Rick Sanchez on 'GMA': Jon Stewart 'Classiest Guy in the World,' 'I Screwed Up'

Those were the first words out of Rick Sanchez’s mouth in his first interview since getting fired by CNN for calling Stewart a “bigot” and implying that his CNN bosses were part of a Jewish cabal controlling the media.

“First of all that is not what I meant,” he told me. “Second of all I apologize and it was wrong for me to be so careless and so inartful,” Sanchez said. “But it happened and I can’t take it back and, you know what, now I have to stand up and be responsible.”

Sanchez blamed his Sirius XM radio rant on fatigue (“I was working 14 hour days for two and a half months”), impatience (“my daughter had a softball game that I desperately wanted to go to”) and a “chip on his shoulder” about discrimination.

“I was feeling a little bit put out. And I was feeling a little sensitive. And I was looking at the landscape and I was looking and I was seeing [little diversity] and I externalized the problem and I put it on Jon Stewart’s shoulders and I was wrong to do that,” Sanchez.

The former anchor said he called Stewart on Monday to apologize and asked the comedian ‘Why do you always pick on me?’

“He said ‘Because you’re the one I like. You’re the one I like.’ I mean the guy has been so good,” Sanchez said.

“I learned later that he is the classiest guy in the world when I called him and I’m the one who needs to be in trouble,” he added.

As for his future, Sanchez is ready to walk through the door opened yesterday by Time-Warner Chairman Jeff Bewkes, who said Sanchez might “someday” be hired back by CNN or one of TWs other channels.

“Absolutely, CNN is a wonderful, wonderful organization. They treated me well and took care of my family and I owe them loyalty because they have been good to me,” he said. “CNN didn’t screw up. Rick Sanchez screwed up. Rick Sanchez was inartful. Rick Sanchez said something that may have been offensive. Rick Sanchez unjustly accused Jon Stewart of being something he’s not.”

Watch my interview with Sanchez and then weigh in and tell me what you think.

-- George Stephanopoulos

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