July 13th, 2008
05:30 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama not worried he's too preachy

Barack Obama says he does not worry about coming off as too preachy in his speeches.

Barack Obama says he does not worry about coming off as too preachy in his speeches.

SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) – Barack Obama says he hasn’t spoken to Rev. Jesse Jackson since the pastor was caught by an open mic saying that Obama is “talking down to black people,” and using a vulgar expression to vent his feelings about the candidate.

“I had spoken to him before, a few days before,” Obama told a gaggle of reporters aboard his campaign plane, “and we had actually discussed some of the concerns he had raised about my fatherhood speech.”

Obama spoke at an African-American church on Father’s Day and took black absentee fathers to task for shirking their responsibilities.

“I told [Jackson] that I absolutely believe that we have structural inequalities in this country that have to be dealt with,” said Obama. “We also have to recognize that there is a particular problem when more than a half of African-American children are growing up without a father in the house and often times not even knowing their father.”

“That is a problem and I won’t back up one bit in asserting that that’s a problem that we have to be honest about,” he added.

Asked how Jackson replied, Obama told CNN, “I think it would be hard for him to disagree with that since many of the things I have said are the things that he has said in the past.”

When a reporter remarked that bad fathering isn’t something that can be fixed by a federal policy, Obama responded that his June speech sparked a conversation and has given him “something of a bully pulpit.”

“I do think part of the role of president is to offer his or her opinions about critical issues, not all of which can be solved by government, but make a big difference in the quality of our society. That doesn’t mean that we’re going to solve these problems overnight, but I’d like to think that if a president says that something’s important, that some people might pay some attention.”

But does he worry about coming off as too preachy?


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (538 Responses)
  1. Mikey

    gary July 13th, 2008 1:37 pm ET

    he a black muslum talking to americans what do you expect.
    Gee, I heard a rumor that McCain is a White Muslim and is actually Bin Laden's brother. One stupid comment deserves another.

    July 13, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  2. David

    Wow – CNN is getting pretty stupid. So if he tells young African-American males that they need to get their act together, it's too preachy... So what's the alternative, not say anything at all?

    July 13, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  3. Tony

    By the way, for those of you who don't understand Obama's behavior, a couple of thoughts.

    First, there's a well-known saying that says something like "act like you're already in the job you aspire to"...Obama is just doing that.

    Second, to the extent that he can be a positive role model for young black men, I'm all for him doing so in a manner that is better for society as a whole. If any of you think by doing so he's not being "black" enough, or he's betrying his culture, etc., I'll call YOU a racist pure and simple. Values like honor, character, integrity and others are color blind, and simply appealing to one's better, inner nature is a good thing.

    Like I said in a previous comment, I'm not likely to vote for him, since I'm concerned about his lack of experience, and I think he's a lot of talk to this point. If he continues to bring up substantive plans to back up his appeals, I might be more predisposed to vote for him. But I will NEVER have a problem respecting a person who models the values that made this country great.

    July 13, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  4. Sandra B

    To jt, regarding other languages, are you aware that in most case you can earn a pretty nice differently pay when you can speak Spanish. And how do we expect our children to survive in a Global economy if they can't speak other languages. Have you paid attention to who the people are that does most of you import business, they sure aren't you typical English speaking person. Oh and those jobs usually pay big bucks.

    Learn a second language.

    Obama 08

    July 13, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  5. AJ

    Barak is the most arrogant candidate. He looks down upon rural American's..saying they are bitter and hold on to their religion and guns...Tells us that his grandmother is a TYPICAL white person..God FORBID, I ever said that the other way around !!! I agree with Jesse Jackson on this...He DOES talk down to people..Not just blacks!
    He disgusts me..I would never vote for him EVER!!

    July 13, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  6. Rick

    I guess CNN is full of political correct Nonsense. All leaning toward the NOBAMA wagon.

    July 13, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    There is nothing more painful than growing up without the love of a father.
    Obama knows that pain from experience and he is fighting for the children who don't have a voice. At the end of the day it is the child that matters and not politics. I am glad he is standing his ground like a real man should.

