July 13th, 2008
10:20 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama camp rebukes Bernie Mac over joke

The Obama campaign said Mac's joke was inappropriate.

The Obama campaign said Mac's joke was inappropriate.

(CNN) - Bernie Mac made a surprise appearance at a Barack Obama fundraising event Friday evening - but given heckling from the crowd and a rebuke from the Illinois senator's campaign for an off-color joke, the comedian may wish he'd just stayed home.

Introducing Obama at the high-dollar fundraising event in Chicago, Mac delivered a 10-minute standup routine during which he joked about sexual promiscuity and referred to women as "hos."

"My little nephew came to me and he said, 'Uncle, what's the difference between a hypothetical question and a realistic question?"' Mac said toward the end of his routine. "I said, I don't know, but I said, 'Go upstairs and ask your mother if she'd make love to the mailman for $50,000."'

"Hypothetically speaking, we should have $100,000. But realistically speaking we live with two hos," Mac said, delivering the joke's punchline.

Some attendees of the $2,300 per-person event immediately registered their displeasure with Mac's joke, and asked that he leave the stage.

"It's not funny. Let's get Barack on," one man shouted.

Mac introduced the Democratic presidential candidate shortly after and Obama called the comedian a "great friend." The Illinois senator also joked that Mac needs to "clean up [his] act."

"We can't afford to be divided by race. We can't afford to be divided by region or by class and we can't afford to be divided by gender, which by the way, that means, Bernie, you've got to clean up your act next time," he said. "This is a family affair. By the way, I'm just messing with you, man."

But the campaign issued a statement shortly after the event that was decidedly more serious in its condemnation of Mac's comments.

"Senator Obama told Bernie Mac that he doesn't condone these statements and believes what was said was inappropriate," campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (790 Responses)
  1. Chris11

    Jesse Jackson has apparently already gotten hold of Obama. He couldn't even take a stand in the moment without childishly making it into a joke at the end!

    I really cannot believe the statement after the fact because with the immediate opportunity to take a stand he did nothing....

    July 12, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  2. Frantz (Atlanta)

    AMERICA WE ARE GETTING TOO SERIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is a none-story.

    July 12, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  3. dennis

    Obama I'm voting for you, "Just messing with you man!"

    July 12, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  4. Puma-SF

    Sorry, BO it's too little too late. It's over for you but I'm sure you're to arrogant to care. Your flip flopping and back tracking have done you in. You are nothing more then a lying hypocrite and you do not deserve to be the nominee. Hopefully, the super delegates still have a bit of integrity left and will vote for Senator Clinton that is unless Dean, Pelosi and Brazile haven't rigged the convention for you. If you are the nominee my vote will go to McCain. You don't deserve to be a senator much less president.

    Join Puma Pac if you want the Democratic Party back.

    July 12, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. Sue

    The public is a fickle lot. No one cared about Bernie's jokes when he had a syndicated television show.............now he introduces Barack with an old joke and everyone is up in arms.

    July 12, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  6. They are right

    Clowns like Bernie Mac and Haters spitting their bile (formerly at Hillary and not at just about everyone) and using Barack as a cover for their vulgar non-constructive self-absorbed ways could cost Senator Obama the election. Get over yourself, grow up and show respect for your candidate.

    July 12, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  7. Forky Tongue!!!

    HRC ALL THE WAY –when is BHO going to take responsibility for his actions? I will not vote for him, not in November not 4 years from now, not ever!..............THE guy is a COMEDIAN,personally I would not pay $1.00 to see him
    Voter -- feel sorry for his daughters growing with a man like that as their father..... Now you know Mr Obama is a good Father ......Besides he is what he is (Bernie) a comedian ............ this how he makes his living although it was not the right Place .......if he had said the Lord's Prayer you guys would say something about that .Let It go

    July 12, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  8. Daniel

    I find it interesting that whenever Obama says something about someone the CNN heading would be "Obama scolds...rebukes...mocks...etc" Are these heading intended to show Obama as an elitist???

    July 12, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  9. Ron democrat turned independent

    again we see the real obama. he was cool with Bernie till someone told him not to be and of course out comes the rebuttal statements. why does he public put up with this guy. it's not a coincidence he is forever making speeches or having a news conference to explain what he meant when he said what he didn't mean yada yada. he is a stooge for powers that be who will not let him debate in an open forum because off the script without his teleprompter he is toast. god save america

    July 12, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. S Callahan in New York

    Bernie Mac is usally family oriented so I'm surprised he stepped out this way....i won't cast a stone this time..but do hope he keeps it clean for the next time...he is a good comedian and doesn't need to sell himself short with foul garbage....lets make this world a little bit cleaner, even with our words.

    July 12, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. Yes we Scam

    I am sick and tired of the media making each of the candidates responsible for what everyone and their brother has to say. I'm not an Obama fan, but who really cares about this? Next we will find out that McCains third cousin's ex-wife's sister made some inappropriate remark, and somehow it will be McCain's fault.

    By the way, it's funny how CNN has been silent on the latest round of polling. Gallup has Obama only up by 4 today, Newsweek just came out with a poll that shows Obama only up by 3, and the latest Rasmussen tracking poll has Obama up by only 1 point!!! It seems to me the race is tightening, but you won't see CNN posting any articles on these polls. They will simply cherry pick the one that shows their favorite candidate (Obama) way ahead. Do you really think we can't see through all of this CNN? How about some objective reporting on real news.

    July 12, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. The Man

    Is Obama gonna tell Jesse to clean up HIS act ?

