The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Celebrity Apprentice: The Five Dumbest Things Rod Blagojevich Said, Week 4

By Marcus Gilmer in Miscellaneous on Apr 5, 2010 2:00PM

celebrity_apprentice_rod_blagojevich_harry_potter_1.jpg Former governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich is stretching his 15 minutes of infamy with an appearance on Celebrity Apprentice. Throughout his run, we'll be tracking the dumbest things our former governor spouts on national television.

In this week's episode, the celebrities had to create a three-dimensional interactive display to get Harry Potter fans excited about the upcoming Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park. Our former governor was front and center as Michael Johnson singled Blago out to be project manager this week. Blago was whisked off to Florida to collect more info and then lead his team in creating the exhibit. We saw Rod struggle further with a computer, then a fancy new touch-screen phone, and found out he had no idea how to text message. We also learned that Blago is apparently poor at planning presentations (not at all surprising) but good at passing the buck to other people. On the flight back from the park, rather than work, Blago must have been mentally exhausted as he fell asleep slumped over in his seat. He was as uninformed about the Harry Potter world as his team, giving things the wrong name and mispronouncing words ("Ravencloth" instead of "Ravenclaw") and while you may be able to fool voters on some issues, you won't slide past kids with Harry Potter mistakes. And in the end, after dodging the gun for the first several weeks, Blago's luck finally ran out as his failure to communicate any plans to his team - to come up with any sort of plan at all - caught up with him.

His insistence on passing of tasks to others while being vague about his own ideas and tasks - as the leader - revealed a complete inability to lead. In the boardroom, he always played the politician, but he couldn't even play a bad one. We could criticize him for bad decisions, but he never even made a decision. One could defend him as a victim of circumstance - not being creative or technology savvy - but even still he should have been able to reach decisions and accept responsibilities for making decisions and leading his team. Trump speculated that Blago wasn't as competitive on the show as he might be in real life, though for completely insane reasons (not getting mad at Michael Johnson or Bill Goldberg out of fear of upsetting black or Jewish potential jury members). But it's not just about competition, it's about the pure ability to lead and Blago failed at it in this game just as he failed at it with the State of Illinois. In the end, Trump uttered the words the State legislature told him over a year ago: "You're fired."


  • On communication with his team during the challenge: "One of the biggest components of this challenge was project managers were being separated from the rest of their teams so the communications part was going to be very important. You can communicate through text messaging which is something I have no idea how to do or you can communicate by telephone which is something I do and some would say I do too often."
  • On another example of his tech ineptness which would later lead to his team's loss: "I don't think the texting or the emailing is that big a deal, that I don't know how to do that. We won't not win because of text messaging or email. That'll just be an excuse for people to point fingers after."
  • On Harry Potter: "I'm a big fan of that whole Harry Potter experience. It's an enchanted world filled with wizardry and magic and broomsticks and pumpkin brew and chocolate frogs. The whole thing is a cool place to be and sometimes I wish I were there on a permanent basis."
  • On his love of ad-libbing: "In my experience, when you're too scripted, it's not natural."
  • On the accusation he slept on the plane: "I did have my sunglasses on so maybe my eyes were open."