January 11th, 2010
01:30 PM ET
11 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. BSmart

    OK Rod,
    How does shining shoes and living in a 5 room apartment tie in to being African American or any of our experiences?

    But Don't worry Rod, you'll have plenty of TIME to apologize for everything you've said and done in your life soon. As a matter of fact the People of the United States will even give you a place where you can think about it and write your apologies for the next 10 to 25 years.

    January 11, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  2. jmz

    actually from just the given article he prob IS blacker than Obama- why? because theres is this sterotype that ALL white people are born with silver spoons and ALL black people are born in the ghetto etc. in fact being born in the ghetto is actually a bragging point for most minorities as otherwise, if you were not, speak proper english, your not hood enough and considered 'whitewashed' Here is the case that shows this is not true at all.

    January 11, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  3. mike,iowa

    Someone explain to me why people feel the need to continue to interview this idiot and why it is so important to have idiots in the news as if there isnt enough crap to digest...

    January 11, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  4. Teneeshia

    OH PLEASE!! I am black and this does not offend me @ all. There's some comments that are meant to be clearly racist but this is not one of them. I'm so tired of the media turning an innocent comment into a media frenzy. You can't even mention color w/o someone taking it the wrong one.

    January 11, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. Jakob

    Spotlight seeker. Keep him cut off.

    January 11, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  6. ej in Tacoma

    Why give this man the time of day what absurd comments to make because he shined shoe's and his father owned a laundromat he's blacker than Obama!! Has he looked in the mirror at himself he obviously suffers from a major identity crises among other things. What an imbecile he needs to be out of the limelight!
    EJ mohammed

    January 11, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  7. Elliott

    Rod, you are a moron. You have no class or decency anymore in the public's eye. Go away, shut the door and stop coming out.

    January 11, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  8. JW

    Blacker than Obama? Maybe in his heart....

    January 11, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  9. frem

    I guess I'm just curious about all the uproar with Blago. Will one of you DemoCraps please explain to me what the difference is between Blago and Harry Reid when both spewed racist remarks. They are both DemoCraps so it's obvious there is no difference in character. On one hand the DemoCraps are all forgive and forget when it comes to Reid but want nothing less than banishment for Blago. Personally, I can't stand the whole lot of them including Nancy the Queen of Botox.

    January 11, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  10. pt

    Here's what I have to say on the whole subject. Obama demonstrates he is arabic, black, white, etc., at his convenience. I'm more native American than he is black. I do not think anyone should.deny any of their blood lines any of the time.

    January 11, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  11. Peggy Ledbetter

    1. Mark Halperin was NOT an Obama supporter, but now wants to make money for his gossip book of President Obama's candidacy.
    2. Harry Reid make his remark over a year ago, and it was public record. Where was the outcry of critics then?
    3. To spend so much time on this distraction is ABSURD, and even more so to even spend any time on anything Blagojevich says!

    January 11, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. Edie

    Stupid, stupid, stupid. What does shining shoes and having a father with a Laundromat in a black community have to do with being black? I am black and have never shined shoes or lived in a black community. Why is it so hard to believe that a black person can grow up in a safe middle class environment with a good education the same way that white people do?

    January 11, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  13. sharon

    should this person try to talk so soon?????????

    January 11, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  14. Greg

    This guy is an idiot and that's why the Obama administration backed away from him from the get-go... and allowed him to bury himself. Only someone like Donald Trump could care anything for Blago... what a complete and utter idiot!

    January 11, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. Dana Dixon

    What an idiot. Did someone have to call and TELL him how stupid he sounded?

    January 11, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. Steve, New York City

    Incredible how this country still has stupid hang-ups about skin color . . . it's important that we don't waste time, as we face very serious challenges.

    January 11, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. Edward

    What's up with people asking what makes Barack Obama "black" and stating that because Obama grew up in a middle class household and went to good schools that he isn't "black". What makes a person black you ask? Their race, that's it. You can do whatever you want and you'd still be "black". That isn't something that someone can take from you. Enough with the groupthink.

    January 11, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. ANGIE

    that is because you are stupid. IDIOT!

    January 11, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  19. Steve in Denver

    Well, Rod. Something we agree on. If your mouth was open, stupid was coming out.

    Now, please, go back into obscurity. I can't believe someone who is guilty of such malfeasance is still talking.

    January 11, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. Marty, Grand Rapids MI

    Might as well interview people in the insane asylum. Good work CNN!

    January 11, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. Rocket Scientist

    Open Mouth... Insert Foot.

    January 11, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. I am sorry

    What the heck is up with these politicians who think they can make racist remarks, then just say,,,,, I'M sorry and it all goes away.

    Ried should be called ont he carpet, Blago should be told to SHUT UP.

    And the double standard is for far out there is it ridiculus. You all know full well if Palin, Hannity Rush or any high ranking Republican had said what Ried or Blago did, there would be calls for a public beheading.

    Double Standard all the way, Dems say,, ooops, I am sorry,,,, Republicans get called racist and hate mongers for saying the same thing.

    January 11, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  23. Jean in Miami

    I don't think Rod is someone you can trust based on his words and actions. He needs to start thinking before he speaks. Not someone who belongs in politics or in the public arena. I think he is out for himself, and not at all representative of the people–He's just wants attention–

    President Obama has many challenges in front of him and is doing a fine job - I still support him 100% because I know that there are actions he takes based on facts he knows that are not made public, just as his predecessors have done.

    January 11, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  24. midwest liberal

    i'm ashamed that i ever voted for this man. "blagojevich", the punchline to an extremely cruel and embarrassing joke...

    January 11, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  25. Beth

    Gee...ya think?

    January 11, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
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