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. JW

    What an idiot!

    January 11, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. Roy

    You go Blago! You grew up in a 5 room apartment, shined shoes, saw it all go down! – to complete your black experience you and your hair will be somebody's prison queen for the next 30 years!

    January 11, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  3. Dominique Taylor

    At least his idea of a black person has a job and a family with a business owner for a father!

    January 11, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  4. RAG

    This guy is insane.

    January 11, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  5. Sam

    Cant this guy get a handler who would tell him to shut up?

    January 11, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  6. Nahom

    I am not sure what he mean by bing blacker that Obama but this guy has classic case of Mafia syndrome. If this is what is coming out of his mouth to redeem himself, then it is hopleless. He is nothing but an opportunistic baffun who has completely distroyed his chance of being in politics. what this guys has lost in noblty. So long blago.

    January 11, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. Slider

    Listening to the so-called black leaders (and some with their astounding silence), black activist groups, and authors on the words of Harry Reid there can only be one conclusion:

    Blacks in this country have merely exchanged the degradation of the taskmaster/plantation owner for the goad of the Democrat politician.

    The history of the Democrat party towards blacks is a shambles.

    Learn it.

    January 11, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. Tom W

    I'm from Illinois, and had the (dis)pleasure of working in and around state government during the Blago years. This guy is a complete and total phony from the word go! If he really believes the nonsense he spews in this article (and anywhere he's given a public platform), he's very deeply mentally disturbed. More than likely, however, it's more of the same BS he spewed in his years as Governor. The media (including Trump) should just ignore this guy in hopes that someday–soon–he will just go away!

    January 11, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. Chris

    Is this guy related to Richard Heene?

    January 11, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  10. Eric from MI

    I was speaking metaphorically? That doesn't make a stupid comment better....this guy has got to be one of the biggest morons in the world politics and just in general...

    January 11, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  11. Walker

    This guy puts the scum in scumbag...

    January 11, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  12. ken

    When people go down they just don't stop, do they? Case in point, Mr. Blagojevich.

    January 11, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  13. lucerot

    LOL! Man oh man. This guy cracks me up. I know Blagojevich is a complete slime-ball, but I hope he stays in the spot-light as long as possible.

    January 11, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  14. Geoff

    Race relations just got set back about 5 years.

    January 11, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  15. jeff jackson, alabama

    This guy is the prototype for a democratic
    politician. A regular modern day Lyndon
    Johnson or The King Fish from 1930's
    Louisiana, along with Reid and Pelosi.

    January 11, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  16. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    There are some people who can't help but be an embarrassment to themselves. Rod Blagojevich is among them.

    January 11, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  17. Fenarkleman

    Yeah, Blago is so black that he included almost every stereotype about African Americans in his moronic statement. What a buffoon!

    January 11, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  18. dak

    “What I said was stupid, stupid, stupid,”

    No, Blago. What you ARE is "stupid, stupid, stupid"!

    January 11, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  19. ebooggie

    Are you stupid? YES!

    January 11, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  20. Chas in Iowa

    Blagojevich making any comparison between himself and B. Obama is a reach in the least. Blagojevich is going to go on trial for selling influence. This is exactly what the previous administration attempted through Carl Rove and the "K" street crowd.

    January 11, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  21. Noemi

    Rod is very entertaining. I think this comment should be filed under the Entertainment section.

    January 11, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  22. Pete

    I doubt that he's "blacker" than Obama, but I'd dare say he lives in a bigger fantasy world than Barack.

    January 11, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  23. Mike in NJ

    Good luck in Jail, sir. You deserve no more than that.

    January 11, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  24. AMLH

    What a moron.

    January 11, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  25. naomi

    I hate it but he is not telling a lie!! The man can't function without a telepromter and his experience is a faaaar cry from most black americans. Besides...he was not even raised by blacks.

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