Ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich says he's "blacker than Barack Obama" and tells Esquire magazine that he was a real person in a political arena dominated by phonies.
Blagojevich, referring to the president as "this guy," 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 in its February issue, which 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."
The White House refused to comment.
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 U.S. Senate seat. He has pleaded not guilty.
Blagojevich continues to accuse prosecutors of persecuting him for routine political deals.
One of those deals, he said, was the possibility of naming Attorney General Lisa Madigan to Obama's Senate seat in exchange for cooperation on important programs from her powerful father, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.
He used an infamously coarse word to refer to the attorney general.
"If I can get this, how much do I love the people of Illinois to make that (expletive) senator?'" Blagojevich said.
Blagojevich is appearing on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" this spring and his trial is expected to start later this year.