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. Shame ON YOU!!!!!

    The Obama campaign said Mac's joke was inappropriate.......Jessie Jackson .......now Bernie Mac is a commedian wrong joke ........no EXCUSE for REV

    July 12, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  2. Vern Bartlett

    Rightfully, Don Imus was dragged through the mud, vilified and finally fired for his remark, and all Obama cab do is slap his clown on the wrist. Mac's "joke" was not a slip or a misspeak, it was a statement about his character, he has got to be thrown overboard for it.

    July 12, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  3. An American Whiner


    McCain subs Steelers for Packers in POW tale

    Republican John McCain was campaigning in Pennsylvania, and ABC's Jake Tapper says that could be why he substituted the Pittsburgh Steelers for the Green Bay Packers in a poignant tale about his incarceration in a Hanoi prison during the Vietnam war.

    Tapper cites three instances of McCain talking about how he named the starting lineup of the Packers when he was being interrogated and tortured - in his 1999 book, Faith of My Fathers; in a CNN interview about a 2005 movie of the book, and the same year in a Newsweek article opposing use of torture.

    "Either it's a distasteful pander or a strange goof, and neither option is particularly appealing for a story about an episode of heroism that few of us could match," Tapper concludes.

    USA TODAY's Kathy Kiely says it's highly unlikely the Steelers would have been on McCain's radar screen back then. "The team's record in 1967, the year McCain was shot down, was 4-9-1. The year after it was 2-11-1. Those Super Bowls were a long way off," says Kathy, whose father, Ed, was the Steelers' longtime public relations director. Here's a link to the team record over the years.

    McCain's campaign declined to respond on the record.


    July 12, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  4. greenfun

    Seriously, this is extremely offensive, and doesn't inspire me with confidence since this is another one of Obama's "great friends".

    July 12, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    that was a great joke. so much for free speech

    July 12, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  6. Former Obama Supporter

    Obama. Always a day late and a dollar short.

    July 12, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  7. SUE, Michigan

    What an idiot! To go to a campaign event where there may have been young people, and talk like the worst of the street thugs can only hurt Obama. What was he thinking? This is a friend??? I don't care if this is SOP in night clubs...it isn't OK in mainstream America, and hopefully, never will be.

    July 12, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  8. Josue

    Bernie Mac should have known better. Some people just don't get it. Save those jokes for the clubs or strips.

    July 12, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  9. Vi

    Do we want a president who will speak one way to one group of people and another way to others? "Hi Hillary...by the way, I'm jusr messing with you, man."

    July 12, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  10. greenfun

    Are people still wondering if there really was sexism in this election cycle?

    July 12, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I have never heard a comedian that could "cleanup" his act for anybody. That's why they are called comedians, but it was inappropriate.

    July 12, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. John

    Bernie...Don't call women "HOES"...I am just messing with you..:-)

    July 12, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. pakuna

    ALL Hail The Great and Powerful OBAMA. Obama needs to clean up his act what he said: "It's not surprising that they get bitter, that they cling to guns, or religion, or antipathy to people who aren't like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." He was not joking when he said this. At least Mac was telling a joke. Obama and His Great foreign leadership he says he will bring. I can not stop laughing he hasn't even gone to Europe yet and they are screaming. Pakistani protesters burn a U.S. flag to condemn Obama's remarks, in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday. and the Germans don't want him. All Hail the Great and Powerful OBAMA

    July 12, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  14. SusiePuma

    Is he gonna toss ole Bernie under the bus too? If he does, keep him at the other end or I might have to let him know that I don't understand the "black culture" and misogyny is misogyny whether it's directed to white women or black women & it needs to stop – now................

    July 12, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. John

    Hey Al Sharpton!!!

    Why don't you get his as fired like you did Don Imus for a similar remark?? Of course you won't because he's a bro – right? Who's the racist now??

    July 12, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. Rasheed

    Now even comedians are under the microscope. What have we become during this election that even comedians jokes are taking too serious. This is just getting out of hand. When you have to start condemning a comedian for a joke then you know you're going to have a hard time winning.

    July 12, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. JP, Winnipeg MB

    Obama needs to stay away from these kinds of people. Oh ya! On your next fund raise please don't forget to invite Dave Chapel.

    July 12, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. jeff - Dallas

    What is it about people in the public eye that they just don't get it? How can they not understand that everything they say will be scrutinized by the public and may reflect badly on themselves, someone that they represent, or both?

    July 12, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  19. robert fusfeld

    just another two-bit, cheap reptile who the senator calls friend. i have voted for the democratic party since 1968 when i was first allowed the right to pull the lever. no way will i vote for obama and if he brings hilary the bilary along for the ride i will definitely not vote for them. this is the best my party could advance in so important an election. i thought they learned the lesson with spineless john kerry. now we have a medicine show barker who thinks clowns like iran's president, jeremy wright, and bernie puke are cool. amerika is gettin' what it so well deserves. poor john mccain.

    July 12, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  20. Bond_Dallas

    Why does he have to talk foul at such an event. He should have had Cedric the entertainer instead of Bernie Mac. Just giving black people a bad stereotype.

    July 12, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. Jim

    I am sure that CNN will keep this story alive for a week yet never did mention the article in the LA Times about John and Cindy McCain and "how not to end a first marraige"..............

    July 12, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. I miss Hillary

    How tasteless of Mr. Mac. I remember not too long ago when Oprah tried to shove him (Bernie Mac) down her audience's throat as the funniest commedian alive. I still don't understand it.

    July 12, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  23. Linda31

    Is this really a ticker story????? How are the library being ticketed for have a McCain -Bush sign or Bush saying that climate issues will have to be dealt with the new Pres.?

    July 12, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  24. Jane

    This is further proof of Obama's lack of judgement. He surrounds himself with sexists and racists.

    July 12, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  25. u_spam_me

    If he can't be firm with bernie mac that he was serious about his criticisim, and bernie mac is no more than a comedian celebrity, then I can't see him as the next president of this country.

    July 12, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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