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. sad

    I'm not sure it's fair to continue to hold Barack Obama responsible for what everybody says. What Bernie Mac said wasn't funny and it wasn't appropriate, but I am pretty sure his routine wasn't blessed by the Obama campaign.

    July 12, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  2. McBush = Nearing the end of an erosion cycle

    This is invited trash what is wrong with his people setting up this they know what to expect from these lowlifes and continue with it getting to be an everyday habit.
    This idiot belongs with McBush trash talk and it is
    ALWAYS comments about woman ?
    Obama you should be ashamed at what you said sounded like condoning it he should have b een thrown out imediately .
    If you came to play music you would want to know what would be played so where is ther party that screens what is being said ????????????????????????????????????????????????
    Even a dummy would question what was to go on.OMG

    July 12, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  3. Richie

    CE is right. It is not too late for the super delegates to vote for Hillary. Let Hillary give her acceptance speech at Invesco Field. I might come for that. Obama is a politician pure and simple, but he won't fess up to it and that turns my stomach.

    July 12, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  4. Hussein #2

    I have to agree....its so funny, if he would just stop allowing his "friends" to screw up his campaign he might have a chance....Hasnt there been enough black on black violence...

    July 12, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  5. Jeff Brown

    Just lighten up!

    July 12, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  6. Denise

    Bernie Mac is a Comedian – rough, late nights, clubs, stand-up and being RAW is how he makes his living......so when Sen Obama says he needs to clean up his act (then says just kidding) he understands the if Mac cleans up his act-he probably be unemployed.

    His jokes in such an environment are inappropriate. However, seeing the posts here its obvious the Anti-Obama folks are stuck up, no sense of humor, extremely sensitive to EVERY LITTLE THING and are very unhappy with themselves & their lives
    But you to can make a Change--Rock the VOTE!!!
    Obama '08

    July 12, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  7. Trish

    "CNN, why dont you guys ever post the story of McShame wisecrack of using cigarettes to kill civilian Iranians?!"

    My thoughts exactly!!!!

    July 12, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  8. NYGranny

    Clean up his act? Are they serious? Maybe it was the price of the event, that at 2k a pop the stage entertainer can be offensive and vulgar? Why didn't every woman in the audience stand up and boo this moron??
    Shame!! And shame on Obama for not having the guts to be more angry about this vulgarity! But it's about the money, right? I'm still a Hillary fan!

    July 12, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  9. Peter (CA)

    Bad form, Bernie.
    Bad judgment, Senator.

    So, let's not give the right-wing cacklers any more to focus on. I guess a really bad joke is bigger news than the economic advisor calling the US a "nation of whiners".

    July 12, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  10. Chris

    Did he mean Freddie Mac?

    July 12, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  11. CNN BIAS


    July 12, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  12. GE

    Obama is turning to velcro – he's getting himself tarred with about everything that will turn off the electorate. Too bad. Those most offended and alienated by this kind of crap will have nothing left to cling to except their guns and backwoods religion.

    July 12, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  13. Darnell- Syracuse, NY

    When will Americans WAKE UP? Doesn't it scare you that the leader of the free world may be a man who is so SPINELESS that all he can muster is a "Hey, clean it up. But I'm just messin' with you, man"? C'mon, now.

    I'll take strength and resolve over style and rhetoric ANY day. Obama grows less appealing by the day.

    July 12, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  14. Joe the Troll

    Not only is that joke inappropriate to the situation, it's OLD.

    July 12, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  15. Lee

    That 'MCSHAME" nickname is STUPID....Come up with one better than that...

    July 12, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  16. JC

    No story here, CNN is just trying to be like Fox "Fix" News.

    July 12, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  17. G-Money

    Well Jesse Jackson ... here's your out.

    You can catisgate Bernie Mac for his disrespectful reference to the sistahs ... and claim some of the good graces of America for yourself

    G-money ....

    Am I my brother's keeper .... BANG ... yes I am.

    July 12, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  18. Jas

    I can't wait to vote for you Barak!

    Oh, by the way, I'm just messin' with you man.

    July 12, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  19. Alexis

    My 1st comment didnt get posted not sure why when was 2nd but anyway all you people who keep saying you wont vote for Barack who cares we have heard it already and you can only say it so many times until Nov gets here. For the people who keep saying Barack supporters think he is the Messiah. As a Christian I know who I serve and it aint Barack but he will get my vote.

    Bernie is one of my fav comedians but that was NOT the time for that joke simple as that. McCain himself makes bad jokes ALL the time esp. about the Iranian people (yes even innocent ones) but I guess nobody cares about that.

    July 12, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  20. Mighty Mike

    Republicans by nature are more conservative and show up at the polls.

    If you do not want 4 years of Obama nonsense, vote for McCain. Our country cannot bet on 2007's "Most Conservative Senator" Obama.

    Independents – Vote for McCain!

    Women (or ho's like Obama's guest speakers calls them) – Vote for McCain!

    Hispanics for McCain 2 to 1 – Vote McCain!

    If you want a change in the wrong direction – Vote Obama!

    July 12, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  21. Glad to be an Independent

    Stop trying to make everything political. Obama is not responsible for Bernie Mac's poor taste. Bernie Mac is. Bernie Mac used poor judgment. There is a time and place for his type of jokes. That was the wrong place and the wrong time.

    July 12, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  22. Gobama

    These people who are getting overly up tight over HARMLESS JOKES need to go out a bit more; or just watch Youtube.

    Comedians are equal opportunity offenders; no gender (male or female) is immune to JOKES.

    July 12, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  23. tammy

    I don't like Obama, and won't vote for him unless Hillay is the VP, but I love Bernie Mac. I am an American of African slave descant who is also a woman. Bernie has never called all women hoes. Never. In his comedy, he is usually jokingly and lovingly refers to female family members in such terms. Usually, people don't really think that his family has a bunch of "hoes" in it. Maybe it wasn't appropriate for this event. I would think though, that anyone who has seen his comedy would know that he usually uses profanity and is often "politically incorrect". I someones feel that some people go a little overboard with the whole PI. I understand it sometimes though, because some people don't have good boundaries.

    July 12, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  24. Bill, Covington

    Barak Obama asking that clown to clean up his act is a joke. That is the way they all talk, it's their everyday language

    dey has cibl writes to talks lik dat. Mobe on.

    July 12, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  25. patch

    I don't blame Bernie Mac at all. We all know him and this is exactly what I would expect from him at an event. However, all blame should be placed on those who were in charge of the Obama event. It was their responsibility to carefully monitor everything beforehand. Again, carelessness is at fault with those in charge of the Obama campaign. This is not healthy for any of us.

    July 12, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
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