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. Jesse is wrong

    MCR July 13th, 2008 12:48 pm ET

    Apparently, Obama is not relating to a significant percentage of "black people."

    He is more in tune with "a significant percentage of black people" than Jesse right now.

    July 13, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  2. Curtis

    Reading some of these comments sorta confirms my theory that there are many blacks who are not gung ho about Obama...reason being is that he's willing to tell the truth to ALL people. People don't want to hear the truth especially when it's something not positive. Black fathers are missing in children's lives. I'm a teacher and more than half of my students have NO relationship with their fathers. These guys are starving for adult male interaction. Why are some of you upset with Obama for saying the obvious truth. Especially you women...especially black women. It's no longer just a problem; it's an epidemic. No president can make people do right overnite, but one can inspire you to make a change and get on the right path. Obama is a great role model...he's there for his kids...he's intelligent...he plays basketball so he's athletic...he believes in bringing people together...how can one hate on that...unless you're a divisive person yourself. Jesse Jackson has done great things, but we all know the history now...illigitimate child....anti-semetic remarks...and now saying he wants to cut Obama's nuts off! Come on, from a REVEREND...that's crazy and if you support Jesse in those comments you're crazy too! I'm not a jesse jackson hater...i just think his time is over...sit down and let the people/candidates who are interested in representing EVERYBODY take the lead. Isn't that what MLK dreamed about? Obama sounding preachy because he wants black fathers to do better? Where's the logic in that kind of thinking? And one writer says she's waiting for McCAin to beat him so you can rejoice...Are you even concerned about this world or are you just concerned about your selfish wishes. I'm for Obama not because he's black, young, male, or democrat. I'm for Obama because of his philosophy and way of thinking. He's the ONLY one to have intelligent insight about the war in Iraq and denounce it when it was unpopular for him to be saying that in America. I guess that was too preachy too saying that the war would be a huge mistake! We need to wake up and blacks need to step it up! yeah i said it and I'm a black male myself. Obama is just like me...call an ace and ace and you'll get it from both sides. My white students say I cater to blacks because I' black and my black students say I'm an uncle Tom when I call them out too. It's about telling the truth and truth hurts! It's so kewl to be a part of the Obama Nation!

    July 13, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  3. Brian

    Roy said "I suggest the Rev refresh his biblical roots with Ephesians 4:29-32"

    I'd be willing to bet the so called Rev. has not picked up his Bible in years.

    July 13, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  4. Reality Check Richmond Virginia

    I love how thoughtful dialogue and a firm grasp of the english language is looked at as elitist. I guess people would rather have a monkey as president, so they can have a commander and cheif who doesn't talk over their heads?..........oh wait, we do.

    July 13, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. Impartial Jury

    I finally understand why Jackson made those comments about Obama. Obama's taking absentee fathers to task hit home with Jesse regarding his illegitimate child. It wasn't about talking down to black people, it was probably the conversation Jesse had with his wife about his love child after that speech. As they say a hit dog will holler. Jesse's Bed-stuy Barbershop: We Cut Sacks.

    July 13, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 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

    July 13, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. california

    go Obama!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2008 new America vote OBAMA

    July 13, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  8. Paula

    Jesse Jackson is out of control! Can we say that bigots come in every color and he's showing his true colors isn't he?

    Obama is right to say what he thinks about the absence of black men in their children's lives. Look around....I have several friends who don't get a dime, and their kids father's don't even visit. They removed themselves of the obligation and NO ONE seems to care. It is an issue that needs to be addressed in the community as a whole!

    July 13, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  9. Larry in TX

    If Obama is preaching, I say "amen."

    July 13, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  10. David

    Finally when a BLACK leader addresses an issue that many Americans feel needed to addressed, a BLACK public mouth who has NEVER been a BLACK leader criticizes a real leader's statement; and the racist folks who have always tried to make this the main issue of social injustice stand up for the idiot they have always disliked.

    Stupid folks, you are just plain stupid of you. You hate Senator Obama so much that you would defend Jackson, even when he is wrong.

    July 13, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  11. Seth

    This comment Jesse made was a honest opinion of the man that is trying to become president. He has every right rather on mic or private to state his opinion, I happen to agree with him. Obama speaks down to all people. I happen to be of latin heritage and I sure dont see this Obama representing our wonder USA. And these reporters have got to get it right any president who has served prior to Bush, are former presidents, not presidents. That is how it is stated so many time, it makes my blood boil. Besides its God who set those who will serve, and brings down who needs to be brought down. I believe in that so much I will vote accordingly.

    July 13, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  12. NoMccain

    Ask more questions people!
    Mccain wants to drill in ANWR. This is not a solution. Besides, there is no guarantee that the oil will even stay within the US.
    Obama offers us a chance to alter the course of human history in a better direction for everyone.

