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. Sue

    I would never go see any of Bernie Mac's movies.

    I do not fault Obama for the indiscretions of any so-called actor.

    July 12, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  2. JohnQ

    Wow! its almost like giving anti Obama people food for their hunger... The problem here is that He stood by his principles... If you have to say something bad about Sen Obama's actions, at least try to make some sense in showing us his faults. Lets really know why you don't want to vote for him not just spitting out useless excuses each time something comes up.

    July 12, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  3. E. de Leon

    Whatever, probably a part of BHO's conditioning of people's mind by the help of the bias press and media hype. McCain 08, Hillary 2012!

    July 12, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  4. Krishnan

    So, will Barack throw Bernie under the bus now?

    As he did

    a) Jeremiah Wright
    b) Public financing
    c) 2nd amendment opposition
    d) FISA Legislation

    Oh, sorry ... Barack stands for Hope and Change.

    So he can say, do anything, at anytime.

    Sorry – do whatever Barack

    July 12, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  5. Barry Bama does it again...

    Another friend goes under the bus next to his racist grandma and reverend of 20 years... and Hillary lost to this guy???

    July 12, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  6. An American

    I don't think Senator Obama invited Bernie Mac to introduce him. That decision was made by someone else. Get off of Obama's back about this.

    July 12, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  7. Jon

    Not that a I condone what BM had said but, how does BHO camp get off telling someone else what he or she cannot say? I thought he was for freedom of speach? Also I think BHO is up too how many, that not approppiate? Just wondering. Seems BHO had to be the far left that he is during the primary and now low and behold , center here I come............................................................

    July 12, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  8. Daisy

    Typical. One Obama blogger also tells another anti-Obama blogger to "go get an abortion". Very nice.

    July 12, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  9. Mike S

    Yeah lighten up Bernie, Obama is running his campaign on political correctness!

    July 12, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  10. Shannon Thompson

    Here is what is funny, comedians are allowed to say what ever we want. We are paid to be edgy and push the envelope. We don't have to apologize. Politicians...not so lucky.

    July 12, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  11. Eric in Ca

    From the comments posted: So, Bernie Mac's inappropriate joke is the end all reason you wouldn't vote for Obama? Not that McCain has no solutions for the economy, environment, taxes, healthcare, womens' rights, Bush 3rd-term???

    (He's a stand up comedian -duh?) I don't condone the joke but I believe the issues are the reasons I support Obama. Please! In spite of your differences with Obama versus McCain ... hands down, Obama and his policy proposals are of greater importance and relevancy than the Republicans and waaay – over McCain!

    July 12, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  12. No Frog Princess

    Please boycott the Frog Princess movie. I understand the name has been changed to the Princess and the Frog, but it's still the same. Also, the main character's name was Maddie, but they have since changed it. The company should NOT do a movie with a black princess because they don't know anything about black culture.

    Also, they've been doing animation for over 50 years, and now that they see the value in diversity, they're suddenly interested in a black princess, not because they think black is beautiful, but because black is profitable. As an African American woman I'm insulted that they want to use us to raise their profits for their princess toy line.

    Just say no, keep your daughters away from that movie.

    July 12, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  13. Cody

    People are being rediculous. This was a joke, and somehow that makes Obama a person who looks down on women and is unfit to be in the White House COME ON. I think there should be a test that people should take to vote in this country. I am trying to pay for gas, pay my student loans, and try not to get kicked out of my house and instead of talking about substantive issues, we are talking about a joke that Bernie Mac made. WOW, unfortunately most of you who commented on this page are the ones who got us in this mess for the past 8 years. Thanks for that. Lets focus on real issues.

    July 12, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  14. gregO

    what is this nonsense about.....a comedian makes a bad joke about HIS own wife and somehow this is related to Obama's judgement and America will be doomed if Obama is elected. Well I got real news for you Republicans and HilaryClinton whiners, America is already in the trash. Republicans you voted twice for a mentally challenged Dubya who has single handedly destroyed our goodwill. and you HRC whiners want to forget about the other 18 million who voted for OBAMA and suggest that somehow a left wing conspiracy has stolen HER nomination... nit picking a candidate for every little thing is ridiculous and hypocritical....

