CHICAGO (CBS) — Democratic candidate for governor J.B. Pritzker apologized Tuesday for the content – but not the intent – of his remarks heard on FBI wiretap recordings of a phone call with jailed ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich nearly 10 years ago.
Pritzker didn’t deny he pushed for Blagojevich to appoint Secretary of State Jesse White to fill Barack Obama’s old Senate seat in 2008.
In that call, he described Illinois Senate President Emil Jones – also seen at the time as a possible Obama successor – as “crass.” He also said, if Blagojevich were forced to pick an African-American to replace Obama in the Senate, Jesse White would be the “least offensive” pick.
However, Pritzker said the FBI wiretap recordings showed him supporting more African Americans in elected office, and he apologized for how he did it, saying, “I was not my best self.”
“Regrettable, this conversation. It was really something that I’m not proud of. Not proud of the fact that I didn’t stand up to the governor when he said some of the things that he said,” Pritzker said. “That was nine years ago, and I’ve been better every day since.”
Pritzker made his apology on the West Side, surrounded by black elected leaders, including Jesse White.
Jones appeared at another event, at a South Side church. He says he’s been called a lot of things, so Pritzker’s comment that he’s “crass” doesn’t personally bother him.
But he says the black community should be offended, especially because Pritzker called President Obama “mediocre.”
“He insulted my whole community,” Jones said, pounding on a lectern at a South Side church.
Jones, who backs Democrat Chris Kennedy, says Pritzker should apologize to the wider black community.