Rep. Bobby Rush says he doesn't think any U.S. senator would be caught turning a black man away from serving alongside them.
He thought wrong.
No Senate Democrats responded to his racial challenge. And they got support from President-elect Barack Obama, who will be the first African-American in the White House.
Rush, D-Ill., dared Senate Democrats Tuesday to block Roland Burris from becoming the Senate's only black member, urging them not to "hang and lynch" the former state attorney general for the alleged corruption by his patron, Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Obama was having none of it, siding with Senate Democrats who vowed to turn Burris away should he show up in Washington to be sworn in.
"They cannot accept an appointment made by a governor who is accused of selling this very Senate seat," Obama said in a statement. "I agree with their decision, and it is extremely disappointing that Governor Blagojevich has chosen to ignore it."
Obama voiced disapproval for the spectacle unfolding in his home state.
"I believe the best resolution would be for the governor to resign his office and allow a lawful and appropriate process of succession to take place," Obama said.
It was unclear what that process would be and who would choose Obama's successor.
On Tuesday, Blagojevich declared himself the decider, defying the leaders of his party and naming Burris, 71, the next senator from Illinois. At a news conference in Chicago, he urged the Senate not to allow the charges that he tried to sell the same Senate seat to taint a well-respected man.