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. Conservative News Network

    CNN = Brainwashing of America.
    People, just be careful
    about what you see in the news – don't let the media tell you
    how to think.

    GObama!!

    August 1, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. JB

    These people were misinformed. If they have watched Obama as closely as the media has they would realize Obama has been the most vocal black person that highlighted the feelings of black people on national tv. Did you even watch his address to the people after the Rev. Wright issue? Seriously, just because he's not knocking at your door doing what you want him to do doesn't mean he's not paying attention!

    As a black woman, I feel as though Obama is one of the first black person to acknowledge his color and show America that it is ok to be proud of being black!!

    Obama 'O8

    August 1, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. cindy

    All I have to say is that he was in Houston last night – met with a bunch of white gazillionaires in their homes and left – there are several black neighborhoods right around the airport and there was no excuse for him not to do a short campaign stop in one. Oh yeah, that's right, HE WON'T WIN TEXAS THANK GOODNESS!! He can go you know where for all I care – he is a racist of the Hitler variety. He only used the rich white people to gain more money in his pocket,.

    August 1, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  4. Demagogue

    Everyone misunderstands poor Obama and his message- so he is constantly telling people to "hold on a second" and let me clarify – I mean refine my position.

    August 1, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  5. TPas

    BO is running for president of the USA and that means for all black white yelow ...red and blue.

    August 1, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. Sober and sane

    Sorry, Nobama. You don't get it both ways and you're getting called out on the issue. You don't get to race bait, subtle as you do, charge the other side with racism and not get called out for your hypocritical, shallow behavior. You are made by the media and as soon as people go after you for substantive issues, you respond by saying that you have already talked about it. We need REAL change, not words; you cannot talk your way into behavior; you have to behave your way into behavior. Your problem is that the "change" that you call for is from what you choose to define as the status quo; with all of these people who have drunk the Koolaide and see you as the Messiah, you owe them and the rest of us just exactly just where you propose to lead this nation with your change. Those of us who are still sober haven't heard you; those who have drunk the media and DNC Koolaide don't really care. Bottom line: You are a manufactured media package by DNC puppeteers, who manipulate you behind the scenes. Best test for truth? Let's see how you stand up WITHOUT the teleprompter and speeches written by others. Let's see some REAL CHANGE change by tearing down the walls of illusion, manipulation, deception, hypocritical speeches, and selected racism. Let's see some REAL CHANGE in your behavior....not the same old, same Chicago-style old politics and rhetoric. Just remember that most of us are intelligent; most of us can see right through you; most of us don't really care about the ranting of those who are ridden with guilt or have drunk the DNC Koolaid. We see right through you and your high-spun campaign... we see you...YES WE CAN see right through you.

    August 1, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. LOS

    The question should have been given to the president of the United States.

    August 1, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  8. Shihan

    It is time for ALL Americans to realize that we are a people, one people. If a segment of america was treated ashamedly then yes we should give light to it and at all cost never allow the events to reoccur. The African American community is trying to say that although this shamefull occurance has occured so many years ago, the economic and other disadvantages they still suffer are also shamefull. Still they suffer extreem and unfair intollerances in America. Obama they feel has not stood for them the way a BLACK PERSON should.

    We as a people need to join together, let go of the past and be one. Many African American's need to demomstrate their willingness to join fully in the America we should be. They would if it was fair! Ask them why, why should they bother. They will not be treated fairly when the under current of disgrace still exists. Think of it, Obama's race is a topic of discussion for the Presidency ... WHY IS THIS!

    NO AMERICAN SHOULD BE DENIED THE AMERICAN DREAM! African Americans in a large way are not only denied but targeted. Look at the opportunities in America given to African Americans... Minimal. Aslo, look at the prison system, largely African American. America, this is a disgrace! The truth is that as long as African Americans continue to rebel and America continues to separate them due to retaliation, this will never go away!

    Now, additionally, to think that Obama is heckled by African Americans. Are African Americans AMERICAN or AFRICAN! One thing is for sure, they are people and should be afforded those basic rights. Please, a member of your race is running for President of the United States of America, not US of Africa. As president, Its not just one sided, its ALL Americans. Heckle not but still keep trying for your rights. Help him if your vote is for him.

    America, lets look at the candidates and not just join sides as though we are on a foot ball team. Each vote will say what it is you want and not the indoctrination of the parties. Who wins is the choice of america. Lets not be taken advanteged of and most importantly, HOLD OUR ELECTED LEADERS ACCOUNTABLE!!!!!!

    Here is whats funny, Barack Obama is trying to say some of what i typed all along.

    August 1, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  9. Turn about is fair play

    Go away, Obama.

    You have damaged the democratic party... do not now damage our nation with being manipulated by the thugs who support you.

