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. Enlightened Voter

    There is something wrong with these people who are still touting Hillary, you people are obsessed. You forget all about her negativity, poorly run campaign, mismanaging her finances and yet you still want her to run this country. You people don't need Hillary, you need therapists. As for what Obama said, he was dead on right. Thanks Obama for always speaking the truth even if it hurts.

    July 13, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  2. Syl

    I believe now that we as AA need to pull together to make Barack Obama our pesident. Its time for change and unity in our communities!! And yes its also time that we except responsibilty for our AA Communities to make some must needed changes on how we see each other and how we can pull together to show our children how we as a community can do anything!!!

    Barack for President!!!

    July 13, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. Charlotte

    Obama is preachy, he wants to be MLK, and JFK all rolled into one. Nice try but it won't work. He does talk down to black people. It is important to not talk above those you are speaking to. I understand the need to improve race relations. Obama thinks he is the cure for all our woes and he is not. I will write Hillary on my ballot and hope for the best. I do not like either of the two remaining candidates and it has nothing to do with age or race.

    July 13, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  4. David Sattanni

    I'm white and my father wasn't around. Now, someone give me a percentage of how many white fathers weren't around. Stop segregating the U.S. of A Mr. Obama, and don't forget, you're 50% WHITE!

    July 13, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  5. white trash

    When the Republicans preach, it is called, "family values". When a Democrat calls for responsible fathers and wholesome families, it is called preaching.

    What is wrong with responsible, dedicated fathers, who are a force in their children lives, otherwise? We certainly have been brainwashed with Bush's values for eight years, his lust to destroy the environment for big money and for warring, a war that should have never happened. Now, here is an individual who desperately needed a strong preaching on kindergarten Ethics.

    Perhaps, it is time Americans were exposed to some deep, profound values that will make American families stronger and American lives better.

    July 13, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    Preachy? NO, NO, NO

    Lisa, I wouldn't say bill clinton did more for african-americans than Obama did in his whole life. First you must remember that there are more ethnic groups in America than just african-americans. And two , you must realize that bill clinton is almost at the age that he could be Obama's father.

    When bill got into problems with the monica thing, which actually got him impeached while he was in office. It was the black ministers that stood with him, yes even Rev. Wright.

    Obama is not saying anything differently that what Jackson said years ago, but with not so much as inclusiveness. Obama wants all fathers , who are not responsible with their children (no matter what their color is) to step up to the plate and be responsible.

    July 13, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. Terri

    Hate the message? Hate the messenger too? That's why Jesus was crucified. He brought into the conversation something we all hate.."The Truth". Barack Obama's message is not for the simple minded, and you can tell from whom the responses come.

    July 13, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  8. kelly WI

    If I remember right JJ is an absentee father.
    Does a black guy have to tell other blacks what is right? can't they think for themselves? guess not.
    That whole deal was a set up to gain more sympathy for Obama. To make him look like he is wise. lol. Jeez.
    Obama can preach anything he wants to. Doesn't mean it will be done.
    Apologizing for what? He gave Obama a gift.
    When Bill Cosby was out saying the same thing the JJs of the world were putting him down. After all JJ and gang have been trying to keep the AAs dependant on them for years. Thats how they make their money. Extortion and blackmail. PC be darned.

    July 13, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  9. Richard C

    Obama's speech on fatherhood was necessary. A lot of the black community doesn't like getting talked to in the way they were spoken to, but the lack of paternal support in the African-American community is atrocious and needs to be dealt with. Cosby and others started the fight, and Obama is 100% right in continuing it, and maybe as president he'll be able to tackle the problem better (although yes, there's no federal fix for it, it's just a matter of discussing it). At the very least, a white man couldn't do it without looking racist – look at what Obama's getting for talking about it.

    July 13, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  10. strange co-incidence

    It's interesting the way you see the same names post all in a row as soon as a topic opens up.
    As if there is an organized group of them just waiting around on computer all day for the chance to spew their anti-Obama message. They never have anything of substance to add just the same old "Obama is a poopy-head" type comments.

    Some of them claim to be Hillary supporters but they seem a lot more like Republicans here specifically to cause as much trouble as possible. It's sad that this is what the democratic process has come to – a campaign whose only strategy is to attack the other candidate because their own candidate can't get elected on his own merit.

    July 13, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  11. Malcolm Little

    Barack –

    Black men from Chicago are no more of a monolithic political group than anyone else. You and Jesse will not see eye to eye. The onus is on him to adapt to you, not for you to adapt to him.

    Based on his appologies this week, I think he gets that. Furthermore, the swift rebuke of his own son, I'm sure, drove the message home.

    You can be true to those struggling socially, economically, educationally, spiritually by making sure your example of a successful, well educated, up from your bootstraps, focused, married (to a fine sistah, I might add), loving father is lauded by folks like Jesse.

