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. Dave

    All I can say is if Obama can't see the best way to unify the Democratic party is by asking Clinton to be his running mate, he is def and blind to all that's going on around him. I know that if he does not do this one thing he is going to loose most of the voters that were supporting her and most probably the election. Please save us from these Republican screw ups.

    August 1, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. Tracey

    These were probably poor blacks that Republicans paid to do this.

    August 1, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. Margerie, AL

    Dear Desiree,

    Michelle was right, we are awake, and we get it now. Barack Obama can be the next president. I'm doing everything in my power to see that that happens. I like his vision and I can see clearly now.

    Thanks Michelle–we do get it.

    Obama 08

    August 1, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. christina

    I am black woman and let me address this story by first saying this:

    "Black America, Barack Obama is trying to win an election. He has not forgotten about us. He will not throw us under the bus once elected but the bottom line is that Obama can not win the presidency based solely on the black vote. He can't walk around harping about what he'll do for blacks. Many people that would've voted for him would not like it and cast their votes for McCain instead."

    The fact of the matter is that Barack Obama will receive at least 90% of the black vote (hands down). Unfortunately there are those that will vote for him just because he's black – let's not be naive and stupid. Why spend time trying to win something that you've already won? It makes no sense. Obama will do and say what it take to get him into the Oval Office; and quite frankly that's EXACTLY what we want him to do. People need to get it together and look at the bigger picture.

    Again I say, he will remember us when he gets to Pennsylvania Avenue. Get your feelings off of your shoulders!

    OBAMA '08!!!

    August 1, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    they didnt get tasered did thry

    August 1, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  6. Enlightened Voter

    Hey ch – you certainly don't sound grown up. You sound like a whiney five year old. No I take that back, an UNEDUCATED whiney five year old. Get therapy! She LOST! She couldn't even manage her campaign finances and you wanted her to run your country???????????!!!

    August 1, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  7. norml

    i hope they go to a mccain town hall,and find out his 26 year history of supporting black causes.

    August 1, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. Universal Citizen

    I watched the entire program live. The men were shamefully ill-informed or wrongfully motivated. The questioner repeatedly referred to the "African community." It took some time to understand that he was talking about the African American Community.

    I'm an African and a very proud conservative one at that. But I think the notion that Barack Obama is going to address every issue that affects the African American Community is just plainly stupid. The man wants to be the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES NOT PRESIDENT OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY. If elected, he will be president for all of America.

    True, there are problems in the African American Community that need to be addressed. But there are also problems in white, Latino, Native Indian, Asian and other communities that need to be addressed within a larger context.

    To expect Obama to run on an African American Community platform is plain daylight ignorance and bigotry.

    The "brothers" should have known better!.

    August 1, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  9. kathryn

    Obama has to be moderate and not push the whole "black agenda" like Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson or whites won't vote for him....if he mentions race at all most white people will roll their eyes and think "here we go again...another black guy complaining". He has to seem "above it all" and talk about issues that apply to all Americans generically. I am a Hillary supporter, but part of me wishes Obama does get elected so the Black community starts to take responsibility for their children (black fathers specifically) and so the "Bar" in their community raises and they start to value education, achievement and family values. Kathryn Amherst MA

    August 1, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  10. gary

    OBAMA WORKS BOTH WAYS. IT DEPENDS ON WHO HE IS TRYING TO GET VOTES FROM. AMERICA WILL SOON FIND OUT HE IS NOTHING BUT A CON MAN AND A BIG MEDIA CLOWN. LETS NOT LEAVE OUT A BIG JOKE.

    August 1, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  11. Baah baaah...bleat the Obamists

    Who ever is sick and tired of Obama- please raise your hand now.

    Bring back Hillary Clinton and stop this racial divisiveness- that is the LAST thing this country needs as a distraction right now.

    Obama will OWE corportations, lobbyist, the LEFT wingers and the African Americans for helping his steal the elections- and NOTHING will get done for his entire term.

    End this travesty of justice, NOW.

