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)

    Blacks have tolerated the opinions of politicians since slavery. Obama said the right thing but some people can't handle the truth. His success has shocked the American society and turned our world upside down.

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

    First, he is criticized for not speaking on social issues enough... now criticized for speaking to much. He hasn't even come close to the family values preaching of the GOP.

    Obama has become the most over analyzed public figure in modern history. Every word he udders or even what brand of clothes he wears..

    Plus, it is astounding to see people take Rev. Jesse Jackson's side in reference to Family Values. A man who gave the same type speeches Obama gave before it was reveled that he fathered a child in an act of Adultery. Many of the people making these statements hated J: more than anything just a week ago.

    July 13, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. Joe M for HIllary

    Just over the wire that we've lost 9 soldiers. No, not in Iraq, but in Afghanistan. While this thread is about "preaching", it is, nevertheless, pertinent at this point in the campaign that in Iraq we're fighting the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time!

    As for Jesse Jackson, it's time he depart from the stage. Obama's right, of course, but it galls Jackson that the limelight is not on him anymore. I'd gently remind Obama that the importance of the "family unit" and "parental responsibility" extends to all fathers regarding of race or background.

    July 13, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |


    July 13, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |

    I have watched with interest all of the media coverage regarding
    Jessie Jackson, and Barack Obama. I have noticed that older Black males have not necessarily agreed with Jackson, but instead, made excuses for his statements about Obama by skirting around the issue. I agree, the issue of absent fathers is prevalent to all races, and maybe this fact should have been been mentioned in his speech. However, whether we as Black Americans want to accept this problem of absent fathers, we know that this is a serious problem in our community. I think the fact that Obama used the word "boy", when referring to some Black men was upsetting. I don't think that anything was wrong with what Obama said, and as for as Jackson is concerned, he needed tsome time in the spotlight. Jessie Jackson, as well as others, do not represent the views of the Black community, even though the media or someone has "appointed" them, "Leaders of the Black Community."

    July 13, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. McNo

    I cant wait to hear Obamas preachy speech in January's inauguration

    July 13, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  7. Lake Michigan

    Still don't know why so many people have a problem with his Father's Day speech. Come on, he is half black, he was speaking to a mostly black audience, not a press conference, and single parented chilldren is more of a problem for blacks, than other races. Yes it occurs in all races, but he was identifying with his audience and was 100% on point for everything he said. Wish the RNC would stop chasing phantoms.

    July 13, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. Timus

    Dems have not been the party of family values in the past. Remember how people attacked Dan Quayle for his comments about Murphy Brown having a baby out of wedlock? He was right and Obama is as well!!!

    July 13, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  9. Marge Hibbing Mn

    So again...any thing any body says negative about obama there's heck to pay...remember his supporters say he is never wrong. CULT LEADER.

    July 13, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  10. BeyondWhatWeSee

    I take the American People to a very high standard and expect them to be more courageous in facing the truth, especially in times of crisis like these.

    Barrack Obama is gift to America, and America has to take him at his just value and allow him a chance to help this troubled country.

    Good Bless America!!

    July 13, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  11. Sarah

    Absentee parents is an issue, no doubt. Education needs to start at home and in school. How many of these children with absentee fathers were born to teens? It is saddening that so many children grow up with out their fathers, but it is not the President's responsibility.
    Parenting is not in the job description.

    July 13, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  12. Rational1

    Jesse is a little too sensitive on this issue. Yes, most of us understand the root cause or "structural inadquecies" as Obama puts it. However, if the women can raise these children, so can the men. Only the weakest minds walk away from there seed, denying them the opportunity to benefit from both parents. Leaving them to search for who they are, causes a lot of them to spiral out of control, creating a continuous cycle of the same: gangs, drugs and crime, dropping out of school, more out of wedlock children, and shame to the communities. Those who fell prey to the societal structure, are children of the hopeless ones who gave up after MLK. The breaking up of families was a taught behavior by the early Americans. Unfortunately, a lot of them don't see this as such, giving way to a slave mentally hidden by popular trends and a lack of knowledge causing them to perish. Shameful but true.

