January 11th, 2010
12:10 PM ET
8 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. Tom

    This is Chicago politics at it's best. Obama, Rahm Emmanuel, David Axlerod, Roland Burris, Dick Durbin, these are the people making decisions for everyone in the country? All democrats, All corrupt. What a joke! This is the most corrupt and bankrupt state in the union. Now they want to take tapayer money from other states and put it into broken, corrupt, and bankrupt Illinois. Now we have the top democratic leaders like Reid and Clinton making racist comments about our first and only black president, and the Congressional Black Caucus says that is ok. The CBC what a joke, they have no respect for themselves or other black people, why do you think Reid and Clinton said those things, it's because they are true and they know that the blacks in office will never do anything in response.

    January 11, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  2. writingmomma

    Rod must have pins stuck under all that hair that is impeding his brain. His mother was not black, neither was his father. So, for him to make such a statement is rediculous. He truly needs some mental help. I think this scandal has driven him mad. He never was, nor could he ever be a black man. If by some chance he could turn black, and have to endure what the average black male endures on a daily basis, he would give his left and right testicle to be changed back to white.
    He owes the entire black community an apology for that statement. He nor Bill Clinton will never be, nor can they ever relate to the African American way of life. I bring up Bill Clinton, because for a long time, I heared many say that he was as close to being black as a white man could get; Yea right! Cheating on your spouse does not constitute a race change. All black men don't cheat. Stop the myth!

    January 11, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  3. Ghazi

    You ain't blacker than Obama. You're dumber than a doorknob.

    January 11, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  4. Cecilia Lewis

    and you are an idiot

    January 11, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  5. GWB2012

    He and his wife are scumbags and belong in the nuthouse. Plain and simple. They are both pathetic excuses for human beings. Childrens Services should step in. These two are not sane!!!!!!!!

    January 11, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  6. Squigman

    WAKE -UP America. It's time to start electing people with substance, not fluff. The country needs leadership, not big hair or media hogs..

    January 11, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  7. Jimmy James

    2 Democrats make racial statements and the left shows no outrage. They accept apologies from Democrats but call for the guillotine for any Republicans. No double standard here.

    January 11, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  8. bluedem1

    Sheesh! Can this guy EVER shut his mouth??

    January 11, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  9. Ace

    What???? I didnt know ypur race was determined by socioeconomic status not genetics.

    January 11, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  10. chelle

    The man is a pig. He lacks any class whatsoever. A five room apartment is hardly poverty-stricken. President Obama's mother subsisted on food stamps at one point. President Obama grew up poor and became wealthy from hard work and a good education. Apparently that means he's not "black". Nice Mr. Blagojevich – really nice...

    January 11, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  11. Sean

    How dare he?! As a black woman I am completely offended by his statement. In fact, I find it extremely prejudiced. He assumes that the black experience can be summed up by being poor, shining shoes and living in a five room apartment. That actually says that he knows NOTHING about the black experience.

    January 11, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  12. Craig Ball

    wow...so shining shoes is part of being black? growing up in a five room apartment is part of being black? what does that mean, "blacker than..." anyway? this guy should probably stop talking.

    Mr. C. BALL

    January 11, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  13. Brian

    Strange how Dems all of a sudden are being revealed as the racists they are. They don't believe minorities are smart enough to get ahead without help. That is straight racism brother. To bad you have to have an {R} after your name to be held accountable.

    January 11, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  14. Ron in California

    The gift that keeps on giving.

    January 11, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  15. FM

    Eh! Blago , you are black because you shined shoes and lived in an a five-room apartment??? Isn't fair that we put you on the list of those who are insulting the others!!!!!

    January 11, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |

    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 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  17. Tania

    And we need to know what he thinks because....?

    January 11, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  18. Anonymous

    What a Rod...

    Those who try to define what black is only qualify what bigotry is...

    January 11, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  19. Perry Chance

    He doesn't even know what it means to be Black and to struggle every day as a Black male trying to do right by his family and society. He would survive 24 hours(mentally, spiritually, and physically) in my world where I am constantly challenged economically and socially in a racist America.

    January 11, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  20. Ray

    Yea, hence your black wife and kids (sarcasm). Get out of here. You talk with a lot less class than Obama with every word being an explicative, but that doesn't make you black. As a black person myself, I'm ashamed you'd even hand the audacity to consider yourself an African American. But hey, I guess being black is in now a days

    January 11, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  21. ThinkAgain

    Is this guy an idiot? Yes. Is he in love with the sound of his own voice? Yes. Does he ask himself too many questions? Yes.

    January 11, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  22. A. Goodwin

    The guy is a nutcase. I had a tough life growing up, but that doesn't mean I'm "black" – it just means that I had a tough childhood. And, why does that even matter? Blagojevich needs to crawl back into the hole from which he came from. Quite mature of him to use such foul language too. MORON!

    January 11, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |

    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 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  24. Jenna

    So because he grew up poor and shined shoes, he's somehow Black?? Is that the definition of a Black person? Not all black people grow up in the ghetto. A lot of us grow up middle/upper class, go to private schools, go to college, have successful careers, get married and raise families, etc.

    January 11, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  25. Calvin

    This guy is hilarious! He really doesn't see how crazy he comes off.

    January 11, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
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