    August 1, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. morgan

    Alex, in case you haven't noticed, advertising is open to everybody who can afford the rent even at FOX or should I say BUSH media

    August 1, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. Natasha

    LET ME TELL YA SUMTHIN!!!!!

    You can rant all you want Clinton, McCain, and people who don't see beyond color. Black America knows what up, just because you have a few of colored people showing up to look crazy does not move us one way or another.

    "If we are for him, who can be against him". (That is not speaking of Obama as God but he has a gift that Americans deny. Even the trip overseas has prove that Americans has more RACISM than it will be willing to admit. The world and leader can't be totally wrong. We rebuke you.

    August 1, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. Phil-Texas

    Can you imagine what it's going to be like with Obama as president. When he does things to enrage the black population. You think the Watts riots and Rodney King riots were bad. There will be total anarchy in the streets.

    August 1, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. Bill

    I hate to say it, but I think McCain will have to develop a major health problem before the election for Obama to win. Sure, he handled this pretty well, but he's been handling everything pretty well and his numbers only go down, slowly, vs. McCain. We're not going to elect a black President unless a gun's to our heads. The primaries were a nice fantasy, but this is the reality.

    August 1, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. Ethan

    In short, they're both right.

    These issues need to be discussed more. And Barack IS talking about them - but the media is more interested in fallout from John McCain's pathetic ads than any substance.

    But fact of the matter is that in addition to the War, Energy, Health Care, etc, there are still so many issues that have been neglected for far too long, the last 8 years or more.

    The amazing thing about Barack Obama is that I am positive that he cares about those more obscure issues as much or more than the bread and butter top 10.

    August 1, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  17. Chantell, VA

    Well, wait until November. We'll see how much he's accepted in the black race. Hillary found that out the hard way, when she threw black people under the bus.

    Obama 08

    August 1, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  18. Obama 08 - rocking it baby

    Obama is going to be the President of the US not African Americans ... yes the issues express by the African American men are valid and Obama responded correctly. His policies and plan for America will be beneficial to all of Americans versus McCain same old same plan... please do not over play this matter. Those men could have been put there by the McCain camp who knows... just a distraction and I am sure there will be plenty more... running for President is serious business and the rival camp will pull no punches .... keep focus folks! Obama 08

    August 1, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  19. Kristen

    Black female here and its ALL ABOUT OBAMA BABY!! Obama 2008!

    August 1, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. Kim

    It's about time the black community tells th truth about Obama for the fraud . This is just th beginning. Everyone knows Obama could care less about them and his only agenda is that of his muslim faith. He threw his best friends under the bus and now the black community. Can you say Bye Bye Obama?

    August 1, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. w.l. jones

    In my three scores and ten plus years. Why some people think theirs a different between Colored and White. We both speak the same language ,we being to gether for over four hundred years. Regarded what some may think theirs no way we are going to be seperate, we are one people and one nation.

    August 1, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. independent for change

    I'm pretty sure Obama denounced Reverend Wright's Church.... if that even is Reverend Wright's message. I think he's the creepy one... He's the one leading a cult of partitioner's, are you jealous it's not you running for pres Reverend?

    August 1, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. Just a Mom

    Senator Obama handled it well. The hecklers were rude and and very silly. Compare this to the McCain townhall event where they removed the little old librarian who was quietly holding her McCain=Bush sign.

    August 1, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. LOVE MY USA

    The Media is putting the Repub. Party in jeopardy.. Look at what the Deomcratic control is doing presently in the Congress and Senate. They are spending money behind close doors, even with out voting. This is a disgrce the way this country is doing business. Both Dem & Repub. shoud be booted out and let the Independent. canidates have a chance. BO donations are coming from over seas, (Saudi Arabia & China) not from the USA, why isn't he Media jumping on this? The media should go back to just reporting and not be bias,

    I was a Dem, now I am turning Independent. Hope the rest of the USA does the same thing to send a strong message to our so call learders. "I am a typical White person"

    August 1, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. Lewis

    Most African Americans expect Obama to solve all of our problems if he is elected and it's just not possible. Obama is running for President of the United States, not President of black America give him a break.

    August 1, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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