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. franco

    The comedian said that night that politics is dirty.

    I wonder if the comedian was implying that Obama is a Chicago-made, Chicagoan style, clean politician................

    July 13, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  2. Walt, Belton,TX

    Only when Obama's "friends" get caught bad mouthing and denigrating does he step in and offer apologies. Guess it is all right not to say anything as long as they're not caught. Sure does have a lot of friends who denigrate women, the USA, and God. Seems like he should be in a middle east country, not the USA.

    July 13, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. It IS funny, right?

    I'm a Mac fan, but geesh, man, you gotta know the difference between a comedy club full of alcohol-filled people and a genteel fundraiser. Bernie, my man, everyone will jump on Barack because of your heavy-handed comments..... I have a feeling you won't be invited back....

    July 13, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. Real person for Obama.

    CNN please delete this ticker, it is like you have nothing else to post in the ticker.

    Shame shame CNN ....if obama farts it will be posted for days, but when Mccain top adviser abuse the nation it was only posted for hours.

    Shame on you CNN.
    Just say you support Mccain ....

    July 13, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  5. anonymous123

    Here's a prime example of what you have to look forward to, you stupid Lemmings that follow Obama blindly, you say you're all about our freedoms, etc. Yet you blindly push for someone who's all about stifiling our basic rights, freedom of speech in this case. That's ok though, when you wake up one day and wonder why there's a gun in your face over a "joke" you made, you'll have nobody to blame but yourself, and to clarify what I mean: You think we live in a police state now, wait until you put Obama in office. I applaud Jesse Jackson's comments, I don't feel Bernie Mac did anything wrong. I can't stand Jesse Jackson, but all he was doing was exercising his first amendment right, and what did it get him, thrown under the bus. Bernie Mac is an artist, and all he was doing was plying his trade the best he knew how, and all it got him was thrown under the bus, not to mention further re-enforced Jackson's comments. Democrats wake up and smell the coffee, before Obama throws you under the bus too.

    July 13, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. richard

    There is a major difference between Obama and the GOP. Recall during the Republican Revolution the mantra was to shame and blame. This led to a very unstable moral highground. Very unstable as New's adultry, divorce, and remarriage illustrated as did all the other scandals to come. Obama, uses a different mantra – Praise and Blame, He praises McFlipFLop and then pounces. He praises Bernie and then tells him to clean up his act. McFlipFlop is still stuck in the 1990's. Bernie, Jackson, and others need to stop the distractions. Keep it simple stupid. Let the praise and blame be used against the GOP rather than used to respond to distractions.

    July 13, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. RoNgWaY

    Experience counts: Enjoyed your analogy. No wait maybe I didn't! Oh no wait there, I did if you did?
    I'm surprised that Obie didn't fall right over with that kind of waffling.
    Standard politicing.
    One of many reasons not to vote for this man.Obies success leaves me without a candidate as I cannot as a woman, in good conscience vote for a republican.
    What do you think of voting Hilliary on a write-in?

    July 13, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  8. Gary

    Obama is trying to be everything to everyone with such actions and in the end he will be nothing but an empty shell. What does he stand for. I am very confused. So now he is against humor. I guess we can look forward to a country where you are abandoned for excercising your first amendment right. He seems to be condemning people right and left for doing so. My biggest fear is that in the end he will be such a bad President that we will not see another minority candidate for 100 years. Which means all minorities and women should be concerned. I know I am. It only takes one bad apple to spoil the barrel.

    July 13, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  9. Drew from Wisconsin

    Ooooh, Ooooh, a joke at an Obama fundraiser goes over like a crutch and the OBH campaign is forced to issue statements and apologies because if they DON'T, they won't be on record as issuing statements and apologies. And if they're not on record, conservatives - you know, the ones who abhor political correctness - await in the wings, salivating at the thought of being able to jump on yet one more example of Obama's unapologetic woman-hating and hypocritical race-baiting.

    My questions is simple: How does such predictable and sophomoric political theater keep earning the "news" label?

    July 13, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Steve R.

    Well, you are known by the company you keep.

    And yes, for $2,300 a plate for his political stuff I think the should continue all this money stuff if he elected Pres. so he does not raise my taxes.

    Obama is a chump

    July 13, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  11. Mc Cain Democrat

    I am a typical white ho stuck under a very crowded bus with an extremely racist bunch of parasites and terrorists, who is being forced to vote against her interests, for the sake of her country.
    Obama go away already. Oh, and the $600 dollar rebate check your wife spent on earrings, could of paid for a kid to have a wonderful summer camp experience, but what do you care. Yuck.
    Your character is an issue, it is not a diversion, you are running for President. Stop blaming Bush for all the problems, tell the American people how the democrats make it impossible for America to address their energy needs which forces us to send billions of our money overseas, making other people rich. Your support for ethanol is promoting word hunger. You treated democrats like dirt. 5 states broke rule 11, but only 2 were punished, while you blocked a revote.
    We will not be quite, we will expose your rotten core.
    As a man Obama, you leave much to be desired.

    July 13, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  12. cam

    whatever. this is not as bad as "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb-Iran" or hoping American cigarettes will kill Iranian civilians or telling Americans or Energy problems are psychological. I know Barack having awkwardness with a black person is more-profitable for your tv and net sponsors, but come on CNN!

