August 1st, 2008
01:40 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama hecklers accuse him of neglecting black community

Obama was greeted by hecklers at a Florida event Friday.
Obama was greeted by hecklers at a Florida event Friday.


ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (CNN) –
Three young African-American protestors, and two white women, interrupted Barack Obama at an economic town hall in Florida Friday, accusing the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee of neglecting the black community.

Watch: Hecklers interrupt Obama event

The protestors - who held a sign reading "What About the Black Community, Obama?" – said the Illinois senator had not been active enough on issues of interest to African-Americans, ranging from the impact of subprime mortgages to the shooting of Sean Bell and the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina.

Obama urged the audience – which began to boo the hecklers – to calm down, before addressing one of the men directly. “I think you’re misinformed. Everything you mentioned I did speak about,” he said, listing legislative initiatives and statements on those issues as the men continued to shout at him and the crowd began to chant “Yes, We Can,” the Obama campaign’s cheer.

“On each issue I’ve spoken out. I may not have spoken out the way you wanted me to speak out - I understand, but…hold on a second,” said Obama. “What I’m saying is, what I’m suggesting is on each of these issues I’ve spoken out….The one thing I think is important is that we’re respecting each other and the way we’ll solve our problems…is if all of us come together, black, white, Hispanic, Asian-American.”


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (340 Responses)
  1. VictoriaJane

    To those hecklers, instead of asking what about "me, me, me" (referring to the black man) why not rally behind the man (Obama) who will address EVERYBODY's issues once he is president. Thats what I love about Obama, he is concerned about issues that affect EVERYBODY, not just the black community.... To comment about the ads that McCain has put out comparing Obama to Paris Hilton and Brit Spears, well it just goes to show that the McCain camp is SO desperate now. But you know what, Obama does have that quality about him that when he speaks or walks into a room he gets my attention. Worldwide also. I could not believe it when I saw those images of him (Obama) in Europe in front of huge crowds and meeting with World leaders. But when McCain starts to talk or I see him...well, I just get bored. McCain is just a boring OLD man.

    August 1, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  2. carolflowery

    I have not seen hecklers thrown out of john mccain's town hall meetings, i have seen them thrown out when he was just giving a speech, big difference, but i could have missed it, also you might
    know these hecklers are thrown out during senater hearings

    August 1, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  3. La Chatte, Portland, OR

    The black community had an awesome supporter in Hillary Clinton, but chose to flip to Obama for one reason. Oops. Wrong. Obama cares about himself and his image. He not only doesn't really give a rip about blacks, he doesn't give a rip about anything except getting elected. He's not really black, people! He's green and arrogant and it shows. It rally ain't about race; it's all about competence– and he doesn't have any. When Jesse Jackson can't stand him, there's a reason!

    Thanks to all the idiots out there who think big rallies and hot air make a president, we're all going to live with John McCain for four years. I'm about to go from just refusing to vote to supporting him. It's a fine state of affairs when John McNuball is the better (or is that least reprehensible?) choice.

    PUMA. OUTSOURCE THE PRESIDENCY!

    August 1, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  4. rachae

    Hillary only showed up because she was so behind in the poles with the black community. I am so glad she is gone and I hope he doesn't pick her. Obama isn't a civil rights leader, he is running for president of all people.

    August 1, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  5. Dr. Willie

    Hmmm.... It's interesting that they (the hecklers) used the same talking points that Ralph Nader used on Meet the Press with Tim Russert when he announced his bid to join the presidential race.. Go back and check the tape. You will be surprised. I have been following the candidates every move and this was an easy one. Ralph Nader should be ashamed of himself. You have got to do better than this, Ralph.

    Dr. Willie

    August 1, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  6. Boston For OBAMA

    Obama handled this quite well. The hecklers could also attend McCain's visit to ask these same questions.

    August 1, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  7. T. Rogers

    I would not be surprised if this was another paid divide and conquer
    tactic by the republicans. DEMOCRATS UNITE!!!
    Obama 08. He handled it brilliantly. You see how fast the hecklers
    came to their senses and sat down before they look like total plants.

    August 1, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. Kimberly from Houston, TX

    This post is shameful. Being an AA woman myself, these are question that should be asked of ALL Presidential candidates and Presidents.

    It is unfair and uncontionable to expect that because Barack is of similar ethnicity, he should be more accountable

    August 1, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  9. Maadmax

    Again, Obama leads by example. Not only didn't he have these hecklers removed, he directly addressed their issues, one on one. The fact that they were still persistant in their antics even after their issues were addressed ,only draws question as to who put them up to this, my guest is "The Republicans", who else?

    August 1, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  10. mike s.

    Interesting that this gets press, yet the constant "heckling" that Sen. Clinton got - including punk males holding up "iron my shirt" signs while she was speaking - got virtually no attention!

    PUMA.

    McCain '08

    August 1, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. courtney griffith

    People need to stop thinking it is all about them. Let Obama get in the door. If he is centered to much to the left, ignorant people are going to say he is centered more the left if he says one thing. Can people stop calling Obama and any other African Americans cry babies? We have fought 400 years of oppression, discrimination, and lack of support and we keep moving. Obama brushes his shoulders off each time one of you throughs daggers and says, " lets stop stopping each time someone says something stupid," That is not crying. Also, as far as playing the race car, don't deal it out!! What's wrong with Obama making a joke about the stupid jokes and comments people make, they call him Osama, or Obama's babies mama, and he jokes about it. Is that crying. Get your head out your -!!! McCain jokes about his age. SO WHAT!! LET'S FOCUS ON THE ISSUES!!

    August 1, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  12. still a Repub

    for those attacking McCain on Katrina, as a person from the area damaged i have seen him (in person) address the issues of emergency preparedness, and his plan makes more since than obama's. if you were an eye-witness to the events, you would know that private agencies were more effective than the government simply because there is no red tape in the way of their actions. that is why mccain wants to make private agencies have more involvement in the immediate recovery of emergency areas.

    and as a white man, who lost his home to the storm, this is not just a black issue, but as others have said an american issue.

    August 1, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. Martha Hussein Baker for Barack

    Please everyone, let's get together and get this wonderful man elected so he can help ALL of us. Don't give the slimy GOP slander machine any ammunition. They are losing big time and will latch on to anything negative, Remember our goal is to save our country.

    YES WE CAN!

    OBAMA '08

    August 1, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. selected not elected

    Obama will lose this election for us democrats...

    Thanks to Oprah and Caroline, the celebrity bandwagon, the left wingers, the Move On organizers, the African Americans who threatened to boycott, the hateful youth, the pandering DNC, the capitulating Superdelegates and the awed-by- Obama Media.

    Next time- stay out of it. Let the people vote. Accept that outcome and do away with this intra-party and intra-nation hatred.

    August 1, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  15. roger dowdle, lockhart, Tx

    Obama does address 'BLACK" problems, it is just that he does not define them so much a black issues as he does issues that effect all people of lower economic groups. Low income. failure of the family structure, absent fathers, poor education, etc are problems faced by all ethnicities-not just blacks! Unfortunately, his definition removes the "victim" status and special allowances based on race, regardless of economic status, and a lot of the older black leaders don't like this. One problem with victim arguments, is they tend to fall flat one or two generations down the road, when it is partially due to lack of effort to participate on the part of the victims. How many black kids grow up with the attitude that studying in school makes them too white, and are accused of being ashamed to be black? How many are influenced by the Thug Rap industry?

    August 1, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
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