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. Ian MN

    hmmmmmm...You can't make everybody happy. I guess people don't seem to understand how messed up this country is/how much it's going to be if Obama loses. It really does keep me up at night.

    August 1, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. Ms. RDS

    Ok, as a black person i have got to say this STFU! What can he do about Katrina, this happened in 2004, although tragic and I'm from MS what can he do about that now! He supported the housing bill! Sean Bell's death was tragic he spoke about this. Let's be frank, if he focuses too much on these issue he will be boxed in as the 'black' candidate and turn off white voters. Although he has a overwhelming support from the AA community we only make up about 13% of the population, so although these issues are important to AA so are the economy, education, the war, jobs etc. etc.

    August 1, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. Denise Groves

    I saw this on CNN. It surprised me, as mcGrumpy is the one who is always heckled. Obama allowed them to ask their question, and hanled it with his usual coolness. McGrumpy always has them thrown out!

    August 1, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. Texas Trail Dog!

    It looks like some of your supporters are not delusional anymore. I think they're beginning to realize that you are an empty suit. Just like a catfish, "All mouth and no body."

    August 1, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. Marie

    The hecklers were black. The questions concerned his plans for the black community. The pundits will make something out of this. Such as, is he losing support among the blacks? LOL, give me a break.

    August 1, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. Open Your 3rd Eye

    I JUST CAME BACK FROM THIS TOWN HALL. THOSE GUYS ARE MEMBERS OF THE GROUP UHURU DOWN HERE IN ST PETE. TRUST ME WHEN I SAY THEY PROTEST EVERYTHING. THEIR INTENTIONS ARE GOOD BUT THEY GO ABOUT IT THE WRONG WAY. OBAMA EXPLAINED HE WANTS TO HELP EVERYONE, NOT JUST OUR GROUