January 11th, 2010
12:10 PM ET
10 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. Tram

    Will we ever reach a moment in time when race is no more an issue than hair color?

    January 11, 2010 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  2. Susan Alexandria

    'I'm blacker than Barack Obama'

    Seriously...totally inappropriate for anyone to say that.
    It is just wrong on so many levels.

    January 11, 2010 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  3. Bec

    Once again, Blago opens his big mouth and says something stupid. Someone please shut him up.

    January 11, 2010 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  4. Limbaugh is a liberal

    I don't disagree with him, but isn't he supposed to be in jail yet?

    January 11, 2010 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  5. Brian

    At least someone finally said it!! Good for him, the world needs more people that are in positions to be heard that aren't scared to say what's on their minds.

    January 11, 2010 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. Jon M. Lennon

    Wow! My former governer is a moron! Gotta love IL!

    January 11, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  7. troy

    Why won't people just leave black folks alone. It's always something. Why can't they just let blacks live in peace?

    January 11, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  8. Bert

    It takes a guy like him to tell the truth. Maybe he should be prez.

    January 11, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  9. Average Guy in Red-State Kansas

    Can someone help me understand what makes this "punch line" of a person worthy of news coverage?

    He's a profane little moron who doesn't deserve our attention.

    Way to go, CNN. You've once again demonstrated you have about as much news judgement as a hangnail.

    January 11, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  10. Steve in Denver

    Why are we hearing about blaggo? Could anyone possibly be any more irrelevent? Oh, wait. This is the fired governor, then there's the quitter from wasilla. OK, tie.

    Can we not hear about either? C'mon, CNN, its equal. One worthless democrat, one worthless republican, can't you just drop both from your news coverage?

    January 11, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  11. Anonymous

    What desperation.

    January 11, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  12. BJNJ

    Blago a celebrity comedian and Obama is America's Rock star. Blogo's his own man. Obama says whatever is on the telepromptor and has no idea how it got there. These two ought to unite and do a comedy routine on HBO Comedy!

    January 11, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  13. LMC

    He is just pitiful.

    January 11, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  14. Comment

    Wow! Shining shoes.

    January 11, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  15. Expat American

    This man is a lunatic.

    Crazy as a fox, with a coiffure that has endless body and shine; it just doesn't quit.

    January 11, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  16. Annie

    I'm a democrat and I want to say that this guy is as crooked and sleezy as they come.......he is just like Palin....can't stay out of the limelight.......when your 15 mins is up.......give it up and shut up.........

    January 11, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  17. J.Crobuzon

    He's insane. And the stuff on his head is acrylic.

    January 11, 2010 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  18. Sniffit

    where is the other racist Rev. Al on tis one................

    are all black people poor.............

    ha, the double standard shows its true colors

    the dems, and libs stink

    January 11, 2010 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  19. AWARE

    shinning shoes and growing up in poverty does not make you African American! What kind of non-sense?! People can be very ignorant.

    January 11, 2010 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  20. Joe the carpenter Lex. Ky.

    Oh Man don't tell me 'Blago' wormed his way onto the front page again, I REALLY wish he,sarah, and cheney would go hunting with each other and shoot each other in the face.

    January 11, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  21. inofritzn

    Democrats are really obsessed with race aren't they.

    January 11, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  22. Silence Dogoode

    Bwahahahahaha..... you are also smarter, better looking and have more ethics....but still both losers!

    January 11, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  23. yeah right

    so shining shoes and growing up in a small apt is what makes you blacker than somebody? get real you idiot

    January 11, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  24. Brad Sparks

    The only part of Blago that is black is his wretched heart. God save him.

    January 11, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  25. Steve in Denver

    Would one of you reporters please ask Blaggo why he didn't show up to refute the evidence against him in his impeachment trial, only showed up to give a closing argument? He is innocent until proven guilty. My guess is that, since the vote by legislators was almost unanamous, both to evict him and to disallow him ever being elected again, the evidence was overwhelming.

    He just wants to skip the actual charges against him, and stand up and say look how persecuted I am. Sounds just like another ex governor. Please, both of you – retire from the public spotlight until you have something relevent to say, and have the fortitude to stand before those who ask you real questions.

    Until then, you are both just sniveling, whining gas bags.

    January 11, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
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