August 1st, 2008
01:40 PM ET
10 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.

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. Quinn

    That's really a shame. These few knuckleheads don't understand that Barack is not running to be president of Black America. Every ethnic community has it's own issues and Barack is addressing all of them as best he can.

    I think the heckling was either a setup by an anti-Obama group or the hecklers were just plain stupid.

    August 1, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. michael in MO

    I defer to the comment above "Sick of Obama's Henchmen".....

    August 1, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. Peggy L

    40 year old Muslim with Jesus like appearence. Will lull people from all all nations. The end is near folks. He certainly is a smoothe talker.

    August 1, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. Roni Becoate

    Be encourage Sen. answer very carefully it could just be a set up to see what you'll say so it start mess. I've seen it happen.

    August 1, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. Chris, Denver CO

    1968 all over again. Look what that got us. If you think Obama is neglecting the black community (whatever that means) just wait until you see what a President McCain would do. It's well past time to unite behind Obama. If he's not perfect, then by all means, he's far better than the alternative.

    August 1, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. Val from MA


    August 1, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. Natasha

    Obama has 90% of the African American votes and it won't move. So what there are a few dummies out there. Good for them......

    August 1, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. Independent Veteran

    That was an obvious setup. I smell a PUMA-McCain coalition.

    Vote for Mr. Barr!!!

    August 1, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. bridgette

    If I were Obama I would asked where do they live, what is going on in their community, and what have that done to outreach in that community. I would have turned that right back on to them. This is the real race ladies and gentlemen. The mess has started.

    August 1, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. Zela

    I watched via the internet. I was very proud of the way the question was asked and answered. The young man was well spoken and Barack was well prepared. And yes, in America you can listen to the candidates and make a choice. That's called democracy. Until he becomes President Obama, all he or any other candidate, can do is state his/her opinion and position. I believe that's called a political platform. What is wrong with some of you? you have that much hate in your hearts for real? If so, please replace it with love. You'll be so much happier and you can still vote for McCain, Clinton, Paul or anyone else you decide. And for everyone who enjoys hating on Obama...Yes, we can!

    August 1, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  11. Dwight

    they are just misinformed folks, they apparently haven't been lsitening or they just plain and simple want to make attention for themselves.

    just like McCain , misinformed

    August 1, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  12. Annoyed

    Playing the race card???
    What a bunch of narrow-minded, fearful, uninformed, and WILLFULLY IGNORANT Americans. If this doesn't apply to you, then keep it moving, but if it does, then take it how you want. Say what you want but race trumps EVERYTHING in this country. You can act like it doesn't all you want just like you ignore other things that are in plain sight

    YOU people are the ones who remain willfully ignorant after 7 years of self-serving REPUBLICAN-DOMINATED politics, failed policies, and economic turmoil you STILL attack a democrat just because he's a democrat and no other reason but that. You put your party before country and that's why our dollar is worth CRAP all over the world.
    Obama is a REAL leader and any American with just ONE ounce of sense in their heads should want him elected. Open your minds and stop watching Fox News.

    August 1, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. Daniel Mayinja

    Obviously McCain paid them to be there, those hecklers, look how he's running around blaming Barack for high oil prices. Pretty soon he'll upstage Madam Pele of HI and say that Barack caused Kilawea to erupt!! Mary Mother of God...

    August 1, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. fella from Chicago

    Must be transplanted Chicagoans. People...People....Barack is on the national level and can't be bothered with black problems now. Uncle Tom is rubbing elbows with the white folks now and enjoying the good life. Michelle, haven't heard from you for awhile. Told to shut up so as not to upset the white folks? Loving it!

    August 1, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  15. David

    Obama the "media hound" is a growing concern in the Black Community who see him losing focus on the issues and trying to be the darling of the Liberal Elite.

    August 1, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  16. Bryan

    I keep hearing about this "Obama celebrity" stuff. How is this his fault? The media made the decision to give him "celebrity" status. He's not going around posing like some movie star. He's doing exactly what every other candidate who has run for President has done but he happens to be the first black person to get this far so he's a big story. For some reason people seemed turned off by his popularity and blame him for it. I get sick of people complaining about the government and how it is run but when it comes to a guy who has clearly demonstrated that he will handle things differently, people are scared and want to simply go with "what and who they know". This country can't afford 4 more years of bad, conservative policies...that is unless you're in oil or health care. Its that simple.

    August 1, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  17. Carlos

    these people have no common sense... Obama is running to be the president of all people, not just black. he needs to appeal to all race. i think he's doing well...

    August 1, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  18. Maya

    This clip shows the essence of Obama's campaign in action – the ability to defuse tension while speaking in a direct and truthful manner. All I can say as an envious Canuck is – if you Yanks don't elect this guy, please send him north...

    August 1, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  19. Hip Hop Artists for Obama!

    I'm African American and i hardly think he's neglected us. How the hell could he neglect you when he's not in the position to do anything about it yet? I can bet you this is Nation of Islam cronies which St. Pete has a LARGE GROUP OF MEMBERS. More Farakhan bs!

    August 1, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  20. Chuck


    Don't be stupid. How do you tell anyone what you did or did not do, or what you want to do unless you speak , talk, communicate. Get a life will you.

    August 1, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  21. chechthisout


    "everything you mentioned, I spoke about"


    "everything you mentioned, Jeremiah Wright spoke about"

    In any case. What is the point of just SPEAKIND ABOUT IT ???

    August 1, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  22. rachae

    I don't understand how stupid some people can be. Some people in the black community don't get that he isn't a civil rights leader. He is running for president of all people. And it is simple if they think he neglects the black community vote for someone one else. But I gurantee McCain and the republicans are worst.

    August 1, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  23. Phil, FL

    Tell the hecklers to take that sign and ask McFlipFlopper the same questions.


    I can see that old man squirming already. Ha ha ha ha ha

    August 1, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  24. Angela Frazier, Memphis TN

    You gotta to be frigging kidding me! Isn't it enough that he has to do battle with those who would demonize him for being black? Do we as black people need to jump on this ignorant band wagon? First those hecklers need Jesus! Second, they need to shut the hell up and sit the hell down!

    We are his backbone my people. If we don't stand strong he is doomed! Why is it that we can never get together to do sh**? We are like crabs in a barrell! As soon as one gets a claw up enough to get out, the rest pull him back down to the bottom! Can we just for ONCE get together to accomplish something. Must we always fight amongst ourselves? This both saddens and pisses me off!!! Negores need to wake up and grab this once in a lifetime opportunity! Yes I said NEGROES cause this foolishness bring flashes of Jim Crow to mind!

    I believe everyone's concerns are his concerns. Obama is running for the president of the UNITED STATES not the president of Ununited Black People of America! If black people help inflame the race issue, all will be lost....

    August 1, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  25. Bobby from MS

    The real problem here is that Sen. Obama has no real solutions to problems. His energy policy consist of inflating tires. Change you can believe in HA HA HA.

    The once double digit lead for Obama is shrinking quickly and now with Obama playing the race card for a Second time I think fair minded Independents such as myself will see past his lies and see this man for what he really is. He is not a new type of politician but instead just another politician doing whatever it takes to further his own self ambitions.

    August 1, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
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