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. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    Bernie, knew better than that. His weekday family TV show is actually better than that and is in the family setting.

    I am really surprised at him, I thought he would have had better sense.

    No Patty, it is not "par" for the course. Actually more people like Bernie's jokes, than not.

    It just wasn't the place or the time. But it does show that Obama has a wide variety of friends and can handle himself in any situation.
    So what we can count this as is a lesson learned.

    July 12, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  2. WestCoastMessenger

    Barack Obama can always use the crazy uncle defense that he used with Reverend Wright. Frankly though, the comment by Barack Obama himself, "I'm just messing with you" shows that Barack was not the least bit offended by Bernie Mac. He should denounce the words but if Bernie Mac continues to tell offensive jokes on behalf of the Obama campaign, then Obama should repudiate the man himself.
    Take Bernie Mac OFF the short list of possible VP candidates

    July 12, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  3. kelly WI

    Another typical good friend.

    July 12, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  4. NotFallingInLine.org

    Bernie Mac said what?!?!

    Step away from all this nonsense.

    Come declare your independence... Jefferson style!


    July 12, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  5. Hussein Is My Last Name

    Bernie Mac is just being Bernie Mac him and Imus should join together and go on a just say No to Ho tour what is a ho any way I was told it's a garden tool, Mr. Mac please get right this is a moment we have all been waiting for and we don't need your golf ball eyes to mess it up for us, get another hobby because comedy isn't for you anymore.

    July 12, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  6. Hispanic For McCain

    OBAMA is crying he make fun at everyone one else and when the Joke is on him he CRYING what a WHINER. He going down!!!!

    Hispanic for McCain!!!!

    July 12, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. Newsdiva

    Good Lord, it was just a joke...a bad one granted, but Barak didn't tell it. So this is a news story WHY?????

    July 12, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. Amarissa

    Mac is the common denominator in Obama's supporters. They insult women, they post vulgarities against anyone who is against their pressumptive candidate, they make fun of elderly women, etc. This is the type of people we will be getting if the messiah is elected. Wake up Democrats! there is still time to select another candidate!

    July 12, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  9. Rick

    Why are Bernie Mac's jokes getting all the coverage and nothing is printed about McCain changing the teams in his famous POW torture story from Green Bay to Pittsburg, either because he was in Pittsburg or because he is senile. Either way he is either lying or off the deep end.

    July 12, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  10. Pete

    Lighten up , America! It's only words!

    July 12, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  11. bush league

    Are you kidding me????? I mean, I'm a Barack supporter, but that guy belonged on the stage like Michael Brown belonged in charge of FEMA!!! I'm sorry Barack but YOU need to clean up your act. Anybody at that guys level needs to be far from your front line support. That kind of garbage is hard for me to ignore. And believe me, I ain't no prude. Get it together.

    July 12, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  12. Debby

    Patty – You sound dumber than Obama and Bernie Mac put together.

    July 12, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. JO

    Truth always hurts, doesn't it?

    July 12, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. Antoine

    This is a non-story. Bernie Mac hasn't been a factor since his show went off the air.

    July 12, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  15. Obama the Deceiver

    "Senstor Obama" – CNN you actually have a typo LOL

    July 12, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. somphar

    senator Obama.... not "senstor obama"

    July 12, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  17. Willy

    It was funny.

    July 12, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  18. Joe Regis

    Comic and tragedy are two different genres.

    Bernie did not remember where he was.

    He needs to contribute and we will do the rest.

    Go Obama go.

    Obama 08 & 12.

    July 12, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  19. Black Truth

    Nice Joke!! Obama lightin up it was a joke!

    Obama 08

    July 12, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  20. jonathan

    What, they're finally recognizing the blatant sexism and misogyny in this country?
    Obama supporters, especially in the press and the Democratic congress
    swept Hillary Clinton away with their constant and consistent sexism, Karl Rove style, and after all he taught them how, and NOW they have a problem hearing jokes about HOs?
    What ever.

    MEN ONLY ~

    July 12, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  21. mvdaog

    Lighten up its some funny stuff.... people got their diapers too tight. Cant hear a joke anymore, like they dont say 'ho' ever in their life either... cmon

    July 12, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  22. Belle2

    I suppose this is the attention-grabbing denouncement/apology of the day.

    BTW for all of you who would like an explanation of why I believe Obama is arrogant, here it is.

    1. Brushing Clinton off his shoulders among other gestures and mocking maneuvers (mocking denotes arrogance).
    2. Statements such as the "bitter" comment. It was not the word "bitter" that bothered me but the phrase "antipathy toward those who are different from them." The context is a group of his "elite" supporters want to know why he does not have more support among white, small-town America. I see no other interpretation but that he believes those people who he cannot convince to vote for him are bigots. This is arrogance-he is the one and only savior of the world.
    3. His denouncement of Rev Wright and his church (maybe this just means he is a hypocrite). Revs Wright, Jackson, Sharpton and others similar grew up in a cruel world. They, along with the Clintons and other leaders, paved the way for Obama. They deserve respect for their sacrifices even from those who disagree with their methods. Where do you believe Obama would be today if there had been no such leaders? I believe we would all still be living in an environment as horrendous as in the 60s.
    4. His grandmother was a typical white person. His grandmother paid for his tuition to private schools, probably to protect him from the prejudice she knew he would encounter in public schools. Do you believe he would have gone on to Harvard had his grandmother not cared about him? His mother was some kind of rebel without a cause and his father was AWOL. How dare he call her a "typical" anything?

    The list could go on and on but what is the point. You either have chosen not to see his defects or you already see them. He has taken advantage of all the sacrifices others have made for him then denounced and condemned them when it was to his advantage. He is not just arrogant; he is a jerk.

    July 12, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. Garee

    Keep puttin' that toohpaste back in that tube BO.

    July 12, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. Doug A, Richmond, VA

    I guess the organizers didn't think about the risk of a comedian at a Political event. Right about a day or two after Obama talked up to the women, here comes a comedian who undid all that.. Its time for comedians clean up their acts in general. There is too much of cussing and belittling women these days.

    July 12, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  25. David

    Good for Obama !! Just another example of this Senator's leadership ability, not afraid to say when something is wrong!! What a refreshing attitude!! Can't wait until January when Obama comes in and all the Bush people leave!!!

    July 12, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
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