July 13th, 2008
10:20 AM ET
6 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. Valarie in California

    I am so sick of this and all you who feeds into this. Cnn lives to show the negative in Obama but fails to show the same in McCain. Sound bites and fixed moment where he finally can put a few words together that makes sense. As much as you say things have changed it has not. Obama has to be twice as good and never make mistakes is foolish in thought. No one is responsible for what someone else says or do. They only speaks for themselves right, wrong or indifferent. There are going to be people and words that won't agree with most in the long months ahead until we get a new president. And once we do neither one will be able to fix what is completely wrong with America. Because American and our way of thinking racist, sexism ect that is what keeps us from truly living up to the American dream. Because until we can truly get past that nothing is ever going to change. Now that is something to think about and start changing within ourselves. Not what Bernie Mac said or Gramm or anyone else.

    July 12, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  2. Eric from Ohio

    hey everyone, suck my balls!

    July 12, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  3. Necie in OKC

    There is a time and a place for everything...and Bernie-this was neither for such "joking around". I'm a HUGE fan and I'm sure he regrets it. This was not the place to be using such language.

    Of course all the weirdos will say _ Obama will have no body supporting him when he rebukes them all – Guess Again.
    Obama 08 all they way Baby.

    July 12, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  4. Rebecca Gomez

    What Obama meant when he said, " I'm just messing with you," is that he agreed with the putting down of women and calling them "ho's," and Obama is no different than Don Imus when it comes to putting women down.

    July 12, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  5. John

    Hey 'HRC ALL THE WAY',

    Ummm, your candidate lost. Welcome to the present.

    Thanks,

    John

    July 12, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  6. Darryl Schmitz

    Forget the people in the joke, we're ALL screwed regardless of which major party candidate becomes president. Spend what money you have now, it'sll be worth a small fraction of its value a couple years from now.

    July 12, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  7. Read

    Bernie Mac, you are a SHAME

    July 12, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  8. James

    I now realize this guy cant take a stand on anything... Obama just lost my vote..

    July 12, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  9. j&d

    That was not a good . just because you got money don't mean you got
    brains.

    July 12, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. Tejano

    Where are my comments? Too educated for your audience?

    July 12, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. FEW GOOD MEN!!!1

    John Ret. Air Force --- good reason to NEVER have a COMEDIAN introduce you or entertain at a function-they are notorious for saying politically incorrect and often nasty things. I hope Barack learns from this. He doesn't need any real trouble with all the media (YES YOU CNN) bias against him already.

    YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE THAT DIDN'T BLAME MR OABAMA FOR BERNIE ACTION.......

    I AM SURPRISED ...CNN POST

    July 12, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  12. Tom

    Obama ditched Bernie Mac very quickly the same way he threw his "typical white grandmother" under a bus during his hitoric Messiah-like speech on "Race" that every news commentator gets teary-eyed about when they mention it.. He also left his Christian Church very easily to make himself look better. I wonder how Christian he reall is? He doesn't act Christian.

    July 12, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  13. Monica Morales

    I've always been on the fence about Obama and this incident still keeps me on it. I must say that I was deeply appreciative of the way Obama both recognized and called out that joke whose punchline is at the expense of women. Many people would have let it slide saying "it's only a joke" (which is the mentality behind people who laugh at racist jokes).

    On the other hand, I'm perturbed that in the next sentence he says, "I'm just messing with you, man". How should I interpret that? That he was simply trying to diffuse the situation? Or is it that he was poking fun of over-political correctness? – at the expense of women.

    July 12, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  14. John Seattle

    Bernie wasn't funny. "Hos" is not a cute comment – it's plain disrespectful through and through. Disrespect towards women crosses ethnic and other cultural bounds and so Bernie should be put down for the comment and not invited back. Jackson is hardly one to talk – womanizing while counseling the former Pres. Is he still paying for his kid (out of his pocket or his foundation's?).

    Bill Cosby and Barack both have it right in expecting a higher ground, but for all people, not just those who share their shade.

    July 12, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  15. A SONGBIRD SANG IN VIETNAM

    Man !! I wish I could pin all my mistakes in this life on someone else.

    Maybe if we all try real hard, we can find a way for Barack to take the blame for EVERY IDIOT IN THIS ROOM !!!!!

    You nut-cases. Barack didn't say it – go away PUMAs in disguise.

    July 12, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  16. Michael

    CNN: remember when John Stewart tore apart tucker on crossfire for the media not doing their job? Well, you haven't learned. I couldn't find any other news network that posted this "news".

    July 12, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  17. Roger

    Obama's wisdom at work. Some more denoucing and rejecting for a few days.

    July 12, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  18. Sue in Fl

    CNN... it's Senator, not Senstor.

    July 12, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  19. Dhammi

    Shame on Bernie Mac – What was he thinking? Kind of like TV programs all day every day. Our kids unfortunately are exposed to this unnecessary attempt at 'just joking' day in and day out. Barack I hope you have someone check out introductions from now on. Having that said – I see it has nothing to do with the politics of campaigning and my vote remains in your column.

    For you Clinton hangers on – get over yourselves!!

    July 12, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  20. keefe

    i like the closet bigots and rascists who are hiding behind conservative politics to express their hatred and divisive idiologies.....how did senator Obama become seemly (if u listen to these extreme-right idiots) the worse candidate to ever run for president??? The truth is Barack is a political phenom!

    July 12, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  21. E

    H-H

    How is that not racist? From the id line to the content it is racist and worse, ignorant. So much of what has been written about this incident has been both.

    Mack is what far too many comics have become, insensitive to what many decent people think of as funny. However, what is worse is that he represents the kind of low brow humor that has characterized the kind of comedy that blacks have to engage in if they want to get a shot from white venues and audiences. Remember that it pretty much took Bill Cosby to break through in clean humor.

    Still, you can see the true colors of many of the posters when their comments turn directly to Obama's race. They wouldn't care what was said, humorous or not. They are simply racists.

    The bottom line is that much of what we might see in comedy clubs, in movies, or on cable tv and take a regular really doesn't play well in mainstream gatherings of people. The cable type comedy special stuff just isn't funny when we are in a group. This says more about the state of our entertainment and what we will tolerate than it does about Obama. It sounds like Mack just showed up and then showed out. Obama was gracious and let him have a bit of the spotlight, and then Mack showed out.

    July 12, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  22. Bayou Joe

    Another low life in Obama's world. Just kidding Obama i didn't mean to question your highness judgment.
    It's getting crowded underneath the Obama bus.

    July 12, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  23. jaw787

    Thank God we have Senator Barack's spokesman to tell me what the Senator meant, how he views things like this, and what I should think.

    Our Great Presidents: "Ask not what your country can do for you..."; "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."; and "I'm just messing with you, man."

    I am writing in Hillary Rodham Clinton on November 4.
    Please join me.

    July 12, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  24. Democrats First

    You people criticising Obama over Bernie's remarks need to back up and stop being hypocrites. Barack is not responsible for every word that comes out of his friend's or supporter's mouths, just as you're not responsible for everything that come out the mouth's of people you call friends. We all have some over the top friends that we like, but don't necessarily agree with on everything. And if you deny this, you KNOW you are lying. So cut the BS. If you don't like or support BO, that is fine, but at least try and have some credibility in your criticisms.

    July 12, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  25. Jim from New York

    Thank God we have Senator Barack's spokesman to tell me what the Senator meant, how he views things like this, and what I should think.

    Our Great Presidents: "Ask not what your country can do for you…"; "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."; and "I'm just messing with you, man."

    I am writing in Hillary Rodham Clinton on November 4.
    Please join me.

    July 12, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
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