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. Mike in NYC

    "I told [Jackson] that I absolutely believe that we have structural inequalities in this country that have to be dealt with...”

    He’s not talking about a "structural" inequality here. It’s a failure of the black community itself.

    Nia wrote:

    "I think this is a problem for all races, not just the black race."

    Please note:

    black illegitimacy rate = +70%
    hispanic illegitimacy rate = 45%
    white illegitimacy rate = 28%

    The differences among groups are significant, and point to differences in group behavior.

    July 13, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. He's special

    Obama will heal this nation right after he rides into the White House on a white donkey.

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

    But what about all the white unwed mothers in this country which is greater than the number of black unwed mothers ... why doesn't he speak to this? ... he is pandering for votes.

    July 13, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  4. John

    What is Obama purposing for the black community other then trying to talk down on it. Has he met with black leaders or do he plan to? Is he involving black leaders in his administration. Jesse Jackson has a point.

    July 13, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  5. Josh, NY

    How can The Messiah be too preachy? Obama is the risen Christ and we all prostrate ourselves at his feet. He can do no wrong and he knows it. We are saved by Obama, our Savoir.

    July 13, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. Matt

    I miss the original Obama who at least knew how to cover up his arrogance more effectively. The guy's ego really shows through now, and he really needs to learn to cover it up a little more. I think that's why people like Jesse Jackson get frustrated, granted Jesse is pretty arrogant himself.

    I think he has the potential to be a great president, no doubt on that, but he's gotta' watch his original speech at the democratic national convention again and act more humbled by how quickly he's ascending to the presidency. That's why people liked him origially, because he seemed so genuine, like such an underdog.

    Now he's got this big huge stadium thing and everything. It's gotten too obnoxious, but then again it'll probably work so – I guess he knows what he's doing.

    July 13, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. E.C.Coleman

    Obama should be worried.........because at the rate he's going he will never be President because he's so unqualified and inexperienced. Also, Obama has clearly made some real mistakes by flip-flopping and has misspoken many times in his speeches. Voters still do NOT know this man or anything about him. Barack Hussein Obama is a real living product of Madison Avenue Marketing and a huge Advertising Campaign. Obama would be not be as far along as he is if it were not for such professional help. He surely can't rest on a list of achievements of the past or experience because there are NO Achievements of the Past!

    July 13, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. Dianne Smith

    I would love to know what you are all afraid of?? Is it his skin color or the fact that hes looking to make a change in OUR society? Too Preachy?? I dont think so.. The man makes a good point. We need to change, our society is going to hell in a handbasket. For once Be QUIET, and Just LISTEN! You might just learn something!

    Obama 2008!!!

    July 13, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. sarah

    obama does not allow anyone to disagree with him. if someone does his supporters and his campaign call them a racist.

    July 13, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  10. Pepou

    Considering that J. Jackson has fathered children out of wedlock he is the one who should have his ,.... cut. Or to put it another way, he is a numnut.

    July 13, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. Dib

    It is a shame when people are down grading Sen. Obama, for making a point of many are aol from their families. Rev. Jesse Jackson wants us to blame the government. Responsibilty is the answer. Sen. Obama, knows very well about growing up without a father in his life. Instead of down grading the man, you should actually be listening to what the man says.

    July 13, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  12. marty from Indiana

    Good for him. It is my understanding he has made these type of adminitions to the black community in the past before he was running for President, so it is something he feels strongly about. It is good that a President shows us the higher moral ground and encourages the nation to "step up." Great leaders do that. No other politician could made these statements to the black community, but because he is biracial, and respected by the black community, he can. We need the bully pulpit. And he was correct in what he said. Boys and girls do need fathers who are at home shouldering their responsibilities.

    July 13, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |

    Remember when Bush said that steriods is ruining the integrity of MLB. Well, Obama did the same thing on Fathers Day. He expressed his own opinion to the public.

    July 13, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  14. Chong

    As a professional helper, I believe that counseling could be helpful ... For, are ww open to this process...

    July 13, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  15. Lim

    Other than the color of his skin, what else does Obama have
    in common with African Americans who are descendants of
    American slaves?

    July 13, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. Tanya Kujath

    Gary: Contempt prior to investigation can leave a man in everlasting ignorance.

    July 13, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  17. JforObama

    I agree with LT for Obama. Here we have McCain joking about killing off Iranians – this is definitely regretful.

    To Jt: How do you know Obama doesn't speak any other languages? Do you know him personally? Whatever!

    Bulldog: you are right on it when you said – the GOP critizes Obama over Rev. Wright and says Obama must share the views of Rev Wright because he is a friend. Meanwhile, when McCain's economic advisor and "close" friend says something that is against the American people – now McCain speaks for hisself. This is totally rediculous – get a life McCainians!

    July 13, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. Democrats First

    'A hit dog will holler.'

    Jesse's reaction is pure guilt, because he does not see his OWN child he had with his mistress. His reaction to Obama's speech is ridiculous, especially knowing that this is a HUGE problem in the black community. I know that not only black fathers disappear, but this seems to be a larger problem in the black community.

    Obama was right, plane and simple.


    Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton strongly support Barack Obama. Get out of your feelings and stop with this foolishness. What are you, twelve?

    July 13, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  19. w.l. jones

    I am at least six generation American who were born colorded and still colored and only seen in my three score and ten plus years no more than a half dozen Afro-American in my life time. If those who dont concerter themself American leave we dont need you all over here. Have a bless day.

    July 13, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  20. Steve

    Rational, logical, straightforward; Obama. Gosh, it would be nice to have a president like that.

    July 13, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  21. trudy

    Arisona you are so right , we had anaff lies from Busch an Mc Cain , for some reason the Rebuplican hate the Truths . i said 8 years ago .if Bush is electet. this Country will be in the biggest mess the ever sean .i was right ,an if Mc Cain winn .at will be much worse then right now , he has lost all his Marble upstairs . remember when he said , ill veto every Beer that comes across my Desk . you People are blind .if you vote for the second Idiot for President . or maybe you all are the idiots

    July 13, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |

    Jesse Jackson is jealous of Obama. Some folks just can't handle the truth! Barack's success has shocked the American society and it has turned our world upside down.

    July 13, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  23. Amy

    This guy divided America more than anyone else before. And he is still incapable to prove he will be able to run as President.

    Don't forget he is just the presumptive nominee. The nominee will be elected at the Convention. How stupid can Americans be?

    July 13, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  24. Kevin

    He wants more fathers in homes, but wants to expand the welfare and the welfare state which encourages instability in families?

    July 13, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Wow someone is jealous their candidate is losing or lost. Sorry had to say it. The truth is out there open your eyes.

    Obama "08"

    July 13, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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