Blago says he's sorry for blacker-than-Obama comment
January 11, 2010 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich said his comment about being "blacker than Barack Obama" was "stupid, stupid, stupid."
Blagojevich made the controversial statements in an interview that appears in the February Esquire magazine issue. It has yet to hit newsstands, but was published online Monday morning. In the interview, Blagojevich goes on a profanity-laced tirade targeting his Illinois rivals and the president of the United States.
"I'm blacker than Barack Obama. I shine shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in the black community not far from were we lived. I saw it all growing up," Blagojevich told the magazine. "It is such a cynical business. I am real. This guy, President Obama, he was catapulted in on hope and change, what we hope the guy is."
Monday morning on the Don and Roma Show on WLS Radio, Blagojevich apologized for his comments. He says it was a stupid metaphor to describe what he saw growing up and should not be taken literally.
"It's a stupid metaphor, and if I offended anyone, I apologize very much. I said it out of frustration," Blagojevich said. "What I said was stupid, stupid, stupid."
The former governor said he did not mean to offend anyone. Blagojevich blamed the Obama administration's policies with regard to the Wall Street and bank bailouts.
"Ordinary people are not getting a fair shake, and so while I apologize for that stupid metaphor, the frustration that I expressed is very real. And, again, I'm very sorry if I offended anybody," he said.
Blagojevich was ousted as governor last year after federal prosecutors arrested him on corruption charges that included trying to sell Obama's old U.S. Senate seat. Blagojevich says he's broke and drives a 1988 Volvo, which is his brother Rob's, who is his codefendant. Rod Blagojevich told Esquire he is also making money doing Elvis impersonations and his Sunday radio show on WLS-AM.
In that same interview, Blagojevich talked about how he plans on beating the corruption charges lodged against him by the federal government. He said he also plans to testify at his own trial.
Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois says he doesn't care what Blagojevich has to say anymore.
"I can't follow this man anymore. I couldn't understand him very well when he was in politics. Now that he's in the entertainment business, I can't keep up with him," said Durbin.
Some legal experts say the esquire article certainly doesn't help his case.
"If he were going to rely on an insanity defense, and he's not, then maybe these statements would help him," said Prof. Richard Kling, Chicago Kent College of Law.
But, Blago's attorney, Sam Adam, Jr. is not worried.
"One thing we can say about him, what you see is what you get. He's not trying to put out an image here. That would be trying to taint the jury pool," said Adam.
Whether it is talking too much in public or appearing on a reality show, Adam says his client is not phony, which is one of the reasons why Adam says he took Blagojevich's case.
Adam says the interview with esquire lasted three to four days. Blagojevich made the blacker than Obama comment at 1:30 in the morning when he and the reporter were watching a boxing match.
Among the other things Blagojevich says in the article is that he hates both Attorney General Lisa Madigan and her father, Illinois House speaker Michael Madigan.
The White House, according to published reports, has refused to comment on the incident.
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