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. Katie

    Only Barack would be dumb enough to bring on a comedian, like Bernie Mac, and not expect him to that kind of joke. Mac makes his money on that type of crap.

    Its no worse when Mac says it in his stand-up routine. If Barack Obama REALLY respected women, he wouldn't have had a comedian that does jokes like that open for him. End of story.
    Then again, what do we expect from a man that dismisses female reporters with "sweetie".

    July 13, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. Phil from TX

    Agree with CE. Politics has really become petty and trivial that our candidates have to be prepared to ditch anyone for expressing an honest opinion. Bernie Mac, Jesse Jackson, Ralph Nader, Geraldine Ferraro, Jeremiah Wright. I'll even include Don Imus (with reservations). How long is this list going to get before liberals realize that political correctness is an intellectual and political dead-end?

    July 13, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  3. Frank, Atlanta, GA


    NOBODY KNOWS........THEY DO IT IN SECRET !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    BECAUSE IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    July 13, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  4. lindacisme

    Obama wants it BOTH ways – as usual – he wants a black man there to introduce him – but wants to look "cool" so he invites this guy – but then does not want the guy to do what he normally does.

    BO can't decide who he is, what he stands for, what race he exemplifies. Is he going to be surprised in November.....

    July 13, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  5. Texas Trail Dog

    Why is my comment still in moderation when others far worst comments such as mine above are posted right away? Either post it or delete it. Do something CNN? I'm tired of your support of OBAMA.

    July 13, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  6. james mcclure

    OBAMA is not for blacks anymore. I am asking my black sisters and brothers not to vote for Obama .

    July 13, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  7. H. Charles

    This was reported just so that the Hillary supporters and Obama haters can whine and complain and blah blah. We get it! If you don't want to vote for him, then don't. But please shut up.

    July 13, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  8. Corey Cohn

    I think it's funny how every time a supposed 'friend' of Obama's makes a statement, racist, sexist, anti-black, anti-white or whatever the case may have been, it immediately comes down to 'Obama can't be trusted' and 'Obama rebukes his friends'. I hate to break the news to everyone, but the man is trying to run for presidency. Politics suggest that he needs to speak for the people, which for the most part his policies and opinions do, but that doesn't mean he can control what and how his friends might act. Be anti-obama all you want if you have differing views on his policies, but to flame the boards about dishonesty because he condemned a friend for making a sexist joke is like trying your best to separate yourself from your drunken college days, or that friend that you stood by when they cheated on a test, or what not. Hate to break the news to some people, but I am pretty sure we all have one or two friends we regret bringing out in public sometimes because they lack something called tact.

    Obama '08

    July 13, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  9. linda

    Barack FIRE your pulic relations division period. Two gaffes in one week, are two too many. Whoever you have is of no quality. They should have seen this coming from a has been.

    Bernie Mack does not represent anyone! He represents himself, which proves that he used the event to promote himself. He knew what he was going to say would give him some publicity.

    What I say to Mack is that you are so ridiculous to use this to get some publicity. So much so that I will no longer watch anything that you are on!

    You are a sick individual whose star has certainly fallen.

    July 13, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  10. getoverit

    The joke was in really bad taste, but the real joke is the nit wits here trying to link Bernie's offesive joke with Obama's reaction. Talk about grasping at straws, McCain can talk in jest about murdering Iranian civillians when asked about cigarette exports and that's ok???

    July 13, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  11. Quinton

    I cant believe people are still whining for Hillary...IT'S OVER, GET IT THROUGH YOUR THICK SKULLS...

    July 13, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  12. Casey

    If you can't tell the difference between a crude joke and Robert Mugabe
    in Zimbabwe, then YOU are the dangerous one. Please educate yourself before you let your ignorance fall out of that pie hole.

    I agree that someone wasn't thinking when they decided on Bernie Mac participating in any portion of a fundraiser, particularly if they didn't lay down ground rules, but I doubt Obama made those decisions.

    Do you really think that every little thing is decided at his level?

