"There's a cloud that sort of travels along with me."
Rod Blagojevich is the twice-elected former governor of Illinois who brought groundbreaking universal healthcare to the state, made it possible for the people of Illinois to buy prescription drugs in Canada, and gave seniors free rides on public transportation. In doing so, he made many political enemies.
Blagojevich was removed from office after the U.S. Attorney accused him of corruption and trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat that was being vacated by President Obama -- charges he vehemently denies. Since being hijacked from office, he's embarked on a campaign to clear his name for himself, his family and for the people of Illinois.
Blagojevich was born to a working-class family. As a young man he spent time working odd jobs as a shoe shiner, a pizza delivery boy and a meat packer to help the family pay bills. In his teens, Blagojevich was an avid sports fan who trained to be a Golden Gloves boxer.
Blagojevich spent two years at the University of Tampa before transferring to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he received his bachelor's degree in 1979. He received his law degree from Pepperdine University Law School in Malibu, California.
Blagojevich is a former Assistant State's Attorney, who worked for Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, where he specialized in domestic abuse crimes and felony weapons cases.
He entered politics first by winning a seat in the Illinois House of Representatives and then by being elected to the U.S. Congress representing the same district as current White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who succeeded him in that position. But Blagojevich felt he could do more as governor than as a Congressman.
Blagojevich was sworn in as the 40th Governor of Illinois on January 13, 2003 and served for six years before being removed from office.
Over the summer, his wife Patti competed in the NBC program "I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here" after a judge said Gov. Blagojevich could not travel to Costa Rica because he was under indictment.
Despite the charges he faces, Blagojevich was named host of a weekly radio program on top-rated WLS in Chicago and has written his memoir, "The Governor."
He and Patti have two daughters, Amy and Annie. They live in Chicago.
Rod's charity is the Children's Cancer Center
While he was the governor of Illinois, Rod enacted legislation to provide comprehensive health care to the children throughout the state. Rod's dedication to helping children continues today as he's playing for the Children's Cancer Center, a charity that provides children with the educational, emotional and financial support necessary to cope with their life-threatening illnesses. Rod hopes his participation in "The Celebrity Apprentice" will allow him to continue to fight for the things he fought for during his time in office.