    We know who's in McCains pockets. Hope you are enjoying you good seats on his plane.

    How about some journalistic responsibility?


    July 13, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  13. Dannie in MA

    My one vote will ONLY go to Mrs.Clinton.

    July 13, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. Jo

    I have heard many inspiring speeches from Sen. Obama about hope and change and a new brand of politics. Every once in a while he would actually say some specific policy in those glowing speeches such as filibustering the immunity of telecoms, getting troops out quickly (16 months), renegotiating NAFTA, complete support for a woman's right to choose. And because of this message of hope and these few specifics he won many primaries and is the presumptive nominee. Based on these few specifics he got support from NARAL, and unions because he was the candidate of change. Just this last week he was courting the women's vote with more kind words and very few specifics.

    Now he has caved on the telecom issue, qualified his position on choice (really women who may just be blue), has said NAFTA is fine and is refining his position on withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Now he is present when a comedian again denigrates women by the use of HOs and he just laughs it off. Brushes it off like he did with reference to Clinton.

    As a democrat, I can only be stunned wondering what we have done to be ready to nominate a man who has no principles to stand on. He will say anything to be elected and means nothing. I feel sorry for the unions and NARAL who went out on a limb to support him and now find him sawing it off behind them.

    I cannot support John McCain because of his stand on the issues but at least I respect him for taking a stand and sticking with it. I can only hope that before the convention more of our delegates will change their minds but I realize that we are probably stuck with this candidate. It is too bad because we really need a strong and principled democrat in the White House to undo the damage of the Bush administration and to lead us into an era of energy independence and economic upswing. McCain doesn't have the policies to do that and Obama has neither the strength nor the principles.

    July 13, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. Billy

    Arent Jesse and Al supposed to come protest when an entertainer calls women 'ho's' .... I think I remember a similar situation but seems this one got a different response! I guess it only works one way and only then are there protests demanding he be fired.

    Obama, if you did not know Bernie's humor, (or you Reverend's ideology), if you did not expect this to happen, how in the world can we trust you to figure out things like terrorism or the economy. Sounds like youre not too bright.

    And are you rebuking the comments or 'just messing with' him?

    July 13, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. Xavier

    HRC all the way,
    As tasteless and wrong as what Bernie said was, its still not as wrong as Hillary's lies about her foreign experience, Greenland impact and lets not forget ducking gun fire.

    July 13, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  17. caribbean admirer of OBAMA

    I have a great respect for this intelligent en experienced future President of the USA. I only will have to ask him to let his campaign staff filter these kind of losers who think that they are funny and that their dirty jokes are all over accepted.

    SHAME ON YOU MR BURNIE MAC!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 13, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  18. Paula Hussein Mack

    Barack, Barack.. with all the fabulous talented support you have like Bruce Springsteen, John Mellancamp Dave Matthews..what is your campaign doing!!?? This guy is not even good at comedy. I wish Barack would get back to his foundation of HOPE and the future and stay on course.. his message is important but is getting bogged down by this kind of stuff.. I support Barack but wouldn't want my son in a crowd listenening to that crappolla.. wise up campaign special event planners!!

    July 13, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. rachel

    I also want to add, that when DON IMUS called some women ho's he got it big time from the self appointed/media appointed speaker of all black people in america REV AL... Where is the outrage here Al? oh right its that double standard rearing its ugly head just like it did when obama got away with calling his grandma typical white person, while bill got nailed for saying Jesse jackson won south caroling and Hillary got nailed for saying LBJ had something to do with the civil rights movment also. As and African American female I am sick of the double standards and if mr obama really wants to stand for change he should come out and say that it is not okay for one to condem comments from someone else, yet other comments slide from someone else simply because they are the right color.

    July 13, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  20. Rick

    Those types of jokes are to be expected from Bernie Mac. Nobody in Obama's camp thought that the jokes would turn blue? Gimma a break. In the future, Obama may want to make sure that his friends performing to support him submit their acts to his campaign ahead of time so they can avoid such problems.

    July 13, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  21. 'Bama for Obama

    Really, now. I bet Barrack was just as suprised as everyone else when Bernie Mac made this joke. I mean, an accomplished comedian and actor should have known better. There was nothing Barrack should have had to say before hand to Mac. Common sense should have prevailed. If any of us would have been in Barrack's shoes that day, would we have handled it any different? Barrack tried to maintain dignity and not let things get out of control after obviously being stunned and dumbfound by this thoughtless joke. Way to help a brother, Mac. You should be very ashamed.

    July 13, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  22. no obama

    Don Imus says stuff like this and the obama crowd chases him away. when obama's crowd says stuff like this they terrorist fist bump him.

    why do real americans, hard working americans not vote for him? because he and his friends hate us. they want to talk to iran and let the government of iraq boss us around. america should rule the middle east with an iron fisy until we know that threat to america is over

    vote mccain 08!

    July 13, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  23. Tim E

    Maybe Bernie heard Jesse. Sounds like the same theme. I am so looking forward to Mothers' Day.

    July 13, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  24. Disgusted in Ohio

    So this is the window of what it's going to be like the next 4 years if Obama is elected, God help us...Being faced with 2 awful, terrible candidates, I can only hope their VP picks adds something to either ticket.

    July 13, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  25. Mark

    Have we become a nation of prudes? Pardon me, but I just woke up after a long sleep.

    July 13, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
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