Rod Blagojevich

*Booted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Monday that he is sorry for telling Esquire magazine that he’s “blacker than Barack Obama” and that he doesn’t really believe he is anyway.

In an interview on WLS Radio in Chicago, Blagojevich said he was speaking metaphorically in the publication’s February issue. He said his comments were rooted in frustration over the way blacks and others who are struggling are treated by government.

“It’s a stupid metaphor to say I’m blacker than Barack Obama, that I apologize for,” he said. “It’s not appropriate for me, a white person, to stand out somehow and claim to be a black person, that’s just wrong … I was expressing frustration that the policies of this new administration still haven’t really been focusing on the great deal of inequities we have in our society.”

In the article, Blagojevich refers to the president as “this guy,” and says Obama was elected based simply on hope.

“What the (expletive)? Everything he’s saying’s on the teleprompter,” Blagojevich told the magazine for a story that hits newsstands Jan. 19. “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,” Blagojevich said. “I saw it all growing up.”

On the radio program, Blagojevich talked more about his childhood and how he saw the riots in Chicago in the late 1960s and the “white flight” from the city. He did not compare his childhood to that of Obama’s or any other black person. Still, “I’ve always had a strong affinity for the African-American community,” he stressed, adding that when he was governor he appointed several more blacks to “important” posts than any of his predecessors.

The White House refused to comment.