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. dimitri

    BHO is a flake!!

    July 13, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. Pat

    The truth hurts, doesn't it Jesse? Why is it that in your eyes, blacks can do no wrong? Because Obama has the strength to call it as he sees it, and has experienced it, I guess you feel he must be put down. On the contrary, he is a role model that is much needed. As he has said himself, "I am not perfect". But some extremests out there think THEY ARE, and would never admit that any of their actions were wrong. Obama is on the right track! He may stumble, but will admit ,again, that he is not perfect and will try again to do it right. People accuse him of having big ears. Thank goodness! He sees and hears what is happening and listens to what we're saying. He will listen to the rest of the world and try to find solutions to the problems out there. They are waiting, and hoping that PRESIDENT OBAMA will bring back the US as a country that will lead the world to peace.

    July 13, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |

    Obama is simply being honest.......and the truth hurts !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 13, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  4. another whiner

    he's telling us what we need to hear,not just what we want to hear.he has done this from the beginning ,and that is why he will make a great president.sorry,didnt mean to whine.

    July 13, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  5. Sandra Kendrick

    I believe that Obama addressed the issue of the absentee African American father very realistically. One of the reasons that I respect him is that he speaks very openly about problems that need our attention. There are some that feel that others are to blame for the problems that the African American race suffer, but he tells the truth that it is our responsibility to love and care for our own children, that noone owes us anything. My hat goes off to him, because he doesn't
    back down when he knows that he is right. I chose him as my leader, because of his wisdom, his committment and his courage.

    July 13, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. not important

    Jesse Jackson is irrelevant. Barack Obama should not give any publicity to Jesse Jackson.

    July 13, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. California Voter

    Obama's style is that of a preacher . . and a good one at that. But does that make one a potentially good President of the United States . . I don't think so. Sounds good and looks good, but what has he really accomlished?? Beware of the wolf in sheep's clothing.

    July 13, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  8. Diing in Washington

    As part of the outreach program sponsored by my University, I taught at St. Laurel Elementary School in New Orleans before Katerina. I was shocked that many pupils did not know their fathers, or a male in their homes. I have never in my entire life ever expect to witness this. I had to speak to the University community about it. We as a society have to realize that it is a problem. Thanks God Senator Obama has the nerves to identified this problem. Now, he can washes his hands. It is upto individuals to deny it ,or appreciate the senator for calling attention to this rather compelling problem.
    Senator epitomizes the qualities of a good leader. Many things can be said about a leader, but identifying problem and rallying people to solve that problem is a rare gift. Good Luck America

    July 13, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. Florida voter

    It's true! What has Barack Obama done for the African-American community?

    July 13, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. Joe the Troll

    "PUMA! Obama will lose, fortunately, even if it means putting up with McCain for four years. Let's just hope the progressive Dems who get elected to Congress will have more guts than the current crop of wussies because we're going to need them to render grid lock until the next presidential election."

    Amazing! You don't like the Republican agenda, so you want a Democrat gridlock so that nothing can be accomplished for the next four years, yet you don't support the candidate whose stand is more liberal, and therefore presumably more to your taste.

    Does having a black President really scare you that much?

    July 13, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. Frank from Portland Oregon

    It's true. As a Billary supporter, It doesn't matter because I'm not voting Obama. Nader 2008!

    July 13, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  12. mike

    obama is not only for one race hes about bringing peolpe together.
    obama is black and white .we need to stop the fighting!!

    jess is all about hate and thats not what we want in America,

    we need to change old politics to something new " hope"

    i like hope
    and i like change

    jess is older and and is from a different generation,
    All his life hes been fighting and dividing people into two different categories.
    we are one people with the same organs in our body "the human race
    enough with all this back and forth..
    obama want unity not unfair people like jess who need to get out of politics and leave it to the new generation who is trying to lift us up and move the country forward.

    republicans for obama 08

    July 13, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. Independent White Woman For Obama

