May 15th, 2008
06:09 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama apologizes for 'sweetie' comment

Obama toured an automobile plant in Michigan Wednesday.

Obama toured an automobile plant in Michigan Wednesday.

(CNN) - Barack Obama has personally apologized to a Michigan television reporter for referring to her as "sweetie" as she tried to ask a question.

The comment came earlier Wednesday when WXYZ reporter Peggy Agar asked Obama at a campaign stop, “How are you going to help the American auto workers?”

Obama told Agar to "hold on, sweetie," and said he would address that issue with her later. Agar said she never got an answer to her question.

According to WXYZ, Obama personally left a voice message for Agar Wednesday afternoon, apologizing for both not answering the question and for calling her "sweetie."

"That's a bad habit of mine," Obama said in the message. "I do it sometimes with all kinds of people. I mean no disrespect and so I am duly chastened on that front.

"Feel free to call me back. I expect that my press team will be happy to try to make it up to you whenever we are in Detroit next," he added.

Obama also took some heat in Pennsylvania last month for referring to a factory worker as "sweetie."

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (241 Responses)
  1. David

    Barack is unpolished, unprofessional and Unexperienced. I pray to God that he is not nomiated; he is too scary along with Michelle. . . . wake up America before its too late.

    May 14, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  2. Democratic no matter who wins

    Hey I am on the phone all day with people and women call me "hon", "sugar", "dear", & "darling." But I know what they mean when they say it. It's not always what is said but how it is said. I quite enjoy those it makes me feel all warm inside. However I'm not excusing a presidential candidate.

    May 14, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  3. Andrew

    I've always had a suspicion he was sexist. It's little everyday things like this that reveal one's true character.

    May 14, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  4. Kjetil

    I dont like that someone call me sweetie either 😉 But if Obama said so too me i would like it in some strange way hehe.

    May 14, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  5. kevin

    too many reporters not enough stories...are you really " CNN" Clinton News Network? Or what? Please dump this ridicule fast...your looking bad.

    May 14, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  6. hoping for your end

    a large sink hole like the one recently reported about should swallow cnn up until there's nothing left of your stupid hack jobs on obama. what, is it because he's black that your treat him with such contempt?

    May 14, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  7. Trish

    I am a woman, and I'm always calling people "sweetie" - my husband (who is my boss), my friends both male and female. I'm sure I've accidentally called a male employee sweetie - I even called my dad sweetie! It's just a habit for me when I'm trying to be nice to people and show them respect and affection.

    I think it is an Illinois thing, because I lived there for 12 years and *everybody* calls *everybody* that. Male, female, whatever.

    May 14, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |

    I wonder if Mrs. Clinton has every been called "sweetie" by her husband?

    May 14, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  9. Mina

    I've heard him saying that on other occasions and I just knew one day he's gonna get in trouble for it. I am glad the reporter complained about. I myself have corrected people that addressed me this way. With all due respect, I'm a grown woman and ain't no sweetie to anyone I'm no friends with. Especially in professional context, addressing someone with 'sweetie', 'hon' and the like brings back the good old days when women were not taken seriously outside the kitchen. I know Obama, and many other people that use kind of talk, don't mean it that way but still, a bad habit that needs to go away.

    May 14, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  10. Kim Poole

    Marie from are probably one of the many who just feel as though you have to exert your power against a man. You're voting for Hilary because she is a WOMAN. She has been in the white house for over 30 years and hasn't ANY changes yet; her health care plan failed and NO he does NOT have to apologize for calling anybody sweetie. I'm sure that comment is far and few in between, and nobody can come close to his sweetie Michelle, his wife, so don't take it personally. Get over yourself.

    P.S. If he ever met you, he probably wouldn't call you sweetie anyway. Sounds like you have issues.

    May 14, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  11. Punisher

    Obama can't answer ANY question from the media. He is a TELEPROMPT reader!

    May 14, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  12. PatrickTM

    Jeez - what are we coming to? I've been called sweetie, dear, honey and lots of similar things by waitresses, employees, bosses, subordinates, bartenders, and what not. Are we so sensitive these days that we take umbrage at every single word that anyone utters that could possibly have a negative inerpretation by someone? Clinton refers to "hard working whites" and everyone falls all over themselves - press, pundits, both campaigns - to point out she simply used some poorly chosen words, but Obama makes a perfectly innocent, causual common expression and we are debating it.

    May 14, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  13. evy

    any woman who has earned her position in a "man's world" career should be insulted by hearing another being called "sweetie" in a professional environment. he should know better than to make such a derogatory remark.

    May 14, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  14. RJII

    It's OK, my sweetie pie Obama. OOps!

    May 14, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  15. Marion

    If I had called my male VIP boss that, I would have been shown out the door.

    Retired professional.

    May 14, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  16. BillJ

    It figures that he would say something like that......................................
    You never call a women Sweetie.............dud..........................................
    Goes to the heart of obama..............Hillary ................08........................

    May 14, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
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