(CNN) - Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is apologizing for telling Esquire Magazine he's "blacker than Barack Obama."
"What I said was stupid, stupid, stupid," he told reporters outside his home Monday.
"I was speaking metaphorically. Obviously I'm not blacker than President Obama," said Blagojevich, who was impeached last year after being accused of trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Obama.
In the February edition of Esquire, Blagojevich said Obama was "catapulted in on hope can change, what we hope the guy is …
"What the f***? Everything he's saying's on the teleprompter. I'm blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where we lived. I saw it all growing up," he said.
The governor apologized for his "stupid comments," but said he was expressing "real frustration" that nothing has changed under the Obama administration.
"Am I frustrated? Yes. Was I expressing frustration? Yes. Was that frustration real? Yes. Is it still real? Yes. Was the way I said what I said stupid? Absolutely yes, stupid," Blagojevich said.
Blagojevich last year pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges. A federal grand jury in April indicted him on 16 felony counts, including racketeering, conspiracy, wire fraud and making false statements to investigators. His trial is slated for later this year.
The embattled ex-governor has maintained his innocence, insisting that "when the full story's heard …. it'll correct itself."
"What helps me get up every morning is, I'm fighting the fight for something much larger than me," Blagojevich said in the interview. "I'm fighting for what is at the basis of what our country is supposed to be, a place where you're presumed innocent, where if in fact you did something wrong, the system plays out in such a way where the truth comes out, not people being forced to lie and being squeezed to lie. If you love your country as I do, this is a fight worth fighting."
Blagojevich appears on NBC's "The Celebrity Apprentice" in March. His wife, Patti, was on the network's "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here" this past summer, lasting 23 days in the Costa Rican jungle before being voted off.