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. Robert the Man

    Barry is whiter than W

    January 11, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  2. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    You can probably find the same comment to report from someone who is mentally challenged because this guy is way past that, he's nuts.

    January 11, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  3. Palmer

    All I can say is, "Wow." Just because the ex-Gov grew up in a five-room apartment and shined shoe, he's now Black. I'm Black, grew up with my Mother and Father, never had to shine shoes but, I did work, and I never been accused of a crime... People really need to think before they speak. What an idiot...

    January 11, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  4. Anonemus

    Imbecile. Leave the political shenanigans to Berlusconi.

    January 11, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  5. Mike

    LOL, I love this guy. At some level, he's correct - the scandals, the denials, the delusions, the bouts of really bizarre behavior - as a politician, he's much closer to Al Sharpton, Marion Berry or Jesse Jackson than Obama will ever be.
    Obama is a nice and intelligent man, but he's about as colorful as Bill Bradley. Hecht, even Orrin Hatch is more colorful than Obama, and he's Mormon!!
    You go, Blago - don't ever change!!

    January 11, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  6. grahame rhodes

    Yeh and you never left the getto did you you self serving piece of excrement

    January 11, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  7. gyrogearloose

    This is news? It should be obvious that this guy is nuts.

    January 11, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  8. Indiana Voter

    Democrats are a bunch of racists! Democrats voted for President based on skin color, so they wouldn't feel guilty, while everyone else voted on experience and look where the affirmative action President has got us. Much deeper in debt. Senator Reid should step down as Majority leader after admiting that he made racial slurs. It is much worse than what Trent Lott said that forced him to step down. But the racists in charge at the DNC will defend anyone that has a D beside their name regardless of what they have said or done. Someone tell me how it is different than what Lott said and see how rediculous you sound defending.

    January 11, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  9. Tres Swygert

    I find this more offensive than Reid's comments. At least Reid kept the conversation private...instead, we have Blago saying idiocy nonsense about who is more Black. There needs to be more criticism on Blago's comments, it is really frustrating to continue to hear who is more Black.

    January 11, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  10. Grog in Ohio

    Uhm... how is this news?

    January 11, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Hey let's ALL be as stupid as Blago! I went to private H.S. and college, I'm a white collar worker, and I'm on my way to jail for embezzling millions of dollars from a pension fund, I'm whiter than Bush and Blago!

    January 11, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  12. Fitz in Texas

    One thing for sure, Barack Obama is certainly more "RED" than Blagojevich.

    January 11, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  13. S.Clarke

    What a idiotic comment. Was his father an African-I
    think not. You can never be as black as President
    Obama.
    You are a racist pig.

    January 11, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  14. Rick

    Blago: Crawl back under the rock you came from...a disgrace to the American people who trusted you.

    January 11, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  15. jerseylou

    WOW,what's next out of this guy's mouth.I guess when it's the first time when you are going to prison to see little leroy and big bubba you start singing like a bird. All i can advise you is not to drop the soap and bend over.You will get the shock of your life.

    January 11, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  16. Anonymous

    These people never cease to amaze me....this is the same stupidity that got Reid into trouble – " I'm blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. " – I suppose that these are requirements of "Blackness"?

    This is one of the reasons why so many ignorant whites in the past chose to segregate themselves from everyone else. They actually CHOSE to believe the foolish stereotypes passed down from their predecessors. Seriously, what's the harm in drinking from the same water fountain? Or playing a game on the same field? Or fighting side by side in the same military unit? Or, God forbid, living in the same neighborhood or going to the same high school prom??

    These are just a few of the idiotic ways that segregation existed in this country, SOME OF WHICH ARE STIL PRACTICED TODAY!! These things come from the attitudes reflected by people who think the way eid and Blago do.

    January 11, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  17. Michael-SC

    who cares what this criminal says?
    What is Americas fascination with these criminals?
    They are windbags. Hot air.
    But of course, 20yrs of Simpson fries a what little brain many Americans have.

    January 11, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  18. Chad

    If a Conservative said the things this guy and Harry Reid said it would be headline news and they would be in serious trouble. The NCAAP is even defending Harry Reid! Hypocrits!

    January 11, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  19. RealCatholic

    These people never cease to amaze me....this is the same stupidity that got Reid into trouble – " I'm blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. " – I suppose that these are requirements of "Blackness"?

    This is one of the reasons why so many ignorant whites in the past chose to segregate themselves from everyone else. They actually CHOSE to believe the foolish stereotypes passed down from their predecessors. Seriously, what's the harm in drinking from the same water fountain? Or playing a game on the same field? Or fighting side by side in the same military unit? Or, God forbid, living in the same neighborhood or going to the same high school prom??

    These are just a few of the idiotic ways that segregation existed in this country, SOME OF WHICH ARE STIL PRACTICED TODAY!! These things come from the attitudes reflected by people who think the way eid and Blago do.

    January 11, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  20. Jim

    So it's come to this?

    January 11, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  21. Kyle

    Wow. This guy cannot keep his mouth shut. This is offensive on so many levels it is ridiculous.

    January 11, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  22. paul ignatius

    If he means he is corrupt I agree. this man does not understand the gravity of his errors. He does not represent African Americans.

    January 11, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  23. Preston k

    Pkm he also stole money from childrens he should be in a federal sick

    January 11, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  24. Samantha

    Why is this ignorant idiot relevant.

    January 11, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  25. This guy should.... Evaporate

    Can you just like go away? Please... I dont think anyone liks you Blag...

    January 11, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
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