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. Mark

    HRC ALL THE WAY is just a racist.

    July 12, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  2. Susan, OH

    Let's see one joke that's it! I heard this is an old joke and one person complained openly only. Where's the news. The media cover distractions better than an policy issue.

    CNN= "Children News Networks" like a kid can't stay focus on main issues.

    Silly season media

    July 12, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  3. ET from OMAHA

    Why is this news? Is he an OBAMA surrogate? He made a joke which is not well received get over it period. I have seen worse with Mike huckabe
    Every bulls****t is news. God help this journalists.
    I guess they have microphones on OBAMA back. If he farts it will me in political ticker.

    July 12, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  4. Skardo

    Senstor Obama? I don't understand... clearly they're not talking about Senator Obama... what is a Senstor anyway? Censor? Censor Obama? How about Censortor Obama?

    July 12, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  5. Peter Vazkey

    That's whats wrong with this world. No one can take a freaking joke!

    July 12, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  6. Maggie Muggins From Selwyn

    Wake up America what someone else does has nothing to do with any candidate unless they are part of that candidates advisory committee or an anticipated appointee to a cabinet post.

    CNN will likely play this one for 2 or 3 weeks and Lou Dobbs will want Obama jailed but life goes and how people vote in November will determine in what direction their lives go on. A comedian will not be a determining fact in any of this so lighten up or should I say grow up.

    July 12, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  7. Dee Dee

    That comment is insulting to all women not just the "..family...".
    Comments like Bernie's is what as fueled the degredation of (black)woman. We get loads of it through hip-hop.
    Finally, I thought that black men would start to take the concept of treating black women with respect seriously. Obviously, that is not happening any time soon.
    Thinking about the young girls that are coming up and define thier identity on what they hear and see. Bernie, what do you want them to define themselves as?
    Take responsibility and watch what come out of your mouth.

    July 12, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  8. yepper

    Hellooooo!!!!! Wake up and see this man for what he is (or isn't!). Our country is in enough trouble and I shutter to think what is in store if this man gets elected. Our children's future is at stake and we cannot sit around pointing fingers and keep talking about "race" and "untity." This inexperienced man is all talk and no action. I pray that the American people will see be able to see this and will not vote him into office. If you think our economy and our country is bad now – wait and see – it will be a disaster with him in office. And, when the next attack happens on our soil – don't sit and scratch your head and wonder why.

    July 12, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  9. Cammie

    I've never heard of Bernie Mac and from this story, I wouldn't pay anything to anyone to listen to him. What a sexist, low life.

    July 12, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  10. Sarah

    The fact that an agent of "change" is joking around with Bernie after he has used the word "ho" is disgusting. How degrading to women. Now it is obvious that Barack is just as sexist as all of the other politicians who couldn't stand the thought of a female as president. What a joke! Shame on you, Barack Obama. A little too "chill" to be president of the United States.

    July 12, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  11. dictator

    shame on you politicalticker ( alexander) you only see dirts on the Obamas. any litle thing that happens in the obama's camp is news for you. I don't see such reaction toward your protege Mcsame . ( mcbush can flip-flop on his response regarding which defense team he related to when tortured..... it is Ok........
    shame shame shame on you you you yo yo yo yoyoyo yo yoyoooooo

    July 12, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  12. yankeegirl15

    Why does CNN rag on Obama? Because Wolfie wanted to be Hillary's press secretary. And what is up with a 3 hour Clinton Show? Couldn't find anything for that inept dope Jessica Yellin to do all evening?

    July 12, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  13. Lisa

    I understand what you mean Hussein Hussein. I ask for professional help and need medication just the thought of Obama or Mccain becoming the President after George W. Bush. I thought the American people would have learned their lesson after Bush, but I guess not.

    July 12, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  14. Mike,ct

    If you all like Bush Policy you will vote for McCain.

    If you like Bill Clinton police you will vote OBAMA.

    No take for people who male under 250,000

    Bill clinton police you had more money in your pocket.

    Bush policy you don't.

    Even if you don't like OBAMA vote for the policy.

    or we all going do go threw this another 4 years.

    Please read OBAMA police on his web site don't listen to talk radio.

    Thanks for reading.

    July 12, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  15. traveler

    Barack is making a full time job out of putting his friends in their place. Reverend Wright, Father Flegler, Bernie Mac, Tony Rezko... If Barack is so disapproving of these people it makes you wonder why he was friends with them in the first place. He's tight with these people and then he tries to get political points by disapproving of them. sheesh...What a phoney.

    July 12, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  16. Jo Ann

    Way to Go Obama this clearly was not the time nor the place for that type of joke and Bernie Mac should have used his common sense. You don't have to be filty to be funny.

    July 12, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  17. pete

    It doesn't take long for the true colors to come out. Just takes a little freedom of speech.

    July 12, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  18. Apple

    Bernie did nothing wrong. Nothing. They should not have invited him if they did not know what type of comedian he was. Those are the type of jokes he's always told.

    That's lack of planning and judgment on Obama's campagin people and Obama himself, not Bernie. If I were Bernie I would expect an apology from Obama, not the other way around.

    July 12, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  19. xddy4u

    Obama's campaign was trying to give a "brother" a play. And what do they do? Causes a storm. First, Rev. Wright, then Jessie Jackon, now Bernie Mac. These brothers should know better. All of them are stage hogs. No more brothers if they are going to be this controversal.

    July 12, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  20. Black hole

    This is a good way to get the female vote!! Barrack for prez!!! By the way I'm just joking with ya man!

    July 12, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  21. ch

    Hope there is still some room left under the bus.

    Don't you all miss the Obama seal?

    July 12, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  22. Mary WA

    Never did care for Bernie's sense of humour-but what's Barack to do in this situation? If he chastized him in public people would call him elitist or predudice agaist African Americans. I think comedians should stay off the canidates stage because many are used to using poitical incorrectness for a living. But ,come on, it's not as bad as McSame (himself) joking about bombing Iran to the Barbara Ann tune or saying that maybe cigarette imports to Iran are good because they might "kill them". Now if Obama did it himself , it would be different. Bernie owes women, his family, and Obama an apology.

    July 12, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  23. Sharon

    Well I guess it is ok for Bernie Mac but not Don Imus. Obama wanted Omus fired, which I'm glad he was fired. I'm just pointing this out. Are we going to have to deal with this for 4 years in the White House if he is elected President. I don't like his friends.

    July 12, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  24. CW-democrat for McCain

    It's too bad that BO didn't have a teleprompter w/speechwriter at the event. For an elitist snob, he certainly can't think on his feet. No worder he won't attend town-hall meetings with John McCain!

    July 12, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  25. Surge

    Sounds like more sell-out. No wonder people consider him elitist.

    July 12, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
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