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. Lisa

    This is very unprofessional!!! These are the type of friends Obama will hang out with in the White House. Next thing you know Obama will give a speech how he doesn't condone this behavior then throw Bernie Mack under the bus. Don't worry, Bernie Mack has plenty of people to hang out with under there. The Grandmother, The Kids, Jesse Jackson, The Rev Wright, Bill and Hillary. Sounds like it's getting fun under there, soon I'll want Obama to throw me under there, only because Bill & Hill are there.

    July 12, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. bk

    Thats probably how the White House is going to be if Obama gets elected.

    July 12, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. Jerry, Florida

    Ah, there you go! Is this what we are in for? I sure hope not. If Senator McCain had a fund raiser where such racist/gender related jokes were used, he would be run out of town on a rail. But, lest not forget, this is the media’s darling.

    This shows the respect that the flip-flopping, rookie Senator has for women. American voters, PLEASE wise up!

    More to come! Stay tuned!

    July 12, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  4. Raymond Duke

    I won't be voting for Obama and it isn't because of what the stand up comedian said. That is the problem with this country is that everybody wants to be so politically correct and so sensitive and not hurt anybodys feeling. This is such a wussy country in that regard and that is what is wrong to the country.

    July 12, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. Joe Reed

    A political event is not the right place for this kind of entertainment. Bernie Mac should have known better.

    July 12, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  6. No N*ts Obama

    What a shame NNO can't even take a stand to these outrageous sexist, racist jokes without letting Bernie off with a "by the way, I'm just messing with you man...."

    What if Bernie Mac were a white man?

    July 12, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  7. faye, NV

    These guys should be careful when asking a comedian to enter the stage. Ha! Ha!

    July 12, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  8. Chris Bolton

    I would have been extremely impressed if Obama just left it at "clean up your act," without throwing in the "just messing" bit. I'm seeing him more and more as not ready for prime time.

    July 12, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  9. Jimmyk9

    So Bernie Mac brings forward a famous Winston Churchill scenario, putting it into todays common language, and is chastised for it? Man you people need to learn to take a joke, even an off color one . . .overly sensitive weasels.

    July 12, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  10. Cody

    That's a little awkward.

    July 12, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  11. R

    "It;s not funny, lets get on Barrack", one man shouted.

    Hillarious, that what happens when you prepare you material hapharzardly.

    Obama 08 Hillary 12

    July 12, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  12. No Nuts Obama

    Will never be president!

    Hillary 08!

    July 12, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  13. Scott

    People just don't have a sense of humor at Political Events.

    July 12, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  14. Ben

    The reason why the did not find it humorous is because Obama's supporters are obviously wealthy with no sense of humor.

    July 12, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. swanspirit

    Once again the bo talks out of both sides of his mouth at once .... hope his great friend's jokes go over well with his daughters ...because one day someone will refer to them like that ... isnt that what being a responsible father is about ? perhaps bo should look to his own role modeling what good families should look like before he points the finger .. oh wait that was Michelle wasnt it .... what was that again ??? oh right it was a "joke" a mans joke

    July 12, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. Dan, TX

    Why is Bernie Mac doing jokes before an Obama speech? I realize he is a popular entertainer, but entertainers need to be less concerned about themselves and more concerned about their audience. That was bad judgment by Bernie Mac.

    Now, what I want to know is what Obama said in his speech. He outlined important details on policy. People like to pretend he doesn't have detailed plans, but here we go with CNN. This could have been an article on policies of Obama's that may affect the lives of millions of people around the world. But yet, we have to listen to CNN waste our time yet again on trivia.

    PLEASE GOD, will someone revive journalism?

    July 12, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  17. Real person for Obama.

    Well Bernie joke for living, and most commentator jokes are about things like that, but when you are around a politician you should stick to mini joke that will not be taken into context.

    People pay money to watch jokes like that and people joke about themselves too. Mccain joke about himself that " what aemrican should need from a presidential candidate is person who is really old .

    That would have offends old people, very old very old were once young. Bernie's joke will be twisted in no time, but he made a joke about his family and not about someone else.

    They always like to put candidate into defence when someone said thing like joke.

    What is more scaring and deeming than when a high profile representative said "if another terrorist strike America it will favour Mccain"?

    I think people should cough around Obama because he will be ask to dissociate himself from it or condenmed it.

    Bernie's joke was about family affairs and it doesn't deserve a condemnation

    Even when it was impossible for Hillary to clinch the nomination, bill encouraged her not to quit. Now will Bill Clinton call that a wise moves? $20,million in debt is not a wise way to end a campaign, she did not win and she rackup debt of that magnitude.

    I am for Obama to help her with paying down her debt.

    On vep. I think Obama should get a governor or a military experience person for his vep.
    Mitt rony also accumulat debt, but the repub and the media didn't ask mccain to pay or help pay up Mitt Rony's debt.

    July 12, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  18. RJ, CA

    Obama called the comedian a "great friend." 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."

    So does Obama or does Obama not condone this stuff? Which is it?

    Funny how these ghouls always come out for Obama!

    July 12, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  19. Captain Capslock

    Attention puma's. Spend less time bashing Obama and more time telling us how much you agree with McCains policies... what's that? You don't actually agree with McCain's policies? Oh...

    So what is your purpose again?

    July 12, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  20. Marie

    Over eleven major misteps by McCain this week alone and everyday, no matter how big or small, Obama graces the ticker. When will people see whats going on here? Why is this a story and with the price of food and gas, who cares. I guess the Elites at CNN feel the same way as McCain. His new motto is 'Let them eat GRAHAM crackers'.

    July 12, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. jason goines

    off track is a maybe here; frank lutz on fox stated that the american people don't want to be lectured to. like on this subject of why can't americans speak different languages. were kinda all over the place also w/ pandering for the lateeno vote. you can't promise a chicken in every pot. and wanting to give away the farm and promise millions here and millions there. THROTTLE BACK on the way you come at these very sensitive americans and fox news who pounce on everything that comes out of baracks mouth. heck i'am still waiting for my forty acres and a mule. and don't believe them polls. it only rallies the other side. team obama you need to go back and study film of how campaigning was done in the era of R.F.K. and back further. the contrast in styles of then vs. now are going to play a big part. THIS IS NOT WHIPPER SNAPPER CAMPAIGNING or politicing. in trying to one up mccain. can't team obama see how smooth mccain is in campaigning and responding to questions.

    July 12, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  22. DJ

    Are black celebs making a concerted effort to throw Obama under the proverbial bus?? Sure seems that way.

    July 12, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  23. Real person for Obama.

    Sorry for the missup, Bernies; joke was just a joke and that what he does for living afterall he is commendian.

    So get over it.

    July 12, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  24. david

    Should we make no more jokes? This is lunacy. Just b/c comedian says some off-colored remarks, the networks are getting an orgasm.

    July 12, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  25. Wayne

    and Bernie goes under the bus.....

    July 12, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
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