Ousted Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich today apologised for his “blacker than Barack Obama” remarks, saying what he said was “stupid” and that he was only expressing frustration at the way the administration is dealing with the country’s financial and healthcare crisis.
In an interview to Esquire magazine, Blagojevich, who was impeached last year on charges that included trying to sell Obama’s vacant senate seat, had said, “I am 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,” he had said.
He then apologised for his remarks in a press conference he held outside his house here.
“I want to apologise for the stupid comments that I made in an Esquire magazine article. What I said was stupid, stupid, stupid. I was speaking metaphorically,” he told reporters.
He said he would be happy to reach out to the President and White House “and apologise to who ever. I will be happy to do that. If it is feasible. I do not know if the phone call will be accepted“.
“Obviously I am not blacker than Barack Obama. If anyone is offended, I deeply apologise for the way that it was said and for having said it,” he said.
Blagojevich said he was “expressing real frustration” since the Obama administration was bailing out the banks, the Wall Street, but not the main street.
“The frustration I expressed is real. Democrats in Washington promised a public option on healthcare.
“They are breaking that promise. No one is bailing out the people,” he said, adding that the government is bailing out those who had created the economic mess.
In the interview, Blagojevich says he is “a real man” in a political arena dominated by phonies.
The Esquire magazine’s February issue, in which the interview appears, hits newsstands on January 19.
The twice-elected Democrat was impeached and removed from office last year after federal prosecutors arrested him on corruption charges that included trying to sell Obama’s old US Senate seat. He has pleaded not guilty.
He is also appearing on NBC’s ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ this spring and his trial is expected to start later this year.
Blagojevich’s remarks come just days after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid apologised for making racially insensitive remarks about Obama during the presidential campaign