CHICAGO (AP) -- Ousted Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich told a magazine interviewer that he's "blacker than Barack Obama" but said today that he's sorry for his poor choice of words.
Blagojevich, in an interview on WLS Radio in Chicago, says he was only speaking metaphorically to the reporter whose story will appear in the February issue of Esquire magazine, on newsstands next week.
He had told Esquire that Obama, a fellow Democrat from Illinois, was elected based simply on hope.
"What the (expletive)? Everything he's saying's on the teleprompter," Blagojevich said, referring to a device that provides text to politicians delivering speeches.
"I'm blacker than Barack Obama," he said. "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."
Today, Blagojevich said it was a "stupid thing to say."
"It's not appropriate for me, a white person, to stand out somehow and claim to be a black person," he said. "That's just wrong."
The White House declined to comment.
Blagojevich was removed from office last year after federal prosecutors arrested him on corruption charges that included trying to sell Obama's old U.S. Senate seat. He has pleaded not guilty and is expected to face trial later this year.
The former governor is appearing on the reality TV show "Celebrity Apprentice" with Donald Trump this spring.