Pressing the flesh, signing autographs, Rod Blagojevich returns home to Chicago

Just hours after the president commuted his sentence, the ex-governor seemed more like a campaigning pol working a rope line than a disgraced ex-convict.

SHARE Pressing the flesh, signing autographs, Rod Blagojevich returns home to Chicago
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Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich greets supporters early Wednesday morning outside the family’s Ravenswood Manor home after being released from a Colorado prison hours earlier.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Except for the mop of gray hair, it was as if nothing had changed.

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was laughing and joking with TV reporters Tuesday night after his release from federal prison, thanks to President Donald Trump, and his return home to Chicago.

Before his flight, he was chatting with fans on the Denver airport people mover train. He gladly took selfies, even with the TV reporter sitting next to him on his flight.

He was defiant. He was grateful. He’s now “a Trumpocrat.”

And he kept telling reporters, staying on message, he’ll have more to say Wednesday — at a news conference outside his Northwest Side home that he’s already scheduled.

He’s shed weight. His lustrous dark mane has gone gray. But he’s lost none of the political skill that got him elected Illinois governor twice.

Just hours after Trump commuted his sentence, Blagojevich seemed more like a campaigning pol working a rope line than a disgraced ex-convict who had just spent eight years in prison.

He entered a scrum of reporters and television cameras as he left O’Hare Airport.

Before he got into a waiting vehicle, the well known Cubs fan paused to sign a baseball and a photograph of himself in a Cubs jersey.

“Appreciate you guys, thank you very much,” he said. “What were your names again?” And then, “Thanks buddy, appreciate you.”

His security urged him repeatedly, it was time to go. But Blagojevich, as he often did at campaign appearances, decided to linger, if only for a bit.

At his Ravenswood home, he was greeted with a similar scene a little after midnight, as he made his way through a throng of reporters and a handful of supporters, who had milled around the family home for several hours before his return.

Escorted by two security guards, the former governor was shuffled into his home, but not before thanking a few supporters and pressing a little flesh.

He told reporters he was looking forward to reuniting with his family.

He went inside and at long last, he was home.

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Outside the Ravenswood home of Rod Blagojevich Wednesday morning. The ex-governor, now freed from prison, is expected to hold a news conference there later this morning.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-TImes

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