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. PCS / North Carolina

    gary wroteJuly 13th, 2008 1:37 pm ET

    "he a black muslum talking to americans what do you expect."

    Lear to spell Muslim you idiot. He is a better Christian than you, who look down on religion and race. You are the prototype of GOP = the party of shame = the party of filthy rich = the party of NRA the new KKK = the party of FOX news = Rush, ann. coulter, Sean and the bigot O'Reily.

    July 13, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  2. jm from sc

    Just as McCain said Gramm does not speak for him, Rev. Wright does not speak for Obama.

    What Obama said on Father's Day was right on point. The only people offended are people who fell in that catagory. Jessie Jackson is just upset because he never got as close to the white house as Obama.

    July 13, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  3. Demagogue

    Obama is a real disappointment- he seemed so sincere at the start.
    But now it is obvious that he is just full of himself and arrogant.
    He believes in his own sense of superiority.

    The media just permits this man to be shamelessly self-impressed, and self-aggrandizing without commenting on it.

    And... he actually used his two children as a photo-op and to advance himself politically. No politician does THAT.

    Obama just says how he "got caught up in the moment". That shows how self-centered and self impressed he actually is. He forgets everything but his own ego.

    How low will he go just to win?

    July 13, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  4. multitaskin


    July 13, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  5. Sandra B

    I'm glad that Obama made the speech, it hit home. I hope that he keeps reminding them that it's really important to be a part of their children lives. As for Jesse Jackson, he doesn't know any better.

    And Mike don't HATE. It's not becoming.

    Obama 08

    July 13, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  6. melvin from Pa

    I think that Obama speaks the truth when it comes to this matter and I think its important for the president who is someone we look to for leadership to give us the good and the bad. Im 22 black and didnt grow up with a father and Obama hit it on the nose a problem thats prevalent in the black community. We need to take responsibilty and be in our childrens lives. He wasnt being snobby or rude but just telling us what we need to hear not what we want to hear. I havent followed any words or gotten any guidance from GW bush his whole 8 years and Ive soaked in so much knowledge for Obama and its only been 8 months.....O in the 08

    July 13, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  7. PCS / North Carolina

    Jan From Boca Raton, Fl wrote July 13th, 2008 12:32 pm ET

    "Of course Obama dosen't think he is too preachy, he learned from
    his mentor Rev. Wright"

    Yes Jan, being a 33yr old golf course manager makes you out of touch with reality. Do not spew hatred and try to divide our country. Your candidate lost the primary fair and square. If you want Roe vs Wade to be overturned, go ahead and vote for the Vietnam vet who voted against the GI bill, who voted against the VA hospitals getting funding in 2003, 2004, 2005 & 2006.

    July 13, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  8. California Gold

    This is not about Barack Obama. This is about Jesse Jackson.

    Jesse Jackson is a hypocrite. He is exactly the sort of father Barack Obama was criticizing. The Reverend Jackson fathered a child out of wedlock with one of his aides. Think that's the crux of the disgusting remarks he so comfortably uttered about how he wanted to cut off body parts of Senator Obama: Jesse Jackson is one of those fathers.

    Jesse Jackson also reminded the public what a perennial nuisance he has become. Last time he surfaced was Don Imus' racial slur where he inserted himself. The man is singlehandedly destroying whatever positive contributions he made to raise public awareness 30 and 40 years ago.

    July 13, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  9. RyanD.

    Obama hits the nail on the head again, just like his comments on rural white people voting based on "wedge issues" due to GOP scare tactics.

    But YET and STILL...Americans have a HUGE issue addressing their own shortcomings when its simply easier to point at others.

    Americans need to be ashamed of themselves...YOU and I put the country in the position its in...WE vote in the leaders, WE are given the choices...who elected these people? We did.

    Obama is a SMART, SMART man, and will be a breath of fresh air in the White House...a president who doesn't hide from us and is never scared to tell the truth.

    Obama 08'

    July 13, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  10. allmymarbles

    After Joe Lieberman, I am full up on sanctimony. We are going to vote for a president, not a priest or a rabbi. It would be nice if you stuck to the minor stuff like, the economy and the war. Looking down on us from your moral high ground is offensive, to say the least.

    July 13, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  11. Fishers, Indiana

    Hussein Obama better worry about everything because this Democrat is not voting for him.

    Beware of Barack Hussein Obama.

    July 13, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  12. US Soldier/college student

    Lol @ the deadbeat dads that are getting called out. Not only is Senator Obama completely right, but I commend his bravery for being honest with us. After the last eight years of us being constantly lied to and decieved, how can it NOT be refreshing to see a presidential hopeful who is honest with us about everything from economic, fiscal and military issues, but also social issues? He's not afraid to take a stance on something that he believes is right, and even if I did not agree with him I would think it was commendable. The fact that he is encouraging people to make the right moral and social decisions, however hard they are, is so nice to see.

    Another good thing is that he's simply telling us how it is and encouraging us to hold ourselves to a higher standard, instead of trying to legislate his opinion about a social issue to force it upon us.

    Anyways, I can't wait for January.

    Na na na na
    Na na na na
    Haaaa-eeeeeyyyyy Gooooodbye

    July 13, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  13. Step

    Just looking at some of the last comments, I think it really explains why Bush was elected the first time....and the second time. No wonder only educated ("intelligent") people want to vote for Obama. I hope for America's sake that there are enough of them in the country!

    July 13, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  14. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    Obama is not preachy, he sounds just like a lawyer trying to get a criminal such as a murderer or cartel head or a child molester of scott free. Being a lawyer is why he is so great at influencing people since he has been trained to convince that "Lawyer Truth" is the truth! Maybe politicians need to be preachers more than lawyers, the preachers have alot more integrity.