    Obama spoke at an African-American church on Father’s Day and took black absentee fathers to task for shirking their responsibilities.
    telling truths that are not only statistically correct, but also undeniably necessary for someone to have the will to discuss with the American
    People..........Mr Obama can relate to the situation his Father was missing in Action.......in other words He is speaking from the Heart!!
    Maggie -– Obama is getting on my nerves now. He keeps talking like if he is already president........It shows he cares about the future of stability of the American people.Children are our Future !!!
    LISA--Jesse Jackson had a very close relationship with Bill Clinton, they were like best friends, YEA and they both CHEATED on their Wives!!!!!


    July 13, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. obama=underhanded liar

    This low life will say anything to win. I hate you and pray that you die.

    July 13, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. Richardson for V.P

    No matter what you idiots think, this man is going to be the next president of the united states....

    8 years and strong

    obama 08-16

    July 13, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. VZ

    I don't get it. Why are people upset about Obama telling tell us something to help us? He is obviously trying to help America with his comments on fatherhood. Why would someone criticize that? Because you really don't support Obama and that's fine. We don't need you. Obama will be president and everyone should get use to it. It's nothing you can do to stop it.

    July 13, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  17. florida

    I am a Hillary supporter and I will not give my vote to Obama. I do not support the war, but I keep wondering if the reason why Obama did not vote for it was because he could not betray his muslim brothers.

    July 13, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. Ugheoke, Thomas

    Mcbush, McWar, McSame pls wait till 2040 if he can. today 9 more precious souls died in Afkhan just bcos of wrong ideas and fooliness of MaSame and McBush you want that to continue? or because they are not your love ones.
    OBAMA '08

    July 13, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  19. not for obama

    he shouldn't worry about it, he should just shut the heck up.

    July 13, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  20. George

    Note to Hillary fans
    We understand your feelings. But sabotaging the party convention and nominee will do nothing but create resentment against her that will be remembered in 2012. Also, it is starting to sound like an extended hissy fit. Hissy fits are supposed to be of short duration so I guess we have to invent a new word. How about Hilly fit?

    July 13, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  21. Tamara

    As an African American woman I am upset about Obama's comments. Obama has spoken to the Hispanics community begging for their votes. Explaining how he wants to help their community and find away to address the immigration issue. When speaking to the Jewish community he talks tough about Iran and how the US is Pro Isreal. However, he come into the Black community chasting ( or talking down) about the concerns in the community. Obama did not mention how he will address the disparity in the community.

    Everyone else seems to be under the bus so why not the black community and I guess he feel he has the vote of the Black community so he can distance himself and feel safe.

    I have been a Hillary supporter for sometime and he just seems to add daily to my conviction that she is the best choice for President.

    July 13, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  22. Shirley-Ohio

    And he shouldn't be worried, he is not too preachy.

    July 13, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  23. Blayze Kohime

    I think Obama may have been too preachy in his attempt to reach out to the far right religious nuts. However, as much as I'm uncomfortable with him specifying a race, its hard to ignore the statistics. It doesn't mean black people are bad fathers of course. The reason more black fathers do not support their children is that they ~can't~ support them. This stat is a symptom of the income differences between white and blacks and will fix itself when black people begin to be educated, trained, and paid like they deserve to be.

    July 13, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  24. Obama is a SMART dude

    Only one Muslim comment in this post. Thats good. The brother is a Christian and tells it like it is. I think he is GOD SENT.

    Lord, please when the Republicans try to rig the voting Machines burn their hands off. Thank you Lord. I know they will cover it up in the news. Just put that divine laser beam on 'em and show them whos boss. Amen.

    July 13, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  25. bumble bee

    I think it would be admirable if Sen. Obama took charge his Afghanistan Committee and finally did something he was elected to do in the senate. 9 Americans were killed today and he has done nothing to stop the Afghanistan War.

    July 13, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
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