From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
Women, minorities, crying babies and a man in a wheelchair served as the backdrop on stage at a news conferenece with embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who the Illinois House voted to impeach today, 114-1.
Blagojevich continued to show a defiant confidence in his innocence.
He called the House's decision to impeach him not a surprise.
"This is not something that came as a complete surprise to me," he said, since the state House considered the idea in 2007.
He quoted The Golden Rule ("Do unto others as you would want done onto you") as well as yet another British poet, Tennyson. ("That which we are, we are," he said, quoting Ulysses.)
He discussed how he has pushed the House, for "real and meaningful" housing, for cancer screenings and other policy initiatives.
"Is that an impeachable act?" Blagojevich asked.
He then introduced the constituents standing behind him.
"I have a job to do for the people... they hired me to fight for them."
*** UPDATE *** NBC's Lauren Appelbaum adds that Blagojevich insisted the House had wanted to impeach in 2007 after he called the House into a special session to work on a failed budget.
"Let me say, to begin with, that the House's action today was, of course, not a surprise," he said. "It was a foregone conclusion. So this is not something that came as a complete surprise to me. It happened kind of fast. But, again, kind of expected, and part of the process that has essentially been the dynamic in Illinois, since I was reelected governor in November of 2006."
The governor focused on times where he and the House disagreed on issues, such as healthcare, and repeated that the House's vote of impeachment was because of what he has done "to fight for families." He asserted his work done for the families behind him should not be impeachable acts.
"So we're going to move forward," he said. "And I'm going to continue to fight every step of the way. Let me reassert to all of you, once more, that I am not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing. That issue will be dealt with on a separate course, in an appropriate forum, a federal court. And I'm confident that, at the end of the day, I will be properly exonerated."
He continued, "In the meantime, I have a job to do for the people. They hired me to not just to say that I'm for things that could help them, but they hired me to fight for them. And I'm going to fight for them every step of the way, because if I didn't fight for them, the results that we've provided for people would not have happened."
But Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn said Blagojevich missed the real reason for the impeachment.
"I wish he had resigned today and I think it is unfortunate he did not resign," Quinn said in a press conference less than a half hour after Blagojevich's ended. "There are times in one's life where you have to put your country first, and I think this is time for Blagojevich to reflect on that and do what is best for the common good and not himself."