January 11th, 2010
12:10 PM ET
4 years ago

Ex-governor Blagojevich: 'I'm blacker than Barack Obama'

Blagojevich appears on 'Celebrity Apprentice' in March.
Blagojevich appears on 'Celebrity Apprentice' in March.

(CNN) - Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich says he’s “blacker than Barack Obama,” and tells Esquire magazine that the “strength of the truth in America” will one day vindicate him.

The governor, who was impeached after being accused of trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Obama, says most of the people in politics are “full of s*** and phonies, but I was real.”

Blagojevich tells the magazine that 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 says.

(Updated after the jump with Blagojevich apology)

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 says 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.

Update 10:30 am: Blagojevich apologized Monday for what he called “stupid comments” made in the Esquire article.

“What I said was stupid, stupid, stupid,” he told reporters outside his home.

“I was speaking metaphorically. Obviously I’m not blacker than President Obama,” he said.

The governor took responsibility for his words, 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.


Filed under: Popular Posts • Rod Blagojevich
soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. Craig

    He must be referring to their consciences.

    January 11, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  2. Jeff

    How was this guy ever elected to anything?

    January 11, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. LLBD

    You may have thought you were "real" but you're out of here! Bye bye Blago! Now go pull the sand over your head and stay there. You are an embarrassment to our nation.

    January 11, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  4. Jake

    He says he's blacker than Obama because he shined shoes? What a ridiculously racist and stupid thing to say. He might as well have said, "Well, I'm going to jail, so that makes me WAY blacker than Obama." Good riddance, Mr. Blagojevich.

    January 11, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  5. CTer

    Wiping tears of laughter from my eyes.

    and yes I got that this was a metaphor......

    January 11, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. Republicans are the American Taliban

    Well I know now which show I won't be watching when it airs, and if NBC does air the show with this racist thief on it I will no longer watch their network. I'd rather watch "The Celebrity Apprentice" with Charles Manson.

    January 11, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  7. B Lewis in Austin

    Gimme a break. When are you going to start reporting news that means something? As long as these guys have forums that will listen and print what they say, then we'll keep hearing these outrageous comments.

    January 11, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. Albert K. L.A., CA

    Sarah McPalin, the Heene 'Balloon Boy' family and this jerk are all stage struck and will say and do anything to get their faces in the press. They will not be satisfied until they get their own Reality TV show.

    January 11, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. Jane/Seattle

    This guy is just another side show to distract while some real insidious stuff is happening behind closed doors! Next...

    January 11, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  10. Brad Sparks

    This was probably a publicity ploy ahead of his Celebrity Apprentice appearance. Hopefully Trump doesn't put up with it and tells him "Yur Fiyad" before he even shows up.

    January 11, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  11. Josh

    You may have grown up in a black neighborhood but you did not suffer the same discrimination millions of african americans suffer each day

    January 11, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  12. ANDROLOMA

    When did ethnicity become a correlation with a hard life? Now after he admitted the metaphors were stupid, can we further expect more gems of wisdom from this disgraced attempt at public relations?

    January 11, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  13. Matt

    Ridiculous. This guy is cementing himself as a front-runner – among aspiring reality TV personalities. What a weirdo.

    January 11, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  14. Mlhall

    CNN most of the people you are putting in the news are seeking 15 minutes of fame. Why would you report on a white man who is saying he blacker than a half white man, a half white man who never live in a black community until he was grown-up. I am not trying to take any thing from President Obama he was raised by his white grand parents O.K who did not live in a black community. There are a lot of thing you could ref. yourself to other than being a Shoe Shine Boy and your father had a Laundromat in a black community. Also, because a federal grand jury indicted him on 16 felony counts, including racketeering, conspiracy, wire fraud and making false statements to investigators do not make this man a black man, it just make him white. Why are we having this conversation any way?

    January 11, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  15. Annie

    This man is amazing. He lives in a Universe where the Salahi's. Jon Gosselin and The Baloon Boy's Dad are next door neighbors and where they go to bed at night and pray to wake up in the company of rich and famous and talented people. Of which all of these sad want to be's will never be.
    Every time this man opens his mouth, it's embarassing.

    January 11, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  16. Just Breathe

    Really BAG-ojevich???? Nauseating.

    January 11, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  17. Kim Martin

    I think Blagojevich has not apologized for his stupid comments. His apology states that he was speaking metaphorically...which to me only reinforces that in Blagojevich's world, to be black is to grow up in a small apartment, do the jobs that no one aspires to, and to live or work in the black community. If that's an apology, I don't accept it. Sorry Roddy boy!

    January 11, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  18. Anonymous

    Grow up Blagojovich! You're no black then the dirt on the bottom of my shoes! Be a man and admit what you did! People will respect you more for your truth then your lie!

    January 11, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  19. john

    you are blacker than obama?this guy needs serious help.

    January 11, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  20. italie

    He was removed from office. "The Governor " title is no longer appropriate.

    January 11, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  21. Jane in WI

    Blago you are an idiot. Quit before you embarrass yourself even more.

    January 11, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  22. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    The governor took responsibility for his words, but said he was expressing “real frustration” that nothing has changed under the Obama administration.

    Now...nothing has change! Wow! How about imagining what would have been the outcomes if McCain-Palin had been elected and facing these challenges on many fronts...we would still be looking at Russia instead of resetting the button, we would probably be bombing Iran by now, we would probably have seen more tax cuts to the few and we would have seen climate change sympathizers passed as an extreme prophetic cult and probably we would have seen the definite decline of America instead of seeing putting the breaksg and slowing down the decline of America to put it very mildly. No Frustrations after one year? Of course there are but petty politics are what slows down changes...now admitting being stupid and taking responsibility for one's words is quite a first step upwards instead of up yours!:) Kindly!

    January 11, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  23. Dan Holiday

    ...and 110 times more honest, and 4000 times smarter.

    January 11, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  24. Susan

    "The strength of truth in America"?!?!? The truth is ... this man is a joke and totally off the wall. It's all about his ego and it's time for the media to take away his microphone! No more coverage, please!

    January 11, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  25. joe kiloz

    Folks, Barack Obama is Mulato.Undeniable fact.

    January 11, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
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