Rob and Rod. They're men now, but they were boys once, growing up together. They were their parents' only children, the objects of their parents' dreams, the reason for their parents' sacrifices.Yeah, what would they think? Would they, like most parents, have seen their children as innocent? Would they have been even more disappointed that their two sons have reached the heights of their lives only to go down in flames due to a federal indictment?
What would their mother and father have thought if they'd been on the 25th floor of the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse on a dreary April morning to watch their sons arraigned as criminals?
Sitting in the packed, windowless courtroom, I had to wonder, and to wonder how often it crossed the brothers' minds.
Rod Blagojevich's childhood has always played a big part in the story he tells about himself. His father, Radisav, was a steelworker from Serbia. His mother, Mila, collected fares for the CTA. Through his rise and on through his fall from power, he has often invoked the struggles they invested in their sons' futures, the faith they carried.
For her new book, "Pay to Play: How Rod Blagojevich Turned Political Corruption into a National Sideshow," Elizabeth Brackett, a correspondent for WTTW-Channel 11, talked to Rob Blagojevich.
She describes him as an "extraordinarily hard worker" who was never accused of impropriety until he was ensnared recently in his brother's ambitions. She talked to him about why he came to Chicago from Nashville, where he lives and has worked as a real estate investor, to help Rod raise campaign money.
"He's my brother," Rob answered. "My brother needed help."
Their parents, Rob went on to say, told them that when they, the parents, were gone, the boys would have only one another.
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