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. Cynthia

    I saw this on CNN and thought that Senator Obama handled the hecklers very well and his answer to the heckers addressed every question that the guy asked.

    August 1, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. gpm

    They were most likely McCain's paid plants make no mistake about it.

    August 1, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  3. Sick of Obama's Henchmen

    Ugh...he's a cult leader. The "yes we can" chants are just plain creepy. Obama will even throw the black community under the bus for his own political gain.

    Rev. Wright
    His Church

    August 1, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  4. Kongtooth

    "Everything you mentioned I did speak about"

    That's all you do is talk... problem is without a teleprompter he usually has to go back later an change... you know... change you can believe in.

    At least he didn't play the race card tody... but it's early.

    August 1, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  5. ClintonDems4Cynthia08

    The role of a lifetime. Talent optional. Barack Hollywood Obama.

    August 1, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  6. Al Ware

    Too black, not black enough. He's running for President of the U.S., not the President of black people. He's addressed those issues and more. I agree w/him that he has to address everyone's issues and concerns. By the way, those issues mentioned by the hecklers are not just black issues, their america's issues.

    Obama 08!

    August 1, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  7. Vote Obama!

    wow obama actually talked to people who disagree with him instead of kicking them out that shows a lot of character

    August 1, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  8. cherrystrawberry

    good for Barack for standing up for himself while being respectful of the hecklers.

    August 1, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  9. maurice

    Without Hillary we don`t want Obama!

    August 1, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. California Gold

    Kudos to Obama for addressing them straight up. I remember watching Clinton repeatedly having hecklers physically removed from audiences rather than address them. One thing politicians seem to forget is long after their words are forgotten we will always remember how they made us feel. Obama obviously understands this basic principle.

    August 1, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  11. Former Repub

    Obviously some blacks are failing to realize how important this election is, they still think of OBAMA has just a representative of Blacks. People need to realize Barrack is a candidate for ALL PEOPLE, and has to be in order for him to win! He's faces enough challenges from the "conservatives" already!! Please LET OBAMA address the real economic issues, that's all most people care about

    August 1, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  12. Henry n New York

    Are we sure these weren't "republican plants". Remember 10 of the Black-American vote are not supporting Obama. Although possible I find it hard to believe someone would show up at a rally and chant about topics they did not have understanding on. If find it hard to think someone that truly wanted to address an issue would not let the candidate speak....except for a republican plant.

    AND THE SLIM ROLLS ON

    August 1, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  13. harleyquinn92

    What about the part where Obama said that they can vote for someone else? You left that part out!

    August 1, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  14. Rudy NYC

    There are a lot of disenfranchised black people in America. That segment is drawn to the Al Sharptons out there. Sharpton, a great example of how to goof things up despite having the best of intentions.

    Most everything Al has ever touched has turned into a disaster. Name one thing he did successfully, and I can name ten he goofed up.

    August 1, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  15. Uncle Sam

    Republicans are telling their people to avoid their convention and this is a bigger story???? CNN = Consistantly Neutering News!!!

    August 1, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  16. Montana is Obama Country

    I am glad to hear Barack addressed them directly instead of like McNegativead having little old librarians removes and ticketed for holding a sign..

    August 1, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  17. Anubis

    Handled very well by Obama. Its amazing how so many feel that if someone isnt hammering the issues 24/7, that they "think" is the most important that no one is talking about

    August 1, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  18. therealist

    Obama already spoke about black issues... Were you expecting more??

    August 1, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  19. S. Boatman

    This Is Why Obama Is Going To Be The Next President! He Has Already Shown Where He Stands On The Issues! Mccain Continues To Dodge The Issues By Taking The Low Road!

    August 1, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  20. Abby

    If you think Obama doesn’t care about those issues, try McCain. Give the guy ( obama) a chance first though…but I see nothing wrong with keeping him honest in an orderly way.

    August 1, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  21. jane in CA

    McCain's negative attacks show desparate and will not work. Look what happened to Hillary. Sen. Obama, nothing wrong with being celebrity and fixing the country's problems at the same time. He's for America and not for a specific group; don't feel neglected.

    August 1, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  22. ANA G. LOS ANGELES. CA

    Where is the video for this?

    August 1, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  23. Rebublican for Obama!

    The funniest part was when his buddy grabbed the sign from him once Obama owned him!!

    August 1, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  24. T Guy

    THEY WERE MISINFORMED AND FOOLISH . HOW CAN OBAMA ADDRESS ANY THIS ABOUT THE MINORITY COMMUNITY BEFORE HE GETS IN OFFICE. HE HAS TO APPEAL TO ALL TO GET ELECTED JUST COMMON SENSE.

    VOTE OBAMA....08

    August 1, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  25. STILL FOR HILL

    And this is news? CNN stopped playing the stories about kids in Chicago not being able to walk or ride the bus to school without being shot right about the time they declared Obama the Messiah.

    At least Hillary went to Memphis for MLK's birthday and she showed up for the State of the Black Nation with Tavis Smiley.

    Obama runs from black people. Don't put too many of them behind him while he is making a speech!

    When will America wake up? You've been punked. Where's Ashton?

    August 1, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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