Pritzker apologizes for 2008 comments about African-American pol - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Pritzker apologizes for 2008 comments about African-American politicians

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WSIL -- Standing alongside Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, Democratic Governor candidate J.B. Pritzker apologized Tuesday for comments he made to former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Monday, the Chicago Tribune released a 2008 phone call, recorded as part of a corruption investigation into Blagojevich.

In it, the pair discussed African American politicians, including White, as potential replacements for Barack Obama's vacated Senate Seat.

"The one that's the least offensive and maybe gets you the most because it gets you that Secretary of State appointment is Jesse White," Pritzker said in the recording.

In the recordings, Pritzker not only called White the "least offensive" African American choice to replace Obama, but also called former State Senate president Emil Jones "crass" and said former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. would be a "nightmare."

"On that call I was not my best self," Pritzker said during a press conference Tuesday. "I can be better, I have been better and I can do better."

White says Pritzker apologized for the comments last night and he accepted the apology, but John Jackson with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute says calling one of the state's most respected African American politicians the "least offensive", won't play well with the Democratic base.

"If you're trying to garner votes in the black community as obviously all Democratic primary candidates are, that's just one more thing not helping you in the African American community," Jackson said.

He adds, while this type of talk is typical when discussing potential candidates, it will likely hurt Pritzker's campaign going forward.

"It almost always stays in the deep background, but when it comes out it's often very hurtful and very embarrassing," Jackson said.

Despite this, he says Pritzker is still the favorite in the Democratic primary, but that his lead is getting slimmer.

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