    July 12, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  15. BR

    This joke refers to a woman with at least one child who is most likely cheating on her husband with the mailman. Anyone offended by calling a woman who would satisfy her sexual urges risking the well-being of her family a "ho" does not have their priorities straight. I would argue that this behavior defines the term "ho," and although the word is not ideal for this situation, it is appropriate in the context of the joke.

    Calling an unfaithful woman a "ho" who would risk putting her children through dealing with their parents' divorce is not offensive. The behavior of the woman in the joke is what should be considered offensive.

    July 12, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  16. Eddie W.

    The world is made up of somany different people and it is sometimes very hard to seperate their jobs,careers (especially a comic when in front of a audience) another case of misspeak...get over it and move on. I am sure Mr Mac is terribly ashame.

    July 12, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  17. Enough ALready!!!!!

    Leave God out of it .........Mr Obama is not responsible for Bernie and I'm sure he did not encourage or expect that type of JOKE ,,,,just like your comment -Lisa TEXAS Trail Dog and others ....so much hate
    and name calling You guys are no better than Bernie he is a comedian.....What is your excuse for the hatred toward Mr Obama
    if don't like him Its ok don't vote for him

    July 12, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  18. Steve

    I personally feel Obama should realize that Bernie Mac, like all other Americans have the right to Freedom of Speech. Bernie Mac has always used offensive language with his acts. Obama does have the right to comment on his opinion about Bernie's jokes, but being in his position where he potentially represents and preserves the rights that the American Constitution guaranatees all of its citizens , he should not have discouraged him from exercising his inalienable rights.

    July 12, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  19. j.i.m.

    Bernie Mac, make's insensitive remark about " HOS " and get's
    off lightly because he is " Black ", that's ok. But let a " White Man "
    say something like that and he get's " EXSCORRIATED " for it. This
    is an " OUTRAGE " and a Double standard. Where is " SHARPTON &
    JACKSON " no where to be found, it Figure's.................

    July 12, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  20. Alexander

    and while he's at it, why doesn't he get freddie mac to clean up its act too?

    July 13, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  21. Cliff

    More of the same from BHO's campaign. It's been old for a long time and getting older. When are you all going to wake up and figure out this sham and joke of a Presidential candidate? Having learned that you are judged by the company you keep, it appears this clown just keeps sinking deeper. With any luck, we won't have to deal with BHO's foolishness after November.

    July 13, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  22. Doug

    Yeah, this really isn't news, but I think it was a joke at the wrong place at wrong time. After all, it was that – JUST A JOKE. People need to RELAX. Comedians are out there to make you laugh about all different types of topics – some are more controversial than others....but remember they are JUST JOKES!!!!

    July 13, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  23. Jeff

    What an idiot. I can't possibly fathom what Mac was thinking...

    July 13, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  24. Dion Roberts

    Barack doesn't have the courage to tell Bernie Mac to his face that his performance was inappropriate and the will not stand for that kind of stuff. Instead he jokes around and side-steps it by laughing and saying he needs to "clean his act up next time." to top it all off, he follows up his displeasure with Bernie's performance with "By the way, I'm just messing with you man". Yeah, this is the type of man we need in the White House......someone that throws out daps and enjoys a good hoes and prostitute joke at a family event! Figure it out America.....Barack plays his black card and tries to be cool when he needs to and straightens up and speaks promise when the time calls for it. We can't have a person like this running our country!

    July 13, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  25. Mark from Wisconsin

    Lighten up people...Bernie Mac is a comedian, period. He was doing part of his comedy routine...obviously an old routine as that joke is ancient...the point is, he is a comedian, he told a joke. Some people were offended...get over it...this has nothing to do with Obama, and it has nothing to do with race...it was just a bad joke by a B-list comedian.

    And to you idiots who keep thinking Obama is a Muslim...grow up...all you are doing is trying to play off the fears of Americans...we are not buying it and if you truly believe that crap, then I feel sorry for you, it shows that you are unable to think for yourself or comprehend reason and logic.

    July 13, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
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