Sen. Robert Bennett (Utah), the top Republican on the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, suggested Tuesday that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) should instead appoint former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D) to the upper chamber instead of Roland Burris.

"She's non-controversial, she has been here, she's an African-American, she clearly has not been picked by the governor, and she would be appointed by virtue of her past history," said Bennett, whose committee may soon consider Burris's Senate appointment.

"Everyone would accept her," Bennett said. "If she wanted to compete in the special election, she could. If Burris wanted to compete in the special election, he could."

But the Republican added, "No one will listen to the idea and I don't expect anything to come of it."

Bennett may be overestimating Moseley Braun's ability to avoid controversy. Republicans, during her past elections and during her 1999 confirmation hearing to become ambassador to New Zealand, criticized her 1996 meeting with Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha and noted that her 1992 campaign faced accusations of sloppy bookkeeping.

-J. Taylor Rushing