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. Susan from Scotts Valley, CA

    Gary – You know he's not a Muslim. He's a devout Christian. You're just trying to stir things up and in the process you're suggesting that voters are ignorant and too stupid to learn the truth. I don't believe that.

    And all you folks throwing the flip-flop tagline around...Obama has not flipped as much as you'd like to suggest and not any more McCain.

    Obama's whole premise is that WE can change this country. It's not just up to the President or our Government for that matter to do this for us. His comments on black fathers and his comment to Jesse Jackson is right in line with that. It's Yes WE can. Not Yes I can.

    July 13, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  2. ANGIE

    well its nice to see someone that cares about people i think this is a big thing with fathers since obamas father did leave him i think hes a great caring person and gonna make a great president for ALL PEOPLE jesse jackson is just jealous!!!

    July 13, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. RJ, CA

    Obama should have talked about this very significant black issue during the primaries. But then he didn't have the guts, because he needed the 99.9% black vote! Now that he thinks he has them safely in his back pocket - NOW he talks about it - more political opportunism. And the beat goes on . . .

    July 13, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    It just floors me the small mindnesses of some.......
    Obama is correct in saying men need to be accountable to their children...and that is of all races...too many walk away as cowards, refusing to nuture the very life they had the privledge of creating...leaving many in void of what a father's love is; what it means to be resonsible to self,others, community, country and most importantly to God.
    I don't think this was calculated...I think Obama is sincere and wants our people to be whole so our nation is whole.....isn't that what we all want?

    July 13, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  5. al

    What can he say otherwise? He cannot say YES.

    On the other hand, all previous preacher candidates have failed to get the nomination or presidency.

    July 13, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  6. bill for barack

    It's refreshing to have a presidential candidate who believes in personal responsibility and moral standards and isn'tafraid to discuss them in direct terms.
    I have NEVER seen that from the Republicans.

    July 13, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  7. katiec

    Obama has hit the nail on the head in talking about families.

    Jesse Jackson is an egotistical headline seeking idiot.

    Just like the so called Democrats that say they will vote

    July 13, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  8. Chong

    I believe that Obama has a natural advantage that enables him to really understand the key issues related to both sides ( black and white american population ). As a result, he has the ability to grasp the main issues that are common to every American.....

    July 13, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  9. NY

    I guess his preachiness comes from being next to Pastor Jeremiah Wright for 20 odd years....

    July 13, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  10. randy

    Well i dont think that obama will get everything right.he said him salf.but he will always tell us the truth and belive me he is any honest man.but not on on perfect man.which none of us are.but the truth is all we want and he will always tell the truth.

    July 13, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. Kaz

    Obama is showing all the signs of a great leader. Obama may not be a perfect politician, but he is a better leader than any one we can remember. Obama is much stronger leader in every aspect than John McCain. We need a leader not a politician as usual.

    July 13, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  12. The Independent One

    borrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring. this is just a stupid article.

    July 13, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  13. Allison- Mclean, Va

    Obama wasn't talking down to anyone, he was encouraging all parents to take an active roll in their child's development. This is a very personal issue for Barrack considering he grew up without his father. He referred to the large percentage of African Americans who are raised in single parent homes to emphasis his point.

    Obama is absolutly right in believing that one of the president's many powers is the power of persuasion. If someone hears the president say "we need to be better parents" and people respond to that, why would anyone have a problem with that? Jackson is just jealous, and its pretty pathetic.

    July 13, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  14. Marie

    This is so not a story. But CNN is firmly committed to at least one Obama bash a day. Fareed's GPS that aired today was intelligent and informative.

    July 13, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  15. Lisa

    You can twist it and play it how you want to. Jesse Jackson never liked Obama, it doesn't have absolutely anything to do with what Obama said about black families. There are so many things that Barack has done to snub the African American community. He refused to go to the Black forum in Louisana and he snub Martin Luther King at his 40th year anniversary. Mccain and Hillary made it, Obama was too busy campaigning trying not to be considered as the black candidate. So get your facts together, if it makes you feel better to think Jesse Jackson didn't like Obama because of what he said about black families so be it. Jesse Jackson didn't like Obama before or after Father's Day, so stop calling him a hater because he's black and called Obama out for the crook he is.

    July 13, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  16. rico

    if you are a true supporter of obama these trifling recent events don't phase you. if you are a hater or a past hillary supporter, you hang on any reason you can find to discredit him. obama made himself into the man he is today. he wasn't born into money or given anything, snob or elite are labels that cannot stick for these very reasons. you can't talk down to people when you are speaking from experience in the subject matter.
    every person who has run and dropped out or is still running speaks of themselves as being president or discusses scenarios as if they were president, so stop trying to say that obama is different just because he addresses issues and mentions the office he is running for. like i said only his haters hang on these things

    July 13, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  17. randy

    As obama always say i am not on on pafect man but i will always tell you the truth.and truly he is an honest man.and for that he have my vote.

    July 13, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  18. PE

    Why are you so jealous, the Jesse Jackson's of the world? Admit it, you are soooo jealous of Barack Obama, it's sad and funny. It's interesting that when a white man speaks with confidence, he is intelligent, but when a black speaks with confidence (which isn't often enough), he is arrogant and a elitist......sounds like bunch of insecure black and white men. Get the hell over it....

    Perhaps you should consider therapy to get beyond your envy before you hurt yourself. Jealous is alive and well......And I bet you call yourselves CHRISTIANS too.

    July 13, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. Barry, Bronx, NY

    Aren't we always saying that the President should use his station as a "Bully Pulpit". So, now that we have someone who seems willing to actually do this,an dwhat do we do?
    We claim tha the is being "preachy", "arrogant", "full of himself", etc, etc.
    Obviously, McCain can talk crap all day long, and be labelled as being real, etc, etc. But, let Obama speak and all the negatives come at him.
    Can we say double-standard.
    But, hey it's par for the course. When you are Black, you have to be twice as good as the White guy, just to be considered to be half as good.

    July 13, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  20. Brandon Hillary PUMA for Mc Cain OH

    Hussein and Jackson what a pair–they were meant for each other.
    Maybe Hussein should pick Jackson as his running mate that would scare off a few more of those bitter gun touting religious people in those swing states that Hillary won by double digits......

    Oh but their votes dont matter according to him....we'll see.....

    July 13, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  21. PISTOFF Hillbilly

    He should be worried about is cote in favor of allowing the govmint tap YOUR phone without a warrant.

    Actions speak louder than words.

    July 13, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  22. CyberFerret52

    Barak Obama doesn't seem to understand that he, being an unknown doesn't have the same authority to speak out as people like Jessie Jackson or Bill Cosby.
    They have been with us for years and Cosby tragically lost his own son. Obama of course can speak of these things but, needs to be more respectful when he does.
    His "talking down", to people seems to be an ongoing theme in his campaign strategy.

    July 13, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |

    Mr Obama spoke at an African-American church on Father’s Day and took black absentee fathers to task for shirking their responsibilities.
    I think the timing was appropriate…..On father's day…….. I'm sorry Mr Jackson that is not coming down on Black men it is the truth…. ..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.”
    it is a Problem……. Now if you Mr Jackson have an agenda to discuss with black men feel free to so do .*****************TO LISA Jesse Jackson had a very close relationship with Bill Clinton, they were like best friends*********,LIKE 2 peas In a pot they both CHEATED on their WIVES!!! CASE CLOSED!!!! Obama 08/2012
    CNN 4th TRY plz post

    July 13, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  24. Texas Trail Dog




    July 13, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  25. Kristine

    He doesn't think he's preachy because he loves the sound of his own voice.

    July 13, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
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