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. Preach On!

    Preach on, Senator Obama! The message might be tight, but it is right! There rarely is change without pain. We must take our medicine and get well instead of resisting it. Senator Obama is telling Afrrican Americans the truth. He knows what it is like to be desserted by a father.

    We, the African American community, need to stop letting our children have so much freedom, dating too early without chaperones. Young girls who get pregnant should be encouraged to give their babies up for adoption to young to middle-aged stable married couples instead of being given money to set up single-parent households. If these girls decide that they must keep their babies, they must finish high school and attend a least two years of college. Their babies need to see them studying, then they will develop the dersire to learrn from the baby bed.

    Two of the keys for any race or ethnic group's economic growth and social stability are a willingness to accept the concept of life-long education and waiting until marriage to become parents. Now, I have given my sermon. Amen. If you can not say "Amen", say ouch.

    July 13, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  2. NotFallingInLine.org

    Obama's talking down to Jesse Jackson now? So the presumptuous selectee either throws you under the bus or talks down to you.

    Now that's a choice that each and every American can take!

    Knoxville NFIL

    July 13, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Timber July 13th, 2008 12:33 pm ET

    Why is no media outlet releasing the full text of what Jesse Jackson said?! The media is so biased toward Obama.

    Timbber, the main point is that Jesse Jackson said that he'd "likew to chop his[Obama's] nuts off."

    July 13, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  4. Debby, NJ

    Let's Get Real Hear America:
    Why should the government countinue to pay for absent fathers being it any race...He is right on POINT here !!!

    July 13, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  5. Cynthia

    Senator Obama was on point with his comment about fathers being fathers and it not only applies to the black community. Anyone who thinks different is out of touch or maybe they have not been the kind of father that they should have been. In my opinion it is not being preachy – it is just telling it like it is.

    July 13, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. D from Ashburn, VA

    To all these Obama haters!

    Here is a person, who has moved folks to get engaged, who wants people be part of the change of everyday politics, who is not afraid of being in the "middle" to unite people and yet, you all seemed to be so much consumed by your either far "left" or "right" beliefs or even worse maybe just afraid of changing the system and having someone else than a "white male" run for president that you could not want to possible improve your situation today.

    If you want to continue the "superb internal and national politics, economic bliss and separatism" vote for McCain.

    July 13, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  7. The truth can hurt

    To Jan From Boca Raton, Fl, Timber, Lisa, rachel, and all of the other Obama hatters.

    When did speaking the truth become too preachy, snobbish, and how does speaking the truth make him in love with himself?

    If you don't like Obama then Fine go vote for Mccain, but stop posting these stupid comments.

    It;s a FACT that tooooo many kids are growing up without Fathers. I'm Glad Obama keeps telling us what we need to hear and not what we want to hear.

    July 13, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  8. Kyle

    Can Jesse Jackson be forced to publicly apologize and be ostracized from the broadcasting community now?

    July 13, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  9. Marj,Paso Robles, Cal

    BO is Wright.

    July 13, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  10. Dani Evans

    Maybe if any former candidates or presidents had taken and interest in this issue, we as a people would not be in the situation we are in now. We shouldn't be crying because we are being taken to task.

    As for Jesse who can respect him after all he has done? He should stay quiet.

    Although I won't be voting for Obama I do respect him.

    July 13, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  11. Fay Tx

    Maggie-– Obama is getting on my nerves now. He keeps talking like if he is already president.*****.Mr Obama is a concerned person
    I raised 4 children without a Father and their is nothing wrong with addressing the problem .....it has nothing to do with becoming President ........he spoke from the HEART !!! Just maybe on that particular Sunday he may have touched an absent FATHER

    July 13, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  12. Cheryl from Chicago

    Having been around both Mr. Jackson and Senator Obama a couple of times, I can say that Mr. Jackson finally has been called out. So he got caught saying what he secretly felt all along. His ego and jealous hearted traits are brought to light. I have long since been skeptical of his true colors anyway. And what did Obama say that was so wrong? That AA fathers create life, but fail to stay around to direct it.? Well, there is truth in that statement. My dear Jesse, it is my hope that you never have to deal with another 'hot MIke' because the networks will not call on you for your dated rhetoric. Oh yeah, next time you go to the men's room wash your hands!!!!!

