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. Carib

    Is this TMZ or cnn ? Its funny when the cartoons are more political than the major news networks. I really dont want to believe we are this gullible.

    July 13, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  2. Rave

    What's up with these people.. This is a lifetime opportunity for them to see the most qualified african american as President of United States of America and his own people cant swallow the fact??
    Grow up , Grow up, Grow up..... Just stay away from Mr. Obama and try to be decent.
    Had they voted 60 – 40 or 70 – 30 to Obama / Hillary in the primaries instead of 90 -10... Obama would have won a lot more white voters..
    People you have to understand, this is not what Obama really wants. There are things that get out of control in a race and this is one of them.
    Overall Obama is the Champ.
    OBAMA (2008 -16)

    July 13, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  3. Michele Hussein, Oregon

    Totally INAPPROPRIATE! Am very disappointed in this and I am a strong Obama supporter.

    But what I find more disappointing and inappropriate is the fact that while CNN continues to display every single breath of the Obama campaign you refuse to bring out what has come out of McCain's own mouth.

    Just this week there have been horrendous things that have gone unreported/underreported such as McCain's "funniest" ten ways to kill Iranians, his words on Social Security, his lying about the 300 economic advisers backing his economic plan, his wanting to kick Russia out of the G8, his response to the Vietnam Vet in the town hall meeting who called him on his legislative lack of support for vets vs. what he claims, etc., etc.

    By covering every breath Obama or a surrogate take, you are proving to subtley undermine his candidacy at every turn by NOT covering McCain with the same scrutiny.

    July 13, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  4. uuuugh!!

    HRC ALL THE WAY July 12th, 2008 12:55 pm ET

    when is BHO going to take responsibility for his actions? I will not vote for him, not in November not 4 years from now, not ever!
    ______________________________________________________
    wow you are an IDEOT!!!! the more i read these post, the more i believe that an aptitude test should be given out before people can vote. Obama did rebuke the comments that BERNI made....they were not Obama's remarks....they were Berni's.
    further more, when is John McCain going to take responsibility for the USS Forrestal July 29, 1967? when will McCain take responsibility for all of his LIES?

    July 13, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  5. Ric

    Why do so some folks think that something "tacky" or inappropriate" is always something "black" and if your not with it, your not black enough..I am dissapointed in both of them..
    I like Bernie Mac a whole lot but there is a time and place for everything, and this was not it...I like Barack but stick to your guns...when you give a person a piece of your mind, drop the "I'm kidding" part.

    July 13, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. JohnBoy

    Obama will make Bernie Mack our Secratary of State.

    July 13, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  7. another whiner

    PRESIDENTS LIKE DIRTY JOKES ,TOO!EXCEPT BUSH,CAUSE HE DONT KNOW ANY.

    July 13, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. Too Uptight

    The problem here is that everyone in America thinks they are "holier than thou" and would NEVER EVER Laugh at things like this. WHEN THEY HAVE DONE SO BEFORE. And to say he needs to clean up his act, as if he never knew of his vulgarity at all is just a little ridiculous. Come on people -

    July 13, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  9. Mike

    This is a joke. You may not agree or like what he has to say but he has the right to say it. I personally love bernie mac and I do not degrade women in any way.

    Get off your high horses. I crack up when I hear that Mac is someone from the "old" generation. Oh you mean the generation that does all the work and built everything you have today. Now all the sudden there is a downturn and the "old" generation is suppsosed to be taboo.

    I have hope. I hope your joking.

    July 13, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  10. Pat

    SHAME ON YOU BERNIE MAC!
    IT WAS BAD ENOUGH TO HEAR THAT WE ARE IN A "MENTAL RECESSION"!
    THEN YOU HAD THE AUDACITY TO COME OUT WITH SUCH DISTASTEFUL REMARKS!

    OBAMA IS NOT RUNNING TO BE THE "BLACK PRESIDENT"!

    HE IS RUNNING TO BE THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA....FOR ALL PEOPLES AND ETHNICITIES THEREIN!

    OBAMA'S ETHNICITY IS HAPPENSTANCE! AMERICAN FIRST; ETHNICITY SECOND!

    HOW COULD YOU BE SO NARROWMINDED IN JUDGMENT AND PERSPECTIVE?

    July 13, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  11. Another old white woman for Obama

    If many of you posters let these little "glitches" change your votes then either you were never going to vote Dem in the first place or you are just looking for an excuse not to vote for Obama.
    The big difference between Dems and Reps is ideolological. The difference between caring and not caring. Peace and war.
    Inclusion and exclusion.
    I am a Dem because the basic philosphy echoes my own. I am for Sen. Obama because he best represents me and my own opinions.
    Inflexibilty is not a blessing but a curse. Refusal to admit error and rethink situations as circumstances change is a GOP fault and is destroying our country. Don't blame the Dem congress. They have been at the mercy of a Despotic President who vetoes any Dem proposals just because he can. No matter how good they may be.
    This is not patriotism but intrangience and greed. Lying to start a war is the treason. Defending the treason is worse.

    July 13, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  12. NObama

    Slowly we see the kind of people Obama surrounds himself with. Next up, Don Imus at an Obama fundraiser.

    Obama is so very inept.

    July 13, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. JFK

    I am not surprised that Mac said this? Why would Obama let him speak in the first place? Another poor decision by Obama and his campaign!

    July 13, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. Wisconsin

    Meanwhile McWar said he will pay for his econ plan by getting out of Iraq and said that he will stay in Iraq!