    July 13, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  13. Michael, Oregon

    Jesse Jackson's just jealous Obama's doing what he never could. On his way to winning the presidency

    July 13, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  14. Jessy

    Obama is 100%right. He doesn't have to be a preacher but can be a good role modeled big brother.
    May be Jessy should learn from him rather than envy him.

    July 13, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  15. Teflon McCain

    How is it that everytime that an Obama Supporter says an offcolor remark.........it remains Headline news for wks, months!!!........McCain has had a horrible wk with "misspeaks" and amnesia of grand fortitude....yet, it goes uncovered??? Gramm and his "mental recession"?? in the news for how many seconds, minutes??

    I want to commend CNN for their 'superb' coverage. I dont know which is better.........YOU or the National Inquirer!!

    July 13, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  16. Allan

    Wake up America. No obama, no obama ,no obama.

    July 13, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  17. DeeJam - Los Angeles

    Good for you Obama! Don't back down. I am half black, half Puerto Rican and I completely agree with your speech at that church. We need to tell people that we support them in them supporting their families. Our government programs have made it hard to keep families together. These issue needs to be addressed. The only way to address it is to bring it up.Why is it that it's easier for a single mom to get help for her children than it is for a full family? It is not easy for black men. We have a lot of stereotypes and prejudices already built in against us. One day things will be better, but the country doesn't understand that the 'hood' has it's own rules. Until each person has enough courage to think for themselves, we will be in bad shape. It doesn't help that we use terms like "square" and "nerd" when someone does what's right. That's one of the issues we need to address. Hood mentality doesn't let you do what's right. How do we change that?

    July 13, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 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 plz POST 2ND TRy

    July 13, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. Surge

    Obama and his followers are afraid of the larger point that the likes of Jackson and Eric Dyson make. By chastising the black community on fathers day that their black men are irresponsible fathers it appeases absentee white fathers who weren't addressed and reinforces the stereotype of the AWOL black father. Their real concern is that Obama has chosen an 'either or' approach by not alluding the the societal conditions which have historically contributed to the AWOL black father dynamic. Why did he neglect to mention this? Pure politics. If he had held 'the system' even in part responsible he would have been effectively laying blame at the doorstep of a large part of his constituency which he needs to win: the heirs and owners of the system: white people.

    Everything Obama does is with politics in mind. Leaving his church, putting his children in front of the cameras, changing position on everything including public campaign finance. Nothing is a personal decision no matter how much he claims otherwise.

    July 13, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. fojohnson

    It is hard to hear the truth. I absolutely agree with Obama there are so many girls getting pregnant when they know quite well the men will not be able to care of the children or them. The children end up with their grand parents or end up in the street. Please people open your eyes the government does not need to be a hand out for for all the problem we greated. First go to school get yourself educated and take responsibilty. What about Jesse has he taken care of all the children he has. Either we like it or not the truth is the truth. At times when I see girls with children I just shake my heae and say what about your future.

    July 13, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  21. jessy

    Obama sure is a good role model, good preacher, citizen and is going to be a good president.

    July 13, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  22. Carol

    WRITE IN for HILLARY ! '08

    HILLARY '08

    July 13, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  23. Ted

    We need a President not a Preacher.

    July 13, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. Vig

    It's too bad Jesse Jackson had to whisper his opinions about Obama's sermonizing to the Black community after Jesse Jackson has spent a life time of committment mentoring, teaching, preaching and fighting the good fight. Perhaps he has some legitimate concerns about Obama not earning his place at the pulpit. Across the media, any critizism of Obama (this excludes Fox News) is immediately dismissed and the "in defense of Obama" narrative starts up. As they said in the movies: Houston we have a problem. And the problem is Obama has media immunity. Had do you determine what someone is really made of when you are always protecting them?

    July 13, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. Jonathan, Hartford, CT

    He's not too preachy....he's too conservative.

    Is Obama a Republican? A neocon?

    Obama is just plain tunelectable. the Right laughs at him. The Left cant's stand him. Middle Americans know that he is elitist. He wants Republicans on his dream cabinet while people in Ohio and Pennsylavania go without jobs.

    Yes, the super-delegates jumped the gun. This man is no Democrat. He is just a typical hack politician. A rookie.

    July 13, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
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