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Gov. Quinn: Burris should resign

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Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois is holding a press conference right now. He said: "I would ask my good friend Sen. Roland Burris ... to step aside and resign from the office."

Burris remains mum. AP reports that the senator did indeed visit a veterans medical center north of Chicago today. "But he's sticking to his pledge to not speak publicly or answer any more questions about the evolving story of his Senate appointment," the news organization says.

Update at 12:22 p.m. ET. At his press conference, the governor also called for a new law that would require special elections to fill a U.S. Senate vacancy, rather than require the governor to appoint one until an election can be held at the regular time, which in this case is 2010. He did, however, say that an interim senator should be appointed for a few months until a special election can be held. "We should always have two senators," he said.

Quinn says he doesn't think it is feasible to force a sitting senator out of office by passing a law calling for a special election to replace Burris. That's what the state Republicans want. Instead, he said, he wants Burris to resign and the Legislature to pass a law to require a special election now and in all cases when there is a vacancy.

Update at 12:30 p.m. ET. It would take 115 days to hold a special election, under the law proposed by Quinn.

Update at 12:33 p.m. ET. Quinn says Burris must resign for the "common good" of Illinois and he will be held in "high regard" if he does. "Sen. Burris makes the ultimate decision. I know it is very hard for any human being to resign from anything, but the common good is really what we have to focus on in Illinois today."

Update at 12:39 p.m. ET. Quinn reminded reporters that he said at the outset that Burris made a mistake taking the position from disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. But he blamed Democratic leaders in Washington, too. "I wish the U.S. Senate had not acted" on Burris' appointment, he said.

Update at 12:41 p.m. ET. He said that the state's senior senator, Dick Durbin, "pleaded" with Burris not to accept the position. "To do that was not a wise decision," he said. Quinn added, "I think he will do the right thing and resign."

Update at 12:44 p.m. ET. Why should Burris listen to Quinn and resign? Quinn says he thinks Burris will listen to people like him who know and respect him. "I consider myself a friend and I admire what he has done. I think that message will come through and I hope it does."

The press conference, which was carried live on WGN-TV in Chicago, has ended.

Update at 2:31 p.m. ET. Robert Gibbs, President Obama's spokesman, just said at a White House press conference that Burris should take some time over the weekend to think about his next steps. Gibbs said the president supports an investigation "that would get some full story out." He added: "It might be important for Sen. Burris to take some time this weekend to correct what has been said and think of what lays ahead in his future." You can read all about the press conference at The Oval.

Update at 4:05 p.m. ET. Another Democrat is calling for Burris to resign. Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias put out a press release saying Burris' contradictory statements regarding his contacts with Blagojevich's brother and other associates "violated the public trust." AP story here.

Update at 4:45 p.m. ET. Burris spokesman Jim O'Connor just told USA TODAY's Fredreka Schouten that the Democrat is "again asking that the public and elected officials stop their rush to judgment and let the facts come out." O'Connor also said that Burris' acting chief of staff Darrel Thompson has resigned, but did not provide further explanation. Thompson, an aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, had been on loan to help Burris establish his office.

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