    August 1, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. Monica, Texas

    I watched Obama and McCain today when Obama was faced was a difficult challege he delt with it head on...Mean while McCain taking questions at the Urban League never would answer the questions and tried to joke or put a lot spin on his answers. It was clear he was very very uncomfortable and didn't do well.

    August 1, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. Dixon, Des Moines Iowa

    I know there are many who wanted Hillary to win the nomination, she didn't. For those who are so against Obama because he won I just can't understand. Everyone agrees there is little if any difference in their ideas of how to repair the damage done this past eight years. Now people are saying they will vote for McCain if Hillary isn't on the ticket. Why in the world would you want to allow McCain to further screw up this country just to make the point that you think Hillary should have won. I listened to Obama speak last summer in a small low numbers setting. He inspired me to work for the party and his nomination. He is a good honest man who will keep us all in mind when working for us. I believe he will tell us what we need to do, not always what we want to hear. All I have heard from McCain is attacks with no substance. The truth is the "Big Government Tax and Spend Conservatives" have done enough damage this country. McCain has nothing to offer but more of the same. OBAMA 08 – 12

    August 1, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. ProudToBeDemocrat

    I will bet anything this idiots were paid by the Mcshame Compagn to try to creat choas in the black community, remember the old tactic divded and concur not this time Mcshame.

    August 1, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  13. Dan

    Would they rather have McCain who was an opponent of Martin Luther King Day?

    Let's face it, these heckler's were ignorant idiots who just wanted attention. And do these heckler's only care about black rights?? There are a lot more people then black people who need attention too. They should be respectful of that.

    August 1, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  14. Ben, Chicago Illinois

    I hate Republicans.

    August 1, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. Todd in Texas

    He stole the "Yes We Can" from Bob the Builder.

    "Can we build it? YES WE CAN!"

    This guy steals from kid's cartoons. I never knew till I saw my daughter watching Bob the Builder.

    August 1, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. Elizabeth

    Tejano! Wow... for someone who claims to be a minority, pretty racist! Educated equals uppity? You are not exactly representing your own in the best light here...

    August 1, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  17. FortBragg

    There are those who are skeptical that he is prepared to represent all walks of America. I personally was appalled that he lacked the courage to stick to his correction of Bernie Mac's slur against women. He retracted his correction with a j'ust messin' with you' message. I don't think he is truly touch with the insidious nature of sexism. Neither is McCain.

    August 1, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. If you want Obama to win

    Everyone needs to beg the Obama camp to select Clinton as the VP. This is the only way he can win Florida and Ohio because not only are Clinton supporters not going to vote for Obama, they will vote for McCain. Don't be stupid and arrogant. Obama can not win without either Ohio or Florida.

    August 1, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. norml

    noone made them leave?that is un-american!where were the fascist goon squads,like mccain has?obama needs to hire a few nazi policemen ,for his campaign ,like mccain does.

    August 1, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  20. Media darling

    Thugs for Obama...

    We all saw what they did to Hillary, the democrats who voted for her...

    WATCH WHAT THEY WILL NOW DO TO DEMOCRACY AND THE COUNTRY.

    August 1, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. Jon from Indiana

    It's hilarious reading all the posts insisting these protestors were plants. More evidence that anyone who might legitimately disagree with Obama will be accused of having an agenda. God forbid they might simply disagree with him. Blasphemy!

    August 1, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  22. Charles T

    This is just another reason why we can not elect this man because this country has to run not stop for the black community. we all have to exist here in america, it is not just the whites, or blacks. we have many nationalities. All of us should have the same rights. And stop trying to use our race to further ourself use our knowledge and learn more knoledge if we want to further ourselves.

    August 1, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  23. Knowledged African American

    Obama is gonna get criticism and heckled, but the bottom line is he is qualified to be the president of the US,no matter what color he is. He is not running for president for the black community. Those that are less intelligent are those that claim he is neglecting the black community. We have other problems besides the black community. We have problems as a country such as the economy, gas prices, the war over in Iraq. Some of you need to rethink your priorities and get out there in November and vote for the best choice. My choice is Obama! Not because he represents me as African American.

    If your voting for McCain, then you should really think as to why your voting for another term of the mess the country is in.

    August 1, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  24. Lewis

    Has anyone ever ask Bush, Mccain hell even Clinton what they have done for the black/hispanic community. Why does Obama have to answer questions no other canidate has ever had to answer.

    They to come to your church every 4 years ask for your votes and you give it to them an ask no questions or demand anything, but now you want to hold Obama to a different standard ......

    GET A LIFE

    August 1, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  25. Nat Turner

    I wonder how much McCain paid these "hecklers?" All these topics have been addressed in the past.

    August 1, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
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