So he didn't take it.
Later he listened to his messages: "I walked outside, listened to it and it was from President Obama," Balanoff said.
"Tom, this is Barack, give me a call," the soon-to-be President-Elect said on the message.
After Balanoff sent word through an Obama aide to call him back, Obama returned his call later that night.
"Tom, i want to talk to you with regard to the Senate seat,"
Obama told him.
Balanoff said Obama said he had two criteria: someone who was good for the citizens of Illinois and could be elected in 2010.
Obama said he wasn't publicly coming out in support of anyone but he believed Valerie Jarrett would fit the bill.
"I would much prefer she (remain in the White House) but she does want to be Senator and she does meet those two criteria," Balanoff said Obama told him. "I said: 'thank you, I'm going to reach out to Gov. Blagojevich."
Balanoff then described a Nov. 6, 2008 meeting he had with Rod Blagojevich to recommend Valerie Jarrett for Barack Obama's Senate seat.
Blagojevich responded that he was in "active discussions" with the Madigans about appointing Lisa Madigan and was holding out for a legislative package with the House speaker.
"I said that could be months. He said, 'Yeah'. I said Valerie Jarrett, I don't believe she has that kind of time," Balanoff testified.
Blago then turned the conversation to a cabinet position, Balanoff said.
"He said, 'You know, I love being governor, but my real passion is health care,'" and then he asked about the Health and Human Services cabinet post.
"I told him that's not going to happen," Balanoff said. "He said, "Is that because of all the investigations around me?"