    July 13, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  13. NObama

    No worries about Obama becoming too preachy. There's not a religious belief in that man's body.

    July 13, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  14. ahorner

    Yeah, Obama is in love with himself!

    And that is one reason that we Hillary supporters will elect McCain!

    July 13, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  15. Griff

    Hard for anyone to disagree with you Obama... Your One Man, One Joke, not Vote.... You will learn super fast. Jackson thinks you would sell your past for a few coins.... So do I? 'If you thought it would go away'... But your past haunt you till the day you die...

    July 13, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  16. aware

    Give it up Obama! Your audacity is beyond belief! 😦

    You are the Democratic presumptive nominee and have no business preaching to anyone. If you want to go to seminary, seek ordination, be selected by a church and fulfill the obligations of a pastor, so be it. Otherwise, stick to your campaigning and leave the preaching to the Reverends.

    You are way out of line, and by the way you plagerized from Bill Cosby. You just have no moral center or core principles!

    July 13, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  17. Rational1

    Jesse is a little too sensitive on this one. Yes, we understand the systematic cause or "structural inadequacies", as Obama calls it, however, this is one thing people can control. Those absentee fathers could've controlled this before the conception. However, after conception, they CAN

    July 13, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  18. Another Columbia Grad

    As any black man in corporate America knows, whether it's a chief executive like Dick Parsons, Ken Chenault, E. Stanely Oneil, or others ....

    Barack, somebody is going to label you preachy, cocky, arrogant, condescending, aloof, bourgeois, elitist, distant, unapproachable, snobbish, intimidating, uppity, naive.

    Some of those will be white folks, some will be black folks ... some will be old folks ... some with be young folks.... some will be women ... some will be men. That's the price we pay for being black men that dare be progressive in our lives.

    You keep the faith. Stay strong and keep loving that good woman you've got by your side.

    24 years after your last day in office, Amerca will live out the true meaning of her creed.

    July 13, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  19. JJ

    I think most Americans believe that the problem with Sen. Obama is not so much that he is too preachy, but that he fails to practice what he preaches.

    July 13, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  20. Surge

    More pretend news manufactured by CNN to help Obama.

    July 13, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  21. Tanya Kujath

    He addressed things in today's society that needed to be addressed. There are things in the white race that need to be addresses also. I'm sure if Obama becomes President he will speak of those things as well. Jesse Jackson only accomplish a prime example of his rule in reverse racism. " We the Black Community can say what we want, but don't put us down or your Racist." DEMOCRATS UNITE!!!!!!!!!!

    July 13, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  22. STexas

    LT for Obama July 13th, 2008 1:04 pm ET

    Being an AA female, I agree with Obama

    Surprise, Surprise.

    July 13, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  23. TheTruthHurts

    Be enough of yourself so that people get a clear picture of the type of leader and leadership you will provide. Smooth the rough edges to win votes at the margin. That's for all politicians so the people won't be blindsided ever again like many were with George "Stubborn as I want to be" Bush.

    July 13, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  24. BV

    I know that this won't get printed but some of you are so mean. I get so sick of the negativity and the lack of basic understanding some people have.
    First off Timber, why do they have to release all that Jackson said? It was a bunch of filth. Do you get off on that?
    Lisa, when are you going to get it thru your thick skull> Senator Barack Obama DID NOT STEAL THE RACE FROM YOUR PRECOUS HILLARY. This is getting so old and it's a bunch of crap. And Lisa, if you were to read a bit you would find out that Senator Obama has done a lot in his time for community and is working on doing much more.
    Rachel, does it bother you that a half black man is better educated than yourself? You call someone a snob who has seen fit to educated themself?
    President Clinton had to start somewhere in helping the black community that you so elude too, so why do you resent Senator Obama for doing his part to help?
    AND Rachel, Senator Obama never at any time said that he had comtempt for anyone. You have tried very hard to make a point, but you have the facts very twisted. It may work on some, but those who have educated themselves (snobs) will see thru your attempt.
    Why is it that some of you think that he hates whites? Does that really make any sense at all? Do you mean that he hates a part of himself and a part of what his children represent?
    Some of this crap goes beyond making any sense at all.
    Now, I feel much better. Thank you.

    July 13, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  25. Ms. Sims

    @Jan From Boca Raton, Fl....its funny that the only thing you can say about Obama on whatever topic is something about Rev. Wright. We heard about it enough to the point we are sick of it. Wright isnt going to distract us from seeing the economy, war, and other crucial topics. We can go back and forth all day about Wright and it still isn't going to solve anything. We you can come up with a decent argument about his policies then we will listen.

    July 13, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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