Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) defiantly stated his innocence and said he will fight charges that he schemed to sell a U.S. Senate seat.

"I'm here to tell you right off the bat that I am not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing, that I intend to stay on the job, and I will fight this thing every step of the way," he said. "I will fight. I will fight. I will fight until I take my last breath."

Blagojevich was arrested last week on corruption charges. Federal prosecutors also said he threatened to hold state funding from businesses that didn't acquiesce to his demands for political contributions.

But on Friday, the governor said he has done nothing wrong. He added that he would respond to his charges in court, not through the press.

"And when I do, I am absolutely certain that I will be vindicated," he said.

He proceeded to quote the poem, "If," by Rudyard Kipling.

"If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you; if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you and make allowance for their doubting, too; if you can wait and not be tired by waiting; or being lied about, don't deal in lies; or being hated, don't give way to hating."

Blagojevich also urged Illinois residents to be patient, "sit back and take a deep breath," and reserve judgment.
"Afford me the same rights that you and your children have," he said. "The presumption of innocence The right to defend yourself. The right to your day in court. The same rights that you would expect for yourselves."

He ended his remarks with the season's greetings.

"Merry Christmas. Happy holidays," he said before exiting the room without taking questions.