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. Please, No Obama

    Bernie Mac for VP! Just messing with you, man. Let's line them up: Rev. wright, Farakhan, Rezko, Bernie Mac, Ayers...There you have the cabinet for BHO. I can't wait for the RNC machine to get rolling and make mincemeat of Barack. He is making the entire nation sick.

    July 12, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  2. Mendoza

    Bernie is an idiot. Mr. Obama has done such a great job distancing himself from foolishness, and this clown comes along and spookes everyone. I am a Republican.... Bernie, Think Bro!!!

    July 12, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  3. Brad

    The fact that this is even an issue shows how sad this process is. This incident has nothing to do with Obama's ability to be president. Mac is a comedian who should stay out of politics. All entertainers should stay out. An election should not be entertainment. It has become so because the media has made it a horse race. Look at issues. Look at voting records. Demand to see plans for the future. How will they solve social security? How will you get us off oil? How will we get out of the fiscal mess this country is in? How will you defend to Constitution? That is what we need to ask these candidates. What Bernie Mac said has nothing to do with any of this.

    July 12, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  4. ben

    Why do the remarks of anyone not related in any way with either candidate make news for CNN?
    If you TV people would understand you have a responsable place in our society and not just a bunch of trouble raising comments to excite the lowest mentality out here like National inquirer does,, maybe this election might reach a dignified standard!
    I know, I am shouting into the wind.When are you ever going to care about fairness and integrity?Never as long as this kind of silly stuff raises your raitings!

    July 12, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |

    Yes, Bernie needs to clean it up and Obama was "right on" for telling him so. What's wrong with people anymore?

    Hussein, Hussein, what the hell is YOUR problem anyway? Are you so deep black that you can't tell the difference between right and wrong? We need people like Obama and Cosby to get the rest of you idgits back on track!

    July 12, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  6. Anna

    "I'm just messin' wit you man."

    Yes, that is who we should have in the white house.

    July 12, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  7. Gene

    What a shame. The ultra liberal left wing of the Democtratice party is imposing this candidate on us and we should judge this candidate by the people he hangs out with, Rezko, Wright, Ayes, Bernie, Randy Rhodes (called Hillary F......W....), all nice people, one is a criminal two have dirty dirrty, one talks anti America, and the other was part of a gang blowing up federal buildings. If he is the "chosen one" ,God please help us!

    July 12, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  8. Casey Seidman

    You have a spelling error in this story. You said "Senstor Obama."

    July 12, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  9. JHO

    Bernie dont back down man! Your a funny guy. You can call me a Ho anytime! People in this world need to lighten up and laugh!

    July 12, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  10. HIRED

    You usually get what you PAY for and when you ask a stand up comic to open your SHOW! Your going to get his regular routine. Quite naive to even ask this man on the stage. He's asked then gets his rear chewed on for doing what he does best. I'd tell BO to kiss where the son dont shine and exit his stage for good Bernie.

    July 12, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  11. ben

    I have lived through more elections than the majority of you bloggers. I have nevr seen so many apologies and stupid remarks make the news as this one!
    Why is that? Because when news was actually NEWS They did not think this side line crap was worthy of being printed. It went unoticed!

    July 12, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  12. Jason Clark

    WHEN does he actually CHANGE?
    1. After polls show public dislikes Rev. Wright, Obama changes his mind and disowns him.
    2. After polls show public dislikes affiliation with his church, Obama changes his mind and leaves church.
    3.After polls show public is uneasy of Obama not wearing lapel pin, Obama changes his mind and wears it almost always now.
    4.The morning after the hijab incidents, Obama quickly takes a photo with women wearing the hijab.
    5. After polls show public is uneasy of his kids in the mix, Obama changes his mind to allow them interviews.
    6.After pledging to not take private campaign financing, he changes his position for more money.
    7.After the surge (which he denounced) successfully gave Iraq breathing room to politically improve, Obama is refining his policies.
    8.After Obama's advisers tell him the joke was inappropriate, he rebukes.
    9. To be continued...

    "...live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

    July 12, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  13. Debra

    Get over it HRC All The Way. Are you delusional? Hilary is not going to be President of the United States – ever.

    July 12, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  14. zina

    And why is Sen. Obama responsible for this again?

    July 12, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  15. Not good enough of a reason


    July 12, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  16. Obama for United States of America

    This is another evidence of the great character of OBAMA.

    He will not allow anybody to mess up with his values.

    Bad people should clean up their actions.

    This is an example of POSITIVE CHANGE.


    Yes We Can!!!

    GO Obama GO!!! '08 – '12

    July 12, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  17. Ken

    Bernie, was just making fun of the people paying that much to eat with Obama.

    July 12, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  18. shannonL

    Funny...CNN has nothing about Newsweek's new poll showing McCain very close to Obama.

    July 12, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  19. Paul in Alexandria, VA

    Barack can't be responsible for every joke someone says but he will have to be more on guard than he has been in making sure the people who speak at his events recognize how their remarks or jokes might reflect on him.

    In the meantime, where is the outrage that John McCain called Social Security a disgrace? Soc. Sec. has been the greatest poverty fighting program ever! What a fool!

    While the media tries to make this an even fight, the truth is that McCain is a lousy candidate. His top economic advisor says that Americans are whiners. McCain gave a delusional account of his trip to Iraq during the primaries. He has no plan for dealing with global warming and he's determined to appoint Supreme Court Justices who will overturn our right to privacy!

    Get with it America. McCain is a loser with a capital L!

    July 12, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  20. Not good enough of a reason

    Jackson did not mean his apology, he is trying to unite his people, and I tell you he had no choice but to apologize. Jesse be honest you hate this idiot (Obama) he is an insult to you and your culture. Especially that woman of his.

    July 12, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  21. Teresa, Georgia

    Bernie Mac...what a disgrace! I've never liked this stupid guy.
    He owes the guests of this campaign event a public apology.

    Obama...you refer to him as a "great friend"? I've had strong support for you but you are now starting to make me real nervous.

    July 12, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  22. Toot

    Another one under the bus.
    Thank you DNC for making Obama the nominee. It is hurting the nation more than bringing it together when the economy is down, jobs lost, the government bailing out the big business, etc and you do this to the people by electing someone that really don't support his people. All he want is to win and it is sad!!
    We need someone who really care about the people!!
    Hillary !!

    July 12, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  23. roger


    July 12, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  24. Sherria


    July 12, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  25. Kate

    Well Bernie – thats the biggest mistake you have made- I am done with watching reruns of your show. Obama is right- clean up your act that comments on gender/social issues. Well, thats what you get when you go to a Obama rally.

    GO MCCAIN!!!!

    July 12, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
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