    July 12, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  13. Big D

    Why is it that every time anyone remotely connected to Obama's campaign says something disastrous, it's covered. But McCain himself, or his top advisors, can say horrible things and it's barely covered by the press. Within the last few days, McCain said that Social Secuity working as it's intended was a disgrace, he said that his policies would give a psychological boost only, his economic advisor said that we are 'a nation of whiners', another advisor repeatedly lied about Obama's tax proposals and voting record, and on and on. But the press barely covers those stories to the extent that they cover every aspect of Obama's, no matter how remotely it's connected to the actual candidate. McCain and his inner circle have said some horrible things lately, and they deserve to be scrutinized much more thoroughly than this.

    July 12, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  14. Lori

    This is just stupid news. CNN you are at an all-time low with your bias. What about all the stupid stuff McSame has said about killing the Iranians. That actually scares me but instead of reporting that you report THIS STUPID news.

    July 12, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  15. linda from South Dakota

    one would think bernie would have had a better repour for an event like this ,, umm wheres respect gone anyways????

    July 12, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  16. Get real people

    Why is it a black man can say the word "ho" when describing a woman of color yet a white man (Don Imus) uses the same word and half the country calls for him to be fired, sued and made to appologize?? Seems to be a double standard to me.

    Obama would have gained a lot more respect if he got up on that stage and denounced what Bernie said right then and there (and not in a joking manner). But I guess some in the black establishment would disown him.

    I'm begining to think Nader might be the best choice with the least amount of bagage and dumb moves.

    July 12, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  17. James France

    Wow! $2,300.00! I hope he was wearing a speedo and carrying a basketball. American flag speedos are in! I also heard that he might get his pre-presidential logo tatooed on his arm. Come on people wake up. This isn't the silly season. It may be the most important election of a life time. How can you put the leader of the looney patrol, democrats in charge of your lives? Latest polls, depending on who you want to believe show a 9% approval rating for congress. Guess who is in control of congress? That's right, the democrats. Now you want an empty suited yes man to turn them loose on you even more. All dems do is tax and spend. Study very carefully Mr. Obama's tax plans. Don't take it from me. You may get the shock of a life time if you read the small print. Cheers!

    July 12, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  18. Give it a Rest

    Hussein Hussein

    Would you PLEASE get yourself some de-caf!! There are better things to get upset over.

    Besides Obama is the change (for the better) this country needs and it shouldn't matter THAT much what routine a comedian does on stage. We're electing Obama, NOT Bernie Mac.

    July 12, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  19. Rosalind Ferguson

    Fire whoever let Bernie Mac on stage. They should have known his humor is inappropriate for that audience.

    July 12, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  20. Angela

    Some of ya'll are really sad. Being friends with someone does not mean you share the same brain, just like attending a church (which you seem to keep bringing up), does not mean every word that comes out the preachers mouth is gospel. As someone stated, there is a time and a place, and a Bernie should have known, that was not the time, place or type of environment to tell that joke.
    And to the point at hand, this is newsworthy, HOW?

    July 12, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  21. Lisa

    Obama said he was just kidding because he thought about Jesse Jackson and his feelings. Obama feels he cannot lose another African American friend or he truly sold out. Let's not forget during the primaries he refused to attend any African American event. He didn't even attend Martin Luther King 40th anniversary because he was busy campaigning. That's why a lot of the older genaration of AA knew he was a fraud. I'm 30 years old and I don't consider myself an old lady, but old enough to know a fraud when I see one.

    July 12, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  22. CLINTON 08 VP



    OBAMA (P) & CLINTON (VP) 2008-2014


    July 12, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  23. America is full of HATE

    Lisa ----This is very unprofessional!!! These are the type of friends Obama will hang out with in the White House. Next thing you know Obama will give a speech how he doesn't condone this behavior then throw Bernie Mack under the bus. Don't worry, Bernie Mack has plenty of people to hang out with under there. The Grandmother, The Kids, Jesse Jackson, The Rev Wright, Bill and Hillary. Sounds like it's getting fun under there, soon I'll want Obama to throw me under there, only because Bill & Hill are there.
    Bet you he want have MONICA ........IDIOT

    July 12, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  24. Bud

    Good for Obama. He needed to make clear he does not condone inappropriate remarks. Every time some person connected with the Obama campaign or campaign events does or says something questionable, the Republican DIRT machine goes into action. It says much that so many of the Obama supporters have never had the opportunity or felt the inclination to be part of a Presidential campaign in the past. They are learning and we all benefit from full participation. You can read the remarks here in this article and feel the ignorance and hate. I'm ready for a change away from the corruption of the past Bush years. There have been lies and disrespect for our veterans and Constitution. Even the Supreme Court has come under suspicion. George W. Bush or a candidate that reflects his views has no place in America's future except within a courtroom. I can appreciate that the future speakers/entertainers will be more informed about family standards. Now what will McCain do about the blatant obcenity that is our current Republican President?

    July 12, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  25. Charlotte

    Typical black comedian. Obama says,"I'm just messing with you man." What does that mean? Does it mean, I have to put you in your place, wink-wink? Obama had to refine his position, once the audience let him know, it was in very poor taste. Bill Cosby doesn't need these types of jokes to be funny. Listen to most black comedians and you will hear the EF word, ever other word. With the exception of a motha efer, every now and then. I don't think a bankrupt vocabulary is funny. Obama lacks judgement in a lot of areas. I cannot and will not vote for him or McCain, I will write Hillary on my ballot in November. Please Hillary, do not be his VP!!!!

    July 12, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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