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. Saad

    This man's face looks like it popped out of the biggest dumpster of Chicago.

    January 11, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  2. Anna O'Freel

    So shining shoes, living in a small apartment, seeing "it all" is what it means to be black? How offensive can one man be? This man really doesn't know when to stop talking.

    January 11, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. cj

    I thought it was April Fool's Day when I first read this. This guy is a moron. The only thing black about Blagojevich are the numbers on his prison uniform.

    January 11, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. Gisele L. Kennedy

    So being "Black" means growing up poor? This ignorance of the African American experience is what's wrong w/race relations today. If you want to know us, and if we are to flourish in this country we must all understand our culture. What is the richness of our experience is the 1. multiculturalism and mixes of ethnic backgrounds that makes up the "African American". Hate to tell you folks, but the mix of African, Native American and White and anything elese you throw in there is what an African American is. We come in all shapes and colors and socio economic backgrounds. There are the African American wealthy, middle class and poor. Just like in any other ethnic group. That's why the Obama's are so important. They show the other side of our community that is NOT glamorized by TV. You committed a crime now you must pay.

    January 11, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  5. Indy

    Impeached ex Governors like Blago and ex Governors found guilty of abuse of powers like Palin should keep their useless opinions to themselves.These people did not serve their families well or their states so hardly going to listen to their opinions and they are not newsworthy until we find out what their jail sentences are.

    January 11, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  6. angel

    Only God knows what really went on between Blago and the Chicago stablishment.
    Who knows what is it happing right now?

    January 11, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  7. Miguel in NY

    Rod Blagojevich saying he's more black than Obama is like saying he's more woman than Beyoncé. He is either really stupid or totally crazy. I think it's the latter. He's just trying to stretch out his 15 minutes of fame even longer.

    January 11, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  8. AEK

    Really CNN, a story about Rod Blagojevich? Like the constant publication of stories about Liz Chaney and Sarah Palin isn't enough? These people are the laughing stock of the country and yet you feel compelled to constantly run these stories, unbelievable.

    January 11, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  9. James

    That should go a long way to restoring Blago's image.....NOT.

    January 11, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  10. LIP

    So, when he says most of the people in politics are full of s- and phonies and then says I was real, is he saying that he was really full of s- and a phonie?
    Why is this guy still on the streets?

    January 11, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  11. Showtime - Tampa

    Oh my ! This should be good.

    January 11, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  12. Annie, Atlanta

    I love the nerve of this guy, and his entertainment value.

    January 11, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  13. Winkandanod

    Why is such a stupid statement of opinion by a disgraced former politician with an axe to grind worthy of the political ticker? Next you'll have Tome Delay's declaration that he's got more rythmn, soul and is a better dancer than Barack Obama.

    January 11, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  14. Tom B

    Blago is insane...

    January 11, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  15. Chad

    And public perception thinks that the Republicans are racists. Oh how things can change when the facts come out. Reid is a RACIST.

    January 11, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  16. Jim

    This guy is so full of himself he may actually believe he did nothing wrong.

    As for being "blacker" the Obama: Who cares?

    January 11, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  17. Shara

    But you have no brain, unlike our President.

    January 11, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  18. RB

    Is it official? Can we all reach a general consensus that this guy is an idiot?

    January 11, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  19. so rich even obama couldn't hurt me but you middle class folk should worry

    typical republican thug just a lying crook oh wait he's a Democrat nevermind I forgot because they never mention party affiliation when its a Democrat.

    January 11, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  20. buckwheat

    You could put them both in a sack and shake them and I do not know which would hit the ground first as far as telling the truth is concerned.Liars come in all colors.Why do the voters who put Obama in not hold him to the promises he made? I can't find a soul who will admit in public they voted for either one.

    January 11, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  21. Dee G. - CT Voter

    Why do we give idiots like this air time???

    January 11, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  22. shuman

    Only in America

    January 11, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  23. frombelair

    how did you become governor ?

    January 11, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  24. Sam I Am

    This guy has as much grasp on reality as Sarah Palin. As a politician he's a disaster. As entertainment value, he's a triumph.

    January 11, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  25. wolfpackbob

    Illinois/Chicago politics. What a joke. We are the laughing-stock of the world. Can't wait to move anywhere else.

    January 11, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
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