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. G - Florida

    I guess not all blacks are voting for him!!!

    August 1, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  2. NoMcSame

    Have a town hall meeting at a black university then. Bring McNoMLK Holiday McSame with you.

    August 1, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. RNC

    I won't be surprised that this was another GOP attack!!!

    August 1, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  4. Obama '08

    This is true. Obama has spoken on all of these issues! We can't forget he's running for president of the United States of America, not the president of Black America.

    August 1, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  5. mike

    They were plants... This is crazy, Obama is not responsible for every problem the world has, give him a break!!!

    August 1, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  6. harleyquinn92

    Obama replied that he had spoken out on the cop killings and on predatory lending, and when the man tried to argue back, Obama said: "That doesn't mean I'm going to satisfy your positions," and added: "You can always vote for somebody else." The crowd responded with a standing ovation as the protester sat down stone-faced. The protesters repeatedly interrupted the Q-and-A session, only to be drowned out again and again by chants of "Yes we can!" and boos.

    August 1, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. Conflict of interest

    Why is it that I get accosted with an "Obama '08" campaign add on CNN's website??? How can I possibly expect unbiased reporting from an agency that accepts candidate advertising??? I don't care which candidate it is – get the candidate ads off the news page!

    August 1, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  8. Alex

    did you know McCain most of the time ignores those people...

    August 1, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  9. Terri

    Ignorant people get on my nerves. Obama is for all peopl not just us black people.

    Go Obama

    Ignore the haters

    August 1, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  10. Patrick Henry, Fort Myers

    These hecklers aren't in the loop are they?

    Mr. Obama ( a.k.a. Citizen-Santa Klaus) has a present for everyone including those hecklers of the black minority group.

    And he has a very special gift for business people and entrepeneurs of free enterprise----the tab!!

    August 1, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  11. Sherry, Atlanta

    Senator Obama has addressed these Topic's. Was he a plant? Or just not paying attention!

    August 1, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  12. A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Here it comes again, "they're playing the race card" card.

    I wonder what McBush would have to say about Katrina, the gutting of FEMA and other "you people" topics. Didn't they reject MLK day in Arizona?

    August 1, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  13. George from Minneapolis

    I wonder how much these fools were paid to disrupt the town hall. Like I tell my 5 year old son, there are good people of every color and fools of every color. These clowns were definately fools, and misinformed fools at that.

    August 1, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  14. Pat

    Neglecting the Black community?

    He's been neglecting everybody but himself!

    He can't talk about anything about how he is being picked on, how great he is, and how he is going to be president.

    We need to do the right thing and impeach Obama now and save us the trouble later.

    August 1, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  15. Biffington, Biff

    PLANTS ! I GUARANTEE IT! THEY WERE PLANTS !!!

    August 1, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  16. Rave

    This is ridiculous... I feel really sorry for Mr. Obama. Now his own people are pulling his legs. His Rev, then Jesse, now this ??
    If he wins this election, he will be a true hero.. and I think he will win.
    People who say they are conservatives, god fearing and accuse others as Liberals..... Just look at the will power and strength of this man. This is not normal... it is a God given strength in him.
    He is truely inspiring and he is the one and only one who could bring back things in this nation to normal.
    OBAMA (2008 -16)

    August 1, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  17. indewoman

    I'm a black female and It always sicken me when other black people EXPECT black leaders to TOTALLY side with them and make them the victim.

    It doesn't matter what OBAMA does, it seems there is someone/people who aren't happy. Some of my people needs to stop being lazy and blaming the government. They need to get up and do something. I went to 3 colleges and remained childless until I got married.

    I'm an independent and when I hear my black people talking down to OBAMA because he isn't telling us what we want to hear BUT what we need to hear.

    August 1, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  18. NotFallingInLine.org

    What? Obama hasn't neglected the black community. He's told the black community that their problems are their problems (remember the "take personal responsibility" comments he made a couple of weeks ago? What, his hot air wasn't enough for you?).

    Barack Obama: The Paris Hilton of Politics

    Hey, Congresswoman DeGette, you might want to check with your Denver and DC offices. We've turned the "barrage" of emails, calls, and faxes back on for you.

    Good luck next week selling your books, btw.

    Knoxville NFIL

    August 1, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  19. Joe Kiloz

    I don't know why our black community pins its hope on the latest uprising as our salvation. We've already been told we're inadequate fathers, can't support families, don't work enough and don't like to go to school. "Yes We Can" with other candidates......We miss you Hillary.

    August 1, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  20. McCain The Man

    We need a man like McCain that can do the right thing and ignore all of these issues and focus on throwing the mud. Let's divide this country even more, so that the real americans can have it for themselves.

    August 1, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  21. MJC

    Wow. I'm African-American and have been following this political process very closely and I have no idea what these young men are talking about. I think they may want some attention and it looks like they may get it. Obama is definately not blind to the issues facing the Black community. Again I think these guys are looking for some attention.

    August 1, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  22. Brian, Pittsburgh

    When supporters heckle their own candidate, it only makes their candidate look bad. They show up at Obama's rally, but they know they wouldn't even be allowed in at McCain rallies. So who are they helping?

    If they think Obama has been neglecting the black community, wait until they see what President McCain would do...

    August 1, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  23. ch

    That "Yes We Can" chant is one of the most annoying things in the world right now – ugh.

    I still miss the Obama seal – the tackiest political symbol in history!

    It would be nice to have a grown up candidate (like Hillary) with grown up supporters

    August 1, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  24. demwit

    Obviously these are three men from Obama's former church. Rev. Wright probably sent them to disrupt the speech. Shame on Rev. Wright, his three goons and their black victimization teachings..

    August 1, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  25. Oh my

    Uncle tom sell outs. Confused once again by the rethugs. They are probably Rethug operatives. Obama is not running for president of the black community, he is running for the entire country. Black people get over it. Oh, and I am black too so if you have something to say, say it.

    August 1, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
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