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. Michigan for Obama

    What was Bernie thinking, and how could the Obama campaign put this man on the stage not knowing what would come out of his mouth? Haven't they learned their lesson yet?

    July 12, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  2. Pietro

    Bernie Mac is an idiot for talking trash at a political rally. Barack Obama is an idiot for thinking using Bernie Mac at a political rally was a credible idea. And I don't even get the "joke"!

    The Democrats are such amateurs. They get so off track and off message so often, one has to wonder if there are actual brain cells up in the grey matter.

    I am one of those Demos looking to switch to Independent because I just can't take it anymore. Not that I'd ever vote for a Republican, BUT...

    July 12, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  3. David in Charlotte

    What do you expect.... Obama attended a church for 20 years that wasn't much better.... This is who Obama is - no number of 'handlers' can change the fact that Obama is a wolf in 'sheep's clothing'!

    July 12, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  4. keith

    Its sad that our political system comes down to finding things to attack a presidential candidate that another individual says in their presence. Proper news reporting should consist of what the candidate will bring to the office. Will it be Obama or McCain that will find the way to turn around the economy and end the Iraq conflict. Look at the what the candidates offer not what an acquaintance said....

    July 12, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  5. Pete

    Bernie Mack must've been on something and thought he was at the Apollo warming up the crowd for Lil' Wayne.

    July 12, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  6. Female

    Yes Bernie you were out of line but this is a non issue when compared to McBush's lack of memory, flip-flopping, oh and of course his economic adviser calling Americans whiners!

    People wake up, Obama didn't even know he was going to be there. What he said was inappropriate for the setting he was in and should have been rebuked. That doesn't mean he's talking down on blacks or that he thinks lowly of women.

    Let's get back to the policies.

    Obama '08'

    July 12, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  7. Florida For Obama

    First Jesse, now Bernie? What the heck is going on lately?


    He has enough BS to deal with out there!!

    July 12, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  8. Linda31

    To Hussein Hussein,

    I think you miss the point and I have to say that you DO appear racist when you deliberately switch Senator Obama's name and your tag name says it all. His name is Barack Hussein Obama. Learn it because he will be your new president come Nov. What exacty is wrong with forgiving someone? And why does that sicken you?

    July 12, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  9. Real person for Obama.

    Give me a break, Bernie act funny and that is what got recognized. For you bush of whinner to ask Obama to apologise or be responsible about his joke is a disgrace. How many rebukes will Obama rebukes, it might not appropriate at the occasion and I don't think Obama should be held responsible.

    I hate people who want by all means blame this man.
    Pitty !! to be a politician is a problem.
    Whatever you do will be read and twisted.

    July 12, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  10. Mike Stone

    That wasn't inappropriate, it was a joke that just wasn't funny.

    July 12, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  11. former GOP

    WLLe you will just have to be sickened by the fact the next President will be President Obama. If you had some faith or a tad bit of belief in God then you would understand that Forgiveness is of God, and we need a man who knows that God is working behind the senses.

    July 12, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  12. Tulsa Dude

    I guess some people would rather see people like Scooter Libby forgiven...

    July 12, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  13. Tom in Atl

    Politics aside, this is sad:

    After his well given speech calling for black American men to take responsibility for their children and be there for them, he brushes this joke off with a smile and, "Hey Bernie. This is a family affair... Just messing with you by the way." Obama had a great chance to say, "This is what people have joked about. This is what black America has come to accept. And we won't accept it any longer."

    I won't pretend that I'm voting for Obama. I think the issues are too important this year and McCain has the experience and the voting record to get us through this tough time. But I would have respected Obama much more as a politician AND as a man for backing up his honest and truthful call to fathers and black America.

    July 12, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  14. CutYourN*tsOut

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

    Well not really. What he said was "clean up his act," and then he laughed in front of a room full of people and reporters and said "I'm just messing with you man." Well if Mr. Obama believed it was inappropriate he would've said so.

    Will the Kool Aid drinkers ever be critical of their messiah? Can you imagine if John McCain had a comedian open up for him and call women "hos?"

    No wonder his biggest supporters want to cut his n*ts out.

    July 12, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  15. Citizens For America First








    July 12, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  16. JAE

    Bunch of BS!!! get over it OBAMA lets leave the drama for your MAMA.... carry on " I was just messing with you man..."

    Mccain 08'

    July 12, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  17. The Weatherman

    Bernie Mac is a comedian........Bernie Mac is not Bob Hope...Maybe Eddie Murphy would say Obama is talking down to comedians and should have his gonads rendered so to speak.....

    Is there any reality in sight for Obama. Where's the beef?????

    July 12, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  18. Wadee

    HELLO...BERNIE MAC IS A COMEDIAN!!!!!I just read that line and I thought it was very funny. It was probably even funnier in person. I thought comedians were allowed to push the limits. Do comedians have to practice political correctness now? Since when did we start taking comediens 'seriously? Anybody who has ever seen a Bernie Mac show/movie knows exactly what they're going to get in his act. If it was going to be like that then the Obama camp should have gotten a PG rated comedian like Sinbad or Carrot top. i'M SO TIRED OF THE FAKE OUTRAGE. Bernie was trying to make people laugh. I guess some people just can't take a joke.

    July 12, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  19. Y'all are comics

    First of all the joke wasn't reported properly by CNN. I've heard that jokes from a lot of comedians( black, white, chineese, even women). It's amazing to see that so many idiots on this forum finds the way to relate it to racism or sexism or whatever.

    July 12, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  20. Vig

    You mean Obama didn't make one of his trademarks smarty speeches about Bernie or Jessie?

    July 12, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  21. joan

    We need more people in this country like Obama willing to speak up for what is right!

    July 12, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  22. Stacey Best

    Who cares what Bernie Mac has to say ?! He is not the one running for office, Jesse Jac is just mad because Obama is achomplishing something that he could not. Bernie is responsible for what comes out of his mouth, not Barack. I would hold Barack responsible if it were his comment, but it's not. This is silly. I am more interested in the economy and the environment than some silly comedians distastfull act?! to say that this is something that wil persist for the next four years is ludacris. What about the last 8 years of bush? How about what McCain is offering? I would say out of the two canidates we are better off with Barack.

    "One nation Under God Indivisiable...."

    July 12, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  23. annie

    HUSSEIN HUSSEIN, and all the other naysayers need to learn AGAIN...Barack Obama didn't say the joke, SO DON'T BLAME HIM!!!

    Bernie is "B" level at best and this is not news that a low level comedian said something outrageous. People should boycott Bernie NOT Barack. But apparently it's not the way CNN likes to spin things. Now all the dumb people have again been angered and will swear not to vote for Obama...which is only dumber. Wake up! You're being played. This is IN the news...but it's NOT news.

    And I betcha CNN doesn't have the guts to post this.

    July 12, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  24. PLC

    I will not sit by and watch America elect this man so we can have 4 years of this "oh I'm just kidding man."

    Hillary was the best candidate for the Democratic Party to field against the Republicans in November. If Obama doesn't pick Hillary I am going to have to vote for McCain.

    July 12, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  25. R. Planet

    I'd just like to point out that I don't read anything typed in all caps.

    July 12, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32