    CNN=BIAS Did you even do a story about McCain's smoking thing being a way to kill people in Iran? OR their response?

    He would have to be talking peace with Iran, but between bomb bomb Iran and this they hate him already.

    July 13, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  15. John in Virginia

    Lisa said July 12th, 2008 1:29pm ET "This is very unprofessional!!! These are the type of friends Obama will hang out with in the White House." I agree the comment was unprofessional and I fault the Obama campaign for considering Bernie for this kind of event. It would have been much safer to go with a Bill Cosby, or a Seinfeld. I also fault Bernie Mac to some degree where you have to know your audience and your environment. He should know when you can do certain things and when you can not, and he obviously does not. But these complaints of throwing people under the bus everytime Senator Obama criticizes somebody are just getting to be nutts. On one hand people want to sit back and say "oh well, we don't know enough about him." Then he responds to things he agrees and disagrees with, and gives you a chance to learn something about his philosophy. But what is it; he can't criticize anyone? That is nutts. I am sure you criticized some of the very people you listed. Unfortunately everyone is not perfect and though you may like them or agree with SOME of the things they do and say, you are not obligated to agree with everything. That would be just plain dumb and nobody would vote for someone that shallow. Nor should they want to. People blow things up on these blogs so they are far out of proportion just because they like another candidate, and we all owe it to everyone to be more objective. I have been an Obama supporter since the beginning, but I was furious over his FISA vote and in my mind, I simply can not defend it. But I know my candidate and me are 2 different people who aren't always going to do the same things or think the same way. Same with Mac. Obama, or the campaign person who's job it is to find speakers for these events, probably trusted Bernie Mac, a grown man, to be versitile enough to handle the situation and he didn't. As a consequence, Bernie got some much needed criticism.

    July 13, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. bill

    voted "present" 100 times. what did you expect, a real stand on any issue?

    July 13, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  17. Pat

    BERNIE YOU HAVE PROJECTED A STEREOTYPE UPON A MAN WHO IS ANYTHING BUT STEREOTYPICAL!

    PLEASE THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK; AND BY ALL MEANS CEASE REFERRING TO ANY WOMAN AS A "HO"!

    July 13, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  18. ZIUS

    THIS IS CRAP THE MAN SPEAKS FOR HIMSELF...THE MORE TRIVIAL THE ATTACK THE MORE CREDIBILITY HE WILL GET..
    BY THE WAY HIS COMMENT RAISED GAS PRICES BUY 2$...NOT

    July 13, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  19. Robert

    This is typical CNN.....The headline CNN uses for this article...."Obama camp rebukes Benie Mac over joke". Obama did not rebuke Bernie Mac. He said, "By the way, I'm just messing with you, man". Why doesn't CNN report the news as truth instead of once again showing its bias for Obama. Obama can not even stand up to a comedian. How is he going to stand up to a world leader. He is a weakling that stands for nothing and flip flops like the wind. Because he is black no one will tell the truth about him. If you call him what he truely is everyone labels you as a racist.

    By the way, I'm just messing with you, man.

    July 13, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  20. uuuugh!!

    tom wrote July 12th, 2008 1:09 pm ET
    no surprise as jessie jackson said Obama is trying to keep the black man down. talking down to the black man.
    wake up white america or with Robert mug err…. i mean Barry obama "sorry i dont call him by his Muslim name" at the helm we will get the same thing zimbabwe got.
    _____________________________________________________
    hey man, do you realize you are a POS...?
    said a black person could not do a lot of things...why do have to keep proving you wrong?
    Langston Hughes, Nikkie Giovanni, Crispus Attucks, B.K. Bruce, George W. Carver, Charles Drew , MLK, Mathew Henson, Scott Joplin, Jacob Lawrence, Elijah McCoy, Jesse Owens, Gordon Parks, Jordon, Tiger Woods, Oprah, Madame CJ Walker, Suzan-Lori Parks, Colin Powell....and so many more African Americans in the face of great opposition ans stupidity like yours have contributed greatly to this country and the world...

    July 13, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  21. Wait a minute!

    This is how Obama finished his so-called reprimand:

    "...By the way, I'm just messing with you, man."

    This doesn't sound like a reprimand to me. Imagine talking to your kid and saying: "Clean up your room! OK I'm just messing with you kid."

    Why doesn't the media cover this guy honestly? We've had a primary in which he was covered with kid gloves (are we seriously going to have a president who will kiss up to Ahmadinejad ???), and now apparently we'll have a general election where we'll pretend that Obama reprimands someone even though he says in the same breath that he's just "messing with" this man!!!

    I think Senator Obama is messing with all of us. It's time for CNN and other media to call him on it.

    July 13, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  22. Shawn

    I think the joke isn't that bad. And I think America is seeing how "non white" Americans interact. We don't spend a lot of time postering for our family and friends. America is so fake it's sicking. The media covers stories like this mean while health care is killing people and our government does nothing.

    July 13, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  23. Jan From Boca Raton, Fl

    Have you ever heard the old saying "Birds of a feather stick together"

    You judge a person by the company they keep.

    Dosen't say much for Obama does it?

    July 13, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  24. bitter_in_pa

    Bad decision to have this fool on the stage. This is just late-night BET comedy hour material and has no place anywhere else.

    July 13, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  25. A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    obama shows another expression of love, that is pitching his friends under the bus. This unpatriotic candidate throws them under the bus often. ask his preacher, his grannie, Jesse, and now Bernie Mac.

    Give me a break and let's throw obama under that bus and elect John McCain, an old fashioned patriot, as our next president.

    July 13, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
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