    July 13, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  13. gregg

    baracade the vote... the throne room of heaven is awaiting,, seperation of the church and state,,, any one here remember the paper signed by a few people , about 230 years ago,,, want a king,, you just might have one,,,, write in HILLARY,,,,and sos....btw..cannot wait for DENVER,,, WAKE SUPER IDIOTS,,,, PUT THE BLAME ON MAME

    July 13, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  14. Billiam the Kid

    I'll say this much, to a point they are both right. But Jackson was wrong to criticize Obama because what he criticized was right. The problem is this is honestly a problem that should have been addressed a gneration ago. I as an AA man can affirm that most of my peers are taking care of their kids. Actually, it wasthe generation before mine that kind of slacked. Now that was due to many factors, drugs, Reagan's "war on drugs, etc. Many AA's of my generation are good fathers even if they are living morally wrong. i.e. selling drugs, etc. That is probably because most of them DIDN'T have that relationship with their fathers, so they know how important it is. It's a dual edged sword people, there needs to be more money poured into urban and rural communities alike. But there also is a point when self reliance, and responsibility have to kick in......Just my 2 cents......

    July 13, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  15. Patricia

    Jesse Jackson is in no position to advise anyone on moral issues. He had a child out of wedlock as a reverend. A 50% lack of fatherhood in any community is bad, especially for boys who need that role model in their lives. Let's get real, why are there so many young men in prison and on drugs? Wake up people we need to do better. If you are an African American and don't see anything wrong with this picture you are either dumb or racist.

    July 13, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 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 NOW 3x

    July 13, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  17. Carol

    As a white woman who raised her white kids while their delinquent white father skipped out of paying one dime of child support, I applaud Obama’s comments, but the issue is color blind. Deadbeats come in all colors. It’s the kids that suffer the most, financially and emotionally. Who better to speak out then someone who’s actually lived it. My sons also had their grandfather as a father figure, but deep down, it's not the same.

    July 13, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  18. Demarco

    The black community (of which i am a part ) has a lot of issues to deal with. However, we seem to get most angry when one of us stands up and states the obvious problems that need to be addressed as those it is hidden to others. I do understand Jesses feeling a little under the gun with having a child out of wedlock with one of his subordinates.

    Anyone see the threads and boards in regards to the RKelly trial/verdict? A good majority of the people on the board acted as thought the little girls did something wrong by coming forth against an individual who is known to prey on young girls with his fame and fortune. It seems that a good portion of the black community does not have the ability to critically think.

    July 13, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  19. MP- Pennsylvania

    Some family court judges make it impossible for father's to be present in thier children's life by being bias and unfair in support and custody cases. I agree with Obama about the importance of fathers in children's life but then some judges just get father's paying beyond their means and those father's have to do many jobs as possible to pay support and do not have time because of two-three jobs.

    There is structured inequality in many places, I agree Mr. Obama.

    July 13, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  20. Susan

    Jessie Jackson is so yesterday. Instead of encouraging Sen. Obama, he could not resist a jab. I felt it was jealousy that there is a new generation of young, black leader, who no longer will tolerate the poiltics of people like Jesse Jackson.

    July 13, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  21. The truth can hurt

    As an African American I can tell you for a fact that The Rev Jackson DOES NOT speak for all of us. Alot of us see him as a man who's mad because Sen Obama is now the spot light. I've always felt that Jackson wants to blame the problems in the AA community on the goverment. I see Obama as someone who's telling the AA comunity that we need to stand up and take responsibility for ourselves. Yes we need the Gov. to make changes in things like equal education etc, but we need to start with thee man in the mirror, and Obama asking us to make a change. Step 1: Fathers Take care of your children. If you can't then stop having them!!

    Obama - Keep telling us what we need to hear!!!!

    July 13, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  22. Perusing-through

    Too preachy??

    If anything there have NOT been enough sermons from the Commander-in-Chief position on a host of national issues. I'm not talking about prepared political speeches. I'm talking about the 'from-the-heart', authentic in-your-face sermons that motivate, inspire and move people to act.


    July 13, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  23. marcus

    idon't understand why cnn won't show my comment but then it's ok. change will be here soon. obama revolution

    July 13, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  24. wiser

    Hillary 2012! We need a thinker and a fighter!

    July 13, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  25. RSR

    Obama doesn't talk down to blacks...he talks down to everyone! Has there ever been a candidate with less quaifications who believed he was 'owed' the presidentcy more than Obama? And he says he's not an elitist? Obama has no more right (and experience) to be president than you or I.
    Vote...anyone except Obama.

    July 13, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
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