    Part II of that is to make sure the public education system and other social services pave the way for those from Anacostia, the Bronx, Watts, the South Side, etc. that have the RIGHT STUFF.

    Enable those that want to save them selves the opportunity to do so.

    July 13, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  12. Marv

    How anyone could say "Obama reminds me of George W." is really baffling. Their policies and style are like night and day.

    I love Obama's point about the effect a president can have on the country beyond governmental influence. Although McCain has proven himself to be a stand up guy, I sincerely question his ability to inspire Americans as a whole.

    July 13, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |

    Anybody notice that Clinton's charity work is all overseas?

    Nothing to help the poor and underprivileged in this country.


    July 13, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  14. LT for Obama

    Obama did not throw Rev Wright not Rev Jackson under the bus. They did it to him so he responded accordingly.

    Those of you who attack Obama for having a backbone were never going to vote for him no matter what he does so keep your insults and name calling to yourselves.

    Where was McCain's backbone when is top economist said that we are a nation of whiners? As far as I am concerned he is right, many of you are nothing but whiners. Grow up.

    July 13, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  15. Jenna Jameson

    Continue to find the good in people Barack and build on it.

    July 13, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  16. William, from Cali!

    Let it be known,I stand with Obama on this issue of "deadbeat" fathers; but there are some equally; "absent and missing in action", deadbeat mothers, out there too.

    July 13, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. sapple

    I think Obama is right in calling out absentee "black fathers". He speaks from experience. Therefore what he says on this issue holds weight. Trust Black America is not upset at Obama. The truth hurts. But sometimes, just sometimes you gotta here it. At least we are hearing from the next POTUS.

    Barack the VOTE.

    Obama 08

    Yes We Can!! I cant wait to attend the Democratic Convention!!!!!

    July 13, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. Glad to be an Independent

    Obama is right and is speaking from his own experience growing up without his father. He knows how much that hurts. it is a disgrace that too many men did not hesitate to have sex with women, but hesitate and neglect to be a father to their children. Some people are upset because Obama is speaking the truth about fatherless in many black communities. If you do not like it, then do something about to make a change. If you are an absent father, then stop being absent and take responsibility. If not , then you are a low-life and a disgrace.

    July 13, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. Jon

    Jane in CA. says we need a great family foundation ????? In Calif.? Give me a break. I know there are some with morals left in CA. but not many.

    July 13, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. Montana is Obama Country

    A friend does not speak ILL of another friend.

    JJ's talking to Fox Noise and making a statement such as he did is a dissappointment to black america and to Barack whom JJ said was "his Friend"..

    Friends don't say things behind backs.. Not a true firend – only an opportunist who is jealous of Barack's success.

    JJ has no credibility..... that's why JJ acts childish..no honor in friendship.

    July 13, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. LNJ , Houston

    The more I listen to Barrack, the more I realize that his visions for America are something that I share. I also like the fact, (and understand those who don't)..that he often talks more in terms of how to aproach an issue rather than saying exactly what he would do in every instatnce. That's the pit-fall of politics. People, mostly the media, insists that candidates box them in to a speciic position that they or anyone can immediately start dissecting to show the down-side of a particular position. I've never heard a media person point out to the public that all stances have a down-side. I think back on so many counselling sessions I've had with my kids where I focused more on how they aproached a problem, rather than telling them exactly what to do. it used to drive them crazy. But all my kids, who are now grown, thank me today for teaching them how to think. I'm comfortable with Barracks "generalities and I listen for how he frames an issue, and how he would aproach it rather than exactly what he would do.. When you approach an issue in the correct way, the quality of your decision is enhanced.

    July 13, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  22. Moon Maiden from Lake Michigan

    Obama is correct in what he said, however there are many fathers of other ethnic groups that are dead beats. The problem with that is they were never taught responsibility by their parents or parent.
    There are two important lessons we must teach our childern; Respect and Responsiblity
    Jessie Jackson needs to look at himself before speaking out against Obama.

    July 13, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  23. SusiePuma

    Obama may be right with his speech – that's great – thing is – it's been said before & much better by Bill Cosby. Obama is just continuing a trend that started with the candidate debates – he's always taking the credit for what someone else said and pretending that he said it first – LOL – without a teleprompter he can barely speak English – ROFLOL – and he thinks everyone should learn Spanish – learn to speak English first so you can think on your own and come up with your own ideas instead of stealing them from Hillary & others – of course, in his own words, he's a blank slate............................& empty suit – what a colossal joke being played on the American public –

    July 13, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  24. NotPayingHilaryDebt

    Jesse Jackson should return to the hole he was hiding in during the Primaries & remain there till the Election is Over

    July 13, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  25. Sue Jones

    Jesse nedds to add candidate of whine and candidate of change your mind to his list of what Obama needs to work on.

    July 13, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
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