July 13th, 2008
10:20 AM ET
6 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. Elziabeth Gallimore

    I am a fan of Bernie Mac, However, his "Joke" was inappropriate. He wasn't at the Apollo!

    July 12, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. Wayne

    You cannot be serious. Bernie Mac? This apologising for every thing we say that offends someone has gone far to far. Stop getting your panties in a bunch.

    The joke was funny, if not a little old, Barrack need to stand up for the people that support him. One of the reasons I will never vote for him.

    July 12, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. Raul S

    We need to lighten up, quit walking on egg shells.....

    July 12, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. greenfun

    CNN-why don't you ever post my comments. Is it because I am addressing the sexism that has been so prevalent in this election cycle?
    Is it because I am amazed that the misogyny has just been tolerated, and I am tired of waiting for leaders of the Democratic Party to express their outrage?
    Is it because I am not, was not, and never will be pro-Obama?

    July 12, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. Man

    This is very stupid, to want to censor a comedians jokes, this is Just the type of hipocritical thinking im against, He's against the american people being divided yet his attitude towards language shows one of a Dividing character

    July 12, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. joseph

    "Senstor Obama told Bernie Mac..." I think the editor in this story needs to clean up his/her act.

    July 12, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. Larry

    "Senstor Obama told Bernie Mac that he doesn't condone these statements and believes what was said was inappropriate," campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

    What is a Senstor? You are hacks CNN.

    July 12, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  8. barack fan

    i kind of feel bad for the dude. We all make mistakes. But is this really "news"

    July 12, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  9. Tom D.

    If – and that's an "if" that's getting bigger and bigger to me every day – he does become president, and he's surrounding himself with these kind of people now and apparently in the past, will the same type be advising him when and if he becomes president? Whew!

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

    I am dissapointed Obama would invite someone such as Bernie Mac for his opening. Even if he wasn't involved in the invitation, he's not in control of his own campaign if that wasn't his wish. We're at a point in this country where a presidental hopefull will have a comical offensive opening. If this is the type of presidency we can expect, and if he cannot control his campaign better than this, how will he control his presidency?

    July 12, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  11. Jerad H.

    I suppose that's what Bernie gets for thinking he could tell an off-color joke in front of all those politically correct libs.

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

    Ok, where's the outrage? A white man says hos on the radio and he catches Hades, a black man says hos at a presidential candidates fundraising event and all he gets is a light rebuke and a few jeers? What makes some things ok to say for certain races yet not for others? Some terms should not be spoken by any race.

    Imagine the outrage if we tried to have a miss white America pageant or united honky college fund. Racism and prejudices are still alive in this country, and it’s not coming from just one race, it’s coming from many races.

    Bernie Mac should be ashamed of himself, and Obama should too for not rebuking him stronger for using such a derogatory term against women!

    July 12, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. Tom D.

    sorry neglected to put on my email address.

    July 12, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. slm, Ity

    And by the way did i mention that he is Black ......................

    July 12, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  15. JayM

    More sexism from Campaign Obama. I guess the senator had no idea what kind of "comedy" Mac usually spews. Same way he had no knowledge of Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers, Fr. Pflager, etc.

    July 12, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  16. Joe

    Bernie Mac joins the likes of Chris Matthews, Andrea Mitchell, David Schuster and many others. It's OK to denigrate women. What kind of mothers did these people have?

    July 12, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  17. johny

    That's all about it with obama. He is striving to make it clean all the way. This is the reason why many black activists, including Jesse Jackson, think he is moralizing when talking about blacks. Barack is right, there is some need to clean up mainly on objectifying black women in clips and movies and foul public jokes.

    July 12, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  18. Selma

    Bernie Mac? Sounds like Bernie PC to me.

    July 12, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  19. CbH

    I feel Obama's pain. I have a friend that decided to take the microphone during my wedding, he was drunk. In five minutes he made three jokes that were extremely offensive to African-Americans. I took the microphone away from him and apoligized to the crowd. Needless to say, I hardly ever talk to him now, mostly out of respect to my wife, who happens to be African-American.

    July 12, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  20. Enzo

    There's a fine line between fundraising and prostitution....Maybe Mac should have substituted "hostesses" for "hos"

    July 12, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  21. Aries

    DISTASTEFUL

    July 12, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. Debbie

    Sorry, didn't get the joke.

    July 12, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. Dee Dee

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Good job Obama. As a black woman, I don't approve of those statements either. It's fine if you're at the Laugh Factory or some other private club, but not where there are kids and women who might be confused or offended. Sheesh Bernie Mac!

    July 12, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  24. Sara

    Good for Obama for rebuking Bernie Mac, alot of comedians need to start actually being funny, and stop being crude, and idiotic! Bernie Mac needs to start getting someone to write his joke for him, he is obviously losing it!!!

    July 12, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  25. Marie

    Seems like yet another questionable friend that Obama aligns himself with. I wonder if Obama is really a racist???? All these remarks comes from his close friends and then afterwards he tries to distance himself from them. I am an Obama supporter but I am beginning to wonder on his judgement of people. I won't change sides yet but I am getting the feeling he may not be a person for change for all but will still wait until August to make my final choice

    July 12, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
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