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. Shay

    I can see it now.....Bernie Mac, Chris Rock, and Woopie Goldberg entertaining at the Inaguration, state functions, etc. 'I'm just messing with you"!!!!!!!!!!! Please, that from the Prestident of the United States???

    July 12, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  2. Nick Ca.

    Bernie............Do what you do best and collect the paycheck for the appearance. This doesn't hurt your rep one bit. And Barack do what you do best which is to cause yourself political fits by throwing another under the bus. I agree that under the bus may be the best seat in the house for this crazy political season. It's a better dance than the macarena "hit me, toss me under the bus". I' a dem for Obama but he and his campaign have got to just let these things go and not comment on nonsense. He's only validating a minor argument. Do it enough times and people start scratching there heads and start watching sports instead of paying attention to the election.

    July 12, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  3. Jeff

    Geesh. Bernie Mac must have hit his head. What a idiot for saying this.

    July 12, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  4. Ula Nejad- Sacramento Ca

    Obama knows he has lost the battle already. So having people like big Mac make comments in the way he did is just another way of expressing their thoughts about the truth. Obama represents that generation and group. Rebuking him is not the way to do it because Mac right. Cash strapped and reaching out to Mac was like asking him to donate for two big Mac for the price of one(Hillary/Obama) I don't see anything wrong with that. Mac was representing his own culture and Obama had said he finds their hip hop lyrics artful. Why ditch him now?

    July 12, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  5. Come on, Bernie!

    Sure it was inappropriate, especially when introducing a black man who's trying to change the stereotypes of young black men as thugs.

    BUT...I'm more disappointed that Bernie didn't use some more original material. That's a REALLY old joke and readily available all over the internet.

    The writer also left out the line about, "now go ask your sister if she'd sleep with the principal for $50,000". Makes the punchline make more sense.

    July 12, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  6. Rara

    I just don't get it! Is he too immature? What about all the folks around him, did they think it was ok, Is this were the young folks are today.
    Everything does not go!! That's scary just when I was trying to look at it different, he's not ready, poor decisions. I like Obama as a person
    but this is not a game, we are in big trouble , possible war i need someone up there that is serious? Don't you?

    July 12, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  7. Linda Feldman

    Folks, if you're sick to your stomach about the next 4 years, you must be terminal after the last 8. Bush brought very well behaved people to Washington - Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bremer (the guy who cut the Iraqi troops loose), the FEMA guy who let people rot, and all of the deeply religious guys with the ironed hair who did nasty things with hookers.

    Bernie Mac - bad taste. Bush and company - war criminals.

    July 12, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  8. Frank

    And we want this Obama guy as our President?!!! I would not trust him with selling my car let alone be the Commander in Chief and make decisions for our country!!! What is quite troubling is how the American People have fallen for this empty headed guy! This goes down to the very core of our problems, and the shallowness of our youth!!! We need to educate them better and we need to give them the morals that our previous generations had tried to give us! Get rid of this man and lets elect someone that can handle the job and not "mess with you man"!!!!!!

    July 12, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  9. PCS / North Carolina

    HUSSEIN HUSSEIN wrote July 12th, 2008 4:01 pm ET

    How many times you wrote HUSSEIN and BLACK in your comments ? You sounds like Rush, Sean Hannity, Ann coulter, Glen Beck, and the Bigot O'Reily = GOP attack machine = the party of filthy rich = the party of religious fanatics = NRA the new KKK

    Did you get my point ? or are you still dreaming of your Vietnam vet (McCain), who voted against the GI bill, who voted against VA hospitals getting funding to win in November.

    July 12, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  10. Fried Chicken In The White House Tonight

    Is THIS the type of Presidency "WE" want in the White House? A gathering place for all the wayward Pic-a-nenies.....No Thanks!
    McCain, Don't let "US" down!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 12, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  11. ricardo williams

    It's rather unfortunate that Bernie Mac wasn't smart enough to clean up his act. I think we need to ban freedom of speech in an effort to create a better society, where our children can get a better upbringing. I can't imagine why Bernie Mac will be so stupid as to say something like that. He should be treated the same way Don Imus was treated.

    July 12, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Obama's friends and supporters are doing the worst job in the history of the world, in getting him into the White house. Each week it's something new.

    July 12, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  13. Durant Imboden

    Well, I guess I won't cast my presidential vote for Bernie Mac. Or for Santa Claus, who's always saying "ho, ho, ho."

    July 12, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  14. irma

    "Obama rebukes Bernie Mack" is the headline over Bernie Mack insults women with a predominantly female audience at an Obama fundraiser. I see CNN is still in the tank for Obama. Your stations credibility is now equivalent to the Bush station FOX.

    July 12, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  15. Out Spoken

    Some people are trying to find any little reason not to vote for Obama. I feel the way our economy is going we have to make a sharp U turn, and get our economy back on track. Under this current administration, I have to go to bed hungry every night so my kids can eat.

    I just ask that people vote for the person they feel will benefit our country the most!!!

    July 12, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  16. MrSansome

    You know what? I don't understand the joke!! What does the punchline mean? What is the intended humor of the joke? Why are people so upset with the joke?

    July 12, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  17. Charlotte

    Typical black comedian. They all use foul language and make racist jokes. Well not all, but most of them. Bill Cosby does not have to resort to a bankrupt vocabulary to be funny. Didn't Obama know what type of comedian Bernie Mac is? Oh wait ,he doesn't know a lot about his closest friends.

    July 12, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  18. Thank You, Come Again...............

    "Moderator's" SUCK!

    July 12, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  19. steven b

    Oh come on people, it was a joke, grow up.

    July 12, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  20. mk

    Bernie – Stay out of it – You are so not funny!

    July 12, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  21. Hussein

    Muslims & Immigrants like to have obama as president for middle east peace

    July 12, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  22. popeye


    I'm tired of the whole thing. Seems we've been dealing with this pre-election crap forever. It just breads this kind of stuff.
    We really need to shorten the whole process!!!!!

    July 12, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  23. Mike

    That joke is a Buddy Hackett joke! I love the joke, but a time and place.... oh that and recognition of the original comedian

    July 12, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  24. Aunt Jemima's BOY

    This site is a JOKE

    July 12, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  25. Alison, FL

    KE...I really don't get your comment.

    July 12, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
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