary of the Senate with incomplete credentials. His credentials did not have the signature of the Illinois secretary of state. "They said we were to say off the record that his paperwork was not in order—that he showed up without the Illinois secretary of state signature on it. He presented his credentials, the secretary of the Senate saw that they were incomplete, and he was marched out the door," one Democratic aide said was the message. Parts of that story made it into some of the stories today about Burris being turned away. But an aide today said that he will now be seated.