[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/23/art.blago.gi.jpg caption="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.