Glenn Beck made a surprising admission during an interview with CNN'S Brian Stelter that aired Sunday morning.
Stelter, the host of CNN's "Reliable Sources," asked Beck about his sometimes controversial persona, and Beck responded by urging unity and recounting personal friendships he had developed with those who might disagree with him.
"I will make friends with anybody on any side," Beck said, before saying something unexpected about one of the most progressive members of Congress.
"You know who I really respect — and this is going to come as a shock — in Congress is Bernie Sanders," Beck said. "Never met the man, but he's a Socialist, and he says, 'I'm a socialist that's just the way it is, I'm this close to a communist and that's how it is and that's what I believe.'"
Beck's assessment of Sanders: "Good for you. I could be friends with that man, because he tells me who he is. If we can just get past all of the bull crap, and just [say], 'This is who I am, like me, don't like me, agree with me, don't agree with me,' that's fine."
Also in the interview, Stelter asked Beck to speak more about his January comment that he had, during his time at Fox News, "played a role ... in helping tear the country apart."
Beck recalled thinking, "If you don't leave now, you'll lose your soul," as he contemplated leaving Fox and New York City.
"I'm a man who at 40 hadn't done anything," he continued, "and now I'm at 50, and I look at the things that I've done that have been good, and the things that I have done that, unintentionally ... have added to the [divisive] situation that we're in right now. "
But Beck added that he had done a lot of good work on his show.
"You search the transcripts," Beck challenged. "You find another show that talked about Gandhi, talked about Martin Luther King [Jr.], that talked about love, that talked about God, that talked about peace more than [the Glenn Beck Show]."
"And yet some people still remember [the show] for you saying on 'Fox and Friends' that President [Barack] Obama is a racist," Stelter said. "It's become a cliche, that that's all you're known for among some people who've never watched your show."
"And that's unfortunate," Beck responded. "When you live your life five hours a day on live television or radio, you're gonna say stupid things."
"Was the racist comment one of the stupid ones?" Stelter asked.
"Of course it was," Beck said. "But we all live and learn."
Watch the clip below, via CNN:
Despite Beck's calls for unity, the interview prompted a few polarized reactions, as Stelter noted on Twitter.
Polarization, exhibit #5,139 pic.twitter.com/GWGXJtx4YD— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) August 3, 2014
Stelter also tweeted a photo of Beck's "larger-than-life" Texas studio.
Entrance to @GlennBeck's larger-than-life studio in Irving, TX. See why I was there... on @CNNReliable, 11am ET pic.twitter.com/IZeuiUQOTT— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) August 3, 2014
Stelter promised more of his interview with Beck for Aug. 10.
Beck and I talked for almost an hour -- and we're going to show more of it next Sunday -- with a focus on @TheBlaze & his other businesses.— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) August 3, 2014
This story has been updated.