Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan being prodded to run for Roland Burris's Senate Seat

The Obama White House is pushing to have Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan run for the U.S. Senate; she was at the White House last Friday meeting with President Obama, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett.

Madigan's spokesman, Robyn Ziegler, told me Wednesday about Madigan's White House visit designed to persuade Madigan to make the Senate contest rather than run for governor.

"They met and discussed the U.S. Senate seat," Ziegler told me.

"She has not made a decision as to what she is going to do. As you know she is considering her options and meeting with the president is an important step in that decision making process," Ziegler said.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is under pressure from top Democrats to abandon her long-expected campaign for governor and instead seek President Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat next year, a switch she's seriously considering, say officials in Washington and Chicago.

Madigan's political director, Mary Morrissey, said Tuesday that Madigan will probably decide "within four to six weeks" whether to run for governor, Senate, or a third term as attorney general.

"They're all still real possibilities," said Morrissey, who confirmed that Madigan is being nudged toward Washington.

"'Pressure' is a funny word — it has negative connotations to it. … But she has been receiving contact from the Democratic (Senatorial Campaign) Committee … and calls from Democratic members of the Senate," Morrissey said. She declined to say which senators have called.

Others who are closely attuned to the jockeying for the Illinois seat say bluntly that top Democrats want Madigan to run for the Senate seat, in part because they want to settle quickly on a strong party candidate to get the focus off the embattled incumbent, Democratic Sen. Roland Burris.

The White House on Thursday worked to step away from supporting a potential U.S. Senate bid by Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan, saying President Barack Obama "is not going to get involved" in backing a Democratic primary contender for his old seat.

The declaration by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs came after Madigan's office said she met last week with Obama and top presidential aides to discuss a possible Senate bid as she also considers a run for Illinois governor next year.

"She is weighing her options and trying to determine how she can best serve the public," Madigan spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler said of the attorney general's White House visit, which included discussions with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. "Talking to the president is an important part of that decision-making process."

Obama's old Senate seat has been at the center of a political firestorm since late last year when then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich appointed Roland Burris.