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. popeye

    change "breads" to "breeds" please.

    July 12, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  2. jason

    Uhm don't forget you have to make your children know spanish now also.

    July 12, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  3. David Mesirow

    What's up with the typo near the end of this story? "Senstor Obama"?
    Probably should be corrected.

    July 12, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  4. Zogby Gallup

    And you wonder why this guy is only up by only 2-4 points in the polls. Got news for you folks...people judge you by the company you keep.

    July 12, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  5. MediaMattersMaven

    Typical slanted coverage by CNN and the so-called Liberal (read: CONSERVATIVE pandering) media.

    where is the McCain coverage of him wanting to kill Iranians with cigarettes? Where is the coverage of Phil Gramm calling us a nation of whiners?

    Silently and subtlety swept under the rug while Obama is put underneath a microscope. That's where.

    Great job CNN. Your attempts to shift voter opinions have worked before. Keep up the great work!

    July 12, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  6. GET REAL

    So anyone who says something stupid it's Obama Fault? GET REAL PEOPLE and lets get back to the issues..

    July 12, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  7. ROBERT

    It was already planned out and set in motion, Obama needs to show the white folks that he is different then the "other" black people they are used to seeing, you know the rap stars, preachers and black activists that hate white America.
    So first came the preacher, then came Rev. Jackson and now Bernie mac, all allowing Obama to show how different he is from them because he needs the white vote, I mean really, nobody asked Bernie what he was going to say? Rev Jackson didnt think the mic was hot ??? Pleeeease!

    July 12, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  8. chris

    I'm not entirely sure that Obama is responsible for what his acquaintances say. If your friend tells an off color joke or makes some other remark that is not well received, are you obligated to apologize? If the answer is yes, then I have a follow up question: Are you serious?

    July 12, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  9. Dood

    Not the place for that joke, but it does point out the much larger problem.

    If Obama ever gets to the White House, the politically correct psychos will be banning language all over the place. The terminally offended are the last people that need to be in power in this country.

    Fortunately, Obama will never get to the White House, except as a guest.

    July 12, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  10. Slick

    I don't see a big deal. It's a joke!
    lighten up y'all.

    OBAMA ALL THE WAY!!!

    July 12, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  11. Wisconsin

    What we need is more nut case republicans going, Oh now look at this... blah blah blah...

    Ya over look ROVE but go off on this.

    July 12, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  12. ashley

    who cares about all this bull shyt...u ppl r retarded...who cares what frickin bernie mac has to say...care about the onzone layer,taxes,gas prices,healthcare...etc...whether black or white focus on who will better serve our country....and also being black and white i will say that i feel alot more comfortable on with my black family because the white part is so stuck up and dry....it was a joke....yes theres a time and place for everything...but should this really be on cnn...no...leave the nonsense behind cnn and focus on the real issues...

    July 12, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  13. frank

    And any woman who votes for obama is out of there mind
    THINK ladys is he what you want for your daughters

    July 12, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  14. ForObama

    Some of you people need therapy. Your hate for Obama is beyond anything I ever seen for a Presidential candidate. It is like no matter what goes on around Obama or who does it, it is always Obama's fault.

    Barack, do your thing. I can't wait for November.

    Obama08

    July 12, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  15. Wayne

    For crying out loud. What has happened to America's sense of humor?
    Take that stick out of your butt already.

    July 12, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  16. Tony

    I'm not currently planning on voting for Obama (and not because of his race, for gosh sake), but I think his response is the best one he could have done. I mean, he probably didn't expect Bernie to say what he said, and Bernie probably wishes he hadn't (I've been in front of large crowds and sometimes you just say things that later you wish you hadn't), but when it was said, he needed to say something about it and he did. Had he NOT said anything, lots of you would have been all over him for that, and frankly being any more direct would be overkill in my opinion. So think about it...what would YOU have done?? "Those among with you no sin..."

    And this blog is about Obama, not McCain, so eat it McCain haters...find someplace to else to spit your bile...

    July 12, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  17. Abe

    Bernie should know better.This is a presidential campaign and not a comedy show.
    I don't hear anybody talking about McCain calling a female reporter a JERK.
    McCain's economy GURU also called us a NATION OF WHINERS.

    July 12, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  18. Caycee

    As witnessed here by both Obama's supporters and detractors, some folks just don't know how to express themselves responsibly, respectfully, and intelligently. Unfortunately McCain himself falls into this catagory too, with a list of personal, repulsive remarks too numerous and worthless to mention, along with religious leaders (Hagee and Parsley) Republicans (Gramm, Huckabee, Bush and Cheney), lobbyists (Black) and friends (Rove) running his campaign amok. What's the difference? Come January 20, 2009 we'll all know.

    July 12, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  19. former GOP member

    CE you need to give it up. She did not win she was not the better person it is over move forward or get off the boat, it is Dem’s like you that give hope to the GOP. I laugh at Dem’s like you because you are so sad.. As a Republican I’m voting for Obama as and independent I would not want to be known as a weak Dem.

    July 12, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  20. Danny in Ohio

    HRC = Epic Failure. Game over and your out of coins PUMA and the rest of the closet repubs.

    Shhhh.. we don't need you nor do we care about your vote. We want you to vote for McSame and we don't want you to have any part of this great piece of American History. This is for us, for those who want change, are willing to do what it takes to make it happen and you can't crash our party if you tried. This is a movement made by the people and for the people!

    Obama 2008 – Change We CAN believe in!!

    July 12, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  21. former GOP

    CE you need to give it up. She did not win she was not the better person it is over move forward or get off the boat, it is Dem’s like you that give hope to the GOP. I laugh at Dem’s like you because you are so sad.. As a Republican I’m voting for Obama as and independent I would not want to be known as a weak Dem.

    July 12, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  22. David

    I'm a white 55 year old male and I will almost certainly vote for Obama. I must say, many of the comments here sound like they are from a bunch of uptight trailer park white racists who can't stand the thought of a black man becoming president. Better get used to the idea, because it's gonna happen, and the country will be better for it.

    July 12, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  23. Texas for Obama

    Barack only said "Just messing with you man" only because he was trying to take off the sting of publically humiliating his friend by scolding him on national tv. But Bernie knows that Barack was quite serious about it.

    July 12, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  24. David

    I am a huge fan of the Mac Man, however there is a time and place for everything. This was not the place. Bernie Mac should understand this. I hope Bernie Mac doesn't take it personally. Those kinds of jokes should be reserved for a certain type of venue (clubs, concerts, parties), not a political fundraiser. I also hope Obama doesn't have to distance himself from his comedy friend. Let's not forget Michael Richards. Jerry Seinfield got on tv the next day and defended him.

    July 12, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  25. case

    Imagine if Obama didn't say anything.. just let it go..what would the headline be? "Women called Hos at Obama event" It would be spent out of control.

    This new media/political standard of making politicians responsible for other peoples words has to stop.

    July 12, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
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