    July 13, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  15. aware

    Obama, the guy who thinks he can fool blacks and whites and every one in between with his obfuscating garbage has no moral center or core principles. He just has media based manipulation.

    Since when do potential presidents walk on the stage with nothing more than an obscene lust for power? Hitler comes to mind? 😦

    July 13, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  16. Connie

    Jesse Jackson was just envious that Senator Obama is going to be President. As far as all the uproar on Obama saying that parents and absent father needs to step up to the plate and take responsibility for the children they brought in to this world. This is what white people and the government have been saying for years, getting people off of welfare. Lets face it because a black man said it you all want to criticize him. To Lou Dobbs and all of you that have criticized him for saying the children of Americans also need to learn different languages.Think about it I am sure the person that said children should learn the computer was probity criticized then too,but look at how they need that tool now. Also I guess there are a lot of folks out there that does not know that foreign language is often required in high school and college.Law enforcement , nursing and many occupation often another language is a plus.Old white women for OBAMA 08.
    Connie from Indiana

    July 13, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  17. franco

    Hello American People!

    Obama delivered a speech to Hispanic leaders on july 8/2008, courting the Hispanic vote. So here is a report from Rasmussen Reports:

    "Voters Reject Obama's Call for Bilingualism"

    "Wednesday, July 09, 2008 Email to a Friend Advertisement

    Barack Obama said yesterday that “instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English,” Americans “need to make sure your child can speak Spanish.” A national telephone survey conducted last month by Rasmussen Reports found that U.S. voters overwhelmingly disagree with the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. (see video)

    Eighty-three percent (83%) place a higher priority on encouraging immigrants to speak English as their primary language. Just 13% take the opposite view and say it is more important for Americans to learn other languages."

    From Rasmussen Reports.

    You can see the "nice" video on youtube, just search Obama and bilingualism.

    July 13, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  18. TMA

    Thanks Obama... I think it is time our black fathers heard from a black father that it is time for them to step up to the plate... I think Rev. Jackson is entitled to his opinion...but opinion's are just like buttholes...everyone has one...regardless of how useless it might be.. President Obama, you keep pressing forward... Rev. Jackson's opinion is worth about as much as a dead goldfish... I love your style and grace and how you take this silly mess with a grain of salt. And for those of you who aren't aware (Ms. Hillary '08)... The democratic Primary is over... ::+::+NEWSFLASH – Hot off the Press+::+::+ HILLARY DIDN'T MAKE IT!!! SHE IS NOT THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE...

    July 13, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  19. William Courtland, Earth


    Hypnotism, conception...

    What is schizophrenia behind the moon?

    Can one dream of earth on the other side of the sun?

    July 13, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  20. Michael

    Unlike Great Britain, with it's distinction between the Prime Minister and the Queen, the U.S. combines the Head of State and Chief of State roles, placing both in the position of the country's President. This means the a key feature of the Presidency is the responsibility to promote national discourse about things we need to discuss (Even when they are difficult to face). While the news industry's focus on visually driven sensationalism for the sake of profit, and the average American's reading comprehension and reasoning levels limit how much of a meaningful discussion any U.S. President will be able to achieve in the next 20 years, I salute Obama's attempts to raise challenging points, and explicitly note that he is doing so to promote national debate rather than merely propose legislation. He is demonstrating an ability to perform a key feature of the Presidency at a level I have not seen in any President during my lifetime except Reagan (Who I did not like, but recognized as someone who also had this ability) and Kennedy (Who remains the only President I admired while he was in office). Keep it up!

    July 13, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  21. Eve

    Rachel.................. you are not black. I can tell by your comments. You tried too hard. You bashed Obama on both ends.

    July 13, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  22. Mark

    Can everyone on this board at least acknowledge that fatherless households have a negative impacy on our society? While the percentage is higher for African Americans, America as a whole has a very serious issue regarding absentee fathers irrespective of race.

    How is identifying a real issue considered condescending?

    And Lisa, you are nuts.

    July 13, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  23. yen

    How I wish all the churches "preach" about the problem every Sunday. It is hardly enough to talk about. It is a huge issue that everybody should talk about and be part of the solution. It is a major,major issue. It is our sons and daughters who are growing without the love and care of their twoParents.

    July 13, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  24. Tony

    I'm not likely to vote for Obama, but I'll tell you this...I admire his willingness to tell it like it is. If there's anything that many people in our culture do, it's take credit for things when they succeed and blame somebody else when things are bad...and many people are NOT able to accept responsiblity.

    Now all of a sudden, here comes Bill Cosby saying maybe black men that father 5 different children from 5 different women should be more responsible. Of course, it's true, Jesse and others won't hear of it.
    (And by the way, for ONCE, just ONCE I wish our society would hold Jackson and Sharpton to the same standard those two hold others...they've not once apologized for the Tawana Brawley, the Duke "rape" hoax, or other imaginary offenses).

    Obama is on to a basic truth here, and that is that decay often times starts on the inside and rots from within. Try this: watch some rap videos and list out the values you think they're suggesting...they're going to bring you right back around to sex, violence, revenge, etc....NOT higher values. Until black culture (and black men in particular) take ownership of their own culture, don't expect the rest of us to fawn over you and try to fix things. We'll work with you, but you have to do at least PART of it.

    July 13, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  25. janet, ohio

    What percentage of white fathers are absentee? Pretty high, I'd bet.

    July 13, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
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