    July 13, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  8. Sandy

    Let's be clear: Jesse Jackson does not speak for all African Americans. He may think he does, but he does not. Sure he's done a lot for civil rights but the fact that he uses the title of Rev. but has fathered a child out of wedlock has lowered his stock value.

    What Mr. Obama spoke about on Father's Day and his speech to youth that they probably won't become a rap star or a star athlete was on point. What Mr. Obama said is the same thing most African Americans hear from their families and teachers. For Jesse Jackson to get angry about the Father's Day speech just goes to prove that a hit dol will holler.

    July 13, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  9. Patriotic

    We don't need an out of touch, arrogant, elitist preacher for President.

    McCain '08

    July 13, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  10. Hate to break it to you

    Obama is just emphasizing a point that has been a problem in mostly black communities and it's in others as well. I see no issue with him addressing it, no it can't be fixed by government, it's still has to be done by the individual, but I do think if there are more opportunities that are accessible to black men and other minorities that there will be some progress on this issue. But it's still starts from home in how that male child is raised and the values you instill in him and expose him to positive feedback that will ultimately allow him to be a responsible adult. Of course, Obama haters will still bring up Rev Wright, they hate him, and when you don't like someone, you spend more time spewing crap than talking about the real issues.

    July 13, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  11. Don

    If the only thing Rev. Jackson was addressing by his comment regarding Sen. Obama speaking down to African Americans (or however he put it) relates to fatherless children, then I have to agree with Sen. Obama in this instance. Have not watched TV news (other than local news) for quite a few months as I got fed up with having those pundits/analysts/experts tell me who I should be supporting, so I have not see Rev. Jackson's facial or body expressions and cannot form an opinion as to whether he was half joking and since from what I gather the entire video has not been shown it might be that Rev. Jackson was including other things than just the fatherless situation.

    In any case, as I say, this is a non-issue as far as I am concerned. There are many, many other reasons why I currentlyI will not be voting for Sen. Obama for President of the United States in November. Once he gets done with all of his flip-flopping I may actually find out where he stands on some issues and whether he really has any core principles or is simply like most other politicians and says what a politician has to say to get elected (nothing new in that kind of politics).

    July 13, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  12. Xavier

    Why do these pro-Hillary people keep saying that Obama stole the nomination? If so, then explain in detail to me how? I want facts here, not Hillary should have won tears. I want you to point out exactly how voter fraud took place. Don’t even bother with the whole Michigan and Florida spill. Facts are that even if Florida and Michigan had been counted exactly as Hillary wanted it, she still wouldn’t have had the numbers to catch up, much less overtake Obama. Besides, it was pathetic the way Hillary changed her views on the counting of Florida and Michigan votes when it suited her. She ran an arrogant and sorry excuse for a campaign, and didn’t get her act together till it was far too late. Besides, what is up with all this she was victim rhetoric? You all do a real disservice to Hillary by portraying her as a victim. I may not have supported her, but I have to admit she is one tough lady. She is nobody’s victim. Hillarie’s so called 18 Million supporters should all send her one dollar each so she can cover most of her debt. If you truly are her supporters you would.

    July 13, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  13. Big AL

    To all that care so much about the black community is very thoughtful, but to let all know is that there isn't a problem with Sen.Obama. The problem I have is with alot of closed minded people . If you believe that blacks can't think for themself you'll are completely wrong and very lost. I understand why so many people are surprise to see Sen.Obama beating Sen.Clinton because you have people that think blacks isn't capable.

    For a black man to reach the goals that Sen.Obama have reached isn't something to be taken lightly. Blacks in this country have came alone way and with hard work. Some of you'll don't know what hard work is and they have done it without help from people that think that they are better them. But beside the point, blacks have gave alot to this country including there lives. If you like it or not and they have been taken for granted a very long time.

    It's time for all of us to look at others and respect them like we would like to be respected. If we don't understand that? We as a nation would set the struggle that our fathers have fought and die for, back 100 years. But the one thing that our fathers wished and prayed for is for us to be AS ONE........ One Nation........ When we come together we are so powerful and strong. If there is something that we can learn from the past is that "Hate" don't bring us together, it just divied us. And by been divied, we will fell........

    July 13, 2008 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
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