January 11th, 2010
01:30 PM ET
5 years ago

Blagojevich: 'Stupid' to say I'm blacker than Obama

(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.


Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama • Rod Blagojevich
soundoff (212 Responses)
  1. Mark

    Yeah well you're not the first stupid politician and won't be the last one either

    January 11, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. Steph

    I think all ex-governors should just be silent for a while...Blago, Palin, Romney, etc... You don't have a job in government. The more you speak the happier we are that you're no longer an elected official.

    January 11, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. CHANGE.COM

    Maybe so, Blagojevich. You can take that to mean all kinds of thing–none of which fits. If your experience is similar to the one depicted in the movie, Soul Man about a white guy who tanned himself dark to get into Harvard Law School on a minority scholarship but was exposed and had to plead for his life, then I would assume that you have a clue what it means to be black. But you are basically a foul-mouthed crook which hardly fits the description of a black man or woman. My advice to you is to focus on your upcoming corruption trial and stop making unfounded and baseless statements. Idiot!

    January 11, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. shoegazer

    Open mouth,insert foot...hmm,seems simple enough.

    January 11, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  5. CHANGE.COM

    Is that why you tried to sell his senate seat to the highest bidder, Blago? Why don't you just zip it and focus on your upcoming celebrity apprentice gig? Or more importantly, on your upcoming corruption trial?

    January 11, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. ConsiderThis-FL

    White folk get me thinking that they understand the Black experience. I don't care what he saw growing up, he 'saw' it, but he didn't 'live it.' People that evoke race in any matter being discussed demonstrates a small, undeveloped mind. When will America ever get over race and accept the fact that we're all human beings. I'll bet you that if a white person needed a heart transplant and the only one that matched and was available was from a black person, the white person wouldn't reject it and say, "No, I don't want THAT

    January 11, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. mjm

    This reminds me of when Vanilla Ice said he could dance as well as MC Hammer.....all hell broke lose on the Arsenio Hall Show.

    January 11, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. Paul

    This country will always be plagued with racism. Oddly enough, this guy wants Obama to hurry up? Nothing has changed? He's a criminal. I love how everything that he does politically is "Bigger than him." Was it bigger than him when he was taking bribes for Barack's old Illinois seat? History will expose the ignorance of our times. Many of us will look back uncomfortably as we were entertained by our gadgets and toys that numbed us as to the fundamental human rights for all to be judged fairly as individuals. A lot of "I's" on this "Team."

    January 11, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  9. Sean

    Obama is half white and half black, so Obama is not as black as Reverend Wright. But I don't see how Blog is darker than Obama? I don't think any white is as yellow as me.... stupid is what stupid does.

    January 11, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. Jack Fl

    Add anaother page to the coming book

    January 11, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. Kevin in Ohio

    Another racist....democrat. At least this one is already out of office. If minorities really want to achieve power and credibility, they need to stop voting for those who keep them feeling victimized....the democrats.

    January 11, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. larrywi

    This guy is just as big of a looser as Obama, at least with respect to that, they do have something in common! Where would we be without the state of IL, and the fine politicians it produces...

    January 11, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "What helps me get up every morning is, I'm fighting the fight for something much larger than me"

    Yep...his addiction to d-lysergic acid diethylamide-25 is apparently much larger than he is right now.

    January 11, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  14. DB Savant

    I do understand Robs comments, he has been more in touch with Chicago’s black community than Obama. You don’t see the president running back to Chicago to vacation with his family now that he is president. Besides the color of Obama’s skin, how black is he? He was raised solely by his white mother and Grand mother. His farther like most black males decided to not be involved with his son. So for his elegant speech and mannerisms is all white. why don’t we ever mention that he is white as well? Every one who is offended by my comments, sorry, but they are true! His white mother had everything to do with who he is and who he became!

    January 11, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  15. Ed Anderson

    You may not be blacker than Barack, but you're a LOT stupider.

    January 11, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  16. Matthew

    I know it's totally crazy, but I like this guy in spite of all the allegations, impeachment, hair, Elvis impressions, etc.

    That's how you issue an apology. He must have called himself stupid 20 times, and didn't deflect any of the blame on the interviewer or any of the other trap questions the reporters gave.

    I wish I could hear the entire transcripts of those wiretaps. I really do, because despite the fact that I assume the guy is guilty of trying to sell that seat, I like him. It almost makes me cringe, but I can't help it.

    January 11, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  17. ljjm

    So, in Blagojevich's world a person's "blackness" is determined by whether or not the person shined shoes? Talk about your stereotypes. Do the people of Illinois realize how lucky they were the day this man left office?

    January 11, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  18. neurosurgeon

    And why isn't Blago in jail yet?

    What happened to the whole bribery scandal?

    January 11, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  19. Margo

    Two things, Blaggo:
    1) Your comment wrt President Obama was unbelievably condescending and tasteless.
    2) Your comment was really stupid because the audience you were playing to is generally too ignorant to understand metaphors.

    You are a loser, bub.

    January 11, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  20. Dar

    And the dumb just keep getting dumber

    January 11, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  21. Ron - Saint Louis

    Evolution gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth so that we may listen twice as much as we speak. Too bad Rod hasn't learned that lesson.

    January 11, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  22. Saad

    Anyone who invites this man to a show or covers him in news is committing a crime. This man needs to just go somewhere and stay there till he dies.

    January 11, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  23. Republicans are the American Taliban

    Basically everything he does is stupid. Why doesn't he just "complete the circle" as Rush says, and become a Republican?

    January 11, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  24. loomy

    And again I ask you CNN... why the heck are you posting this as news?

    January 11, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  25. Randy in AZ

    Hey, I'm blacker than Blagojevich.

    January 11, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
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