    At least Obama didn't say any of it. Unlike McWar, who has, on more than one occasion, sung his "bomb, bomb Iran" song and joked about providing more cigarettes to Iranians to kill them.

    No Bush Third Term

    Get a life, folks.

    July 13, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  13. That Guy

    Hey CNN...

    Just an FYI, your writer misspelled the word "Senator" as Senstor.

    you might want to look into that....and also finding some real news.

    July 13, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  14. SnOoP from Kansas

    JOKES!! They are only jokes people. If you choose not to laugh that's fine, don't. Just please, don't ask a comedian to come on stage and not tell jokes! This country needs jokes right now. Laugh a little bit and quit being so uptight. Sheesh!

    July 13, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  15. Riteaidbob

    Gee...another idiot opening his mouth for Obama.

    Never in our life time has such a fool been nominated to run for POTUS.

    July 13, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  16. ChillyDawg

    Like Bernie said in House party 3 , "Up against the walls with hand cuffs on!"

    July 13, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  17. Jen

    Doesn't Obama research anything? Bernie Mac's comedy routine is vulgar. Asking him to tone it done is like inviting Jenna Jameson to a kid's birthday party . It doesn't make sense. This was BAD judgement on the Senator's part.

    July 13, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  18. Blueray98

    It’s 3am and your children are safe and asleep

    But there’s a phone in the White House and it’s ringing

    Something’s happening in the world

    Your vote will decide who answers that call.

    Whether it’s someone who already knows the world’s leaders, knows the military – someone tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world

    It’s 3am and your children are safe and asleep

    Who do you want answering the phone?

    July 13, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  19. James Sye

    Really, is it that serious? It's Bernie Mac... His comedy has always been funny but on the edge. No big deal, but now Obama has to condemn comedians @ one of his parties....lol America has become way too PC

    July 13, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  20. anon

    you can't censor a comedian. you can't! these people knew better. bernie mac doesn't do clean jokes.

    stupid obama fanboys.

    July 13, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  21. wake up america

    It is nice to see by reading through these post that people are finally starting to see Obama for what he is, an inexperienced liar who will say anything to get elected. His choice of friends ranging from rev. Wright to Ayeres, should be telling. This guy is a piece of work. why do you thing Jesse Jackson had such negative things to say about him. He sees obama for what he is, why cant so many other people.

    If, as a black candidate, you can't get the support of Jesse jackson, you know there is something very very wrong with him.

    America, there is a huge elephant in the living room, time to fess up about it.

    I am voitng for McCain.

    July 13, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  22. Lost in Yonkers

    Don Imus had no comment.

    July 13, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  23. M GREEN

    The majority of Obama's supporters have no "knee-jerk" reaction to anything he says or does, nor to those with whom he is connected. This is a good example of the dysfunctional family in it's early stages that has a low rock bottom. He seems to attract supporters that never seemed to quite fit in with the "norms" so they react by creating their own new standards (e.g.. gang mentality). I can think of great leaders that understood necessary change and proper implementation in it's purity that left antagonists harboring lesser motives naked. Obama's life experiences gave him the opportunity many times to hone them to a keen understanding of a great unifying, keen balancing act, but with his choices (whomever suited/suits the necessary objective at the time) of mentors and disciples as well has left him confused, biased and sometimes derelict. Unfortunately, he did not mature into fruition and can possibly be rendered useless when we are most vulnerable. This election plays perfectly into the character (permanent actor) flaws he possesses, creating a long, perfect storm wreaking the havoc an indecisive leader brings. Knowing that Obama is bright and arrogant, I can only imagine his perplexity and disappointment in the "fan base" he draws. I will note that it is sad and common that the "norms" in the family let this dysfunction continue.

    July 13, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  24. Jeff Brown

    I'd rather listen to Bernie than some of the cornballs that the G.O.P. think are funny!

    July 13, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  25. Craig

    I like Bernie Mac. I think he's funny.

    But this was not the place for a joke like that.

    What was he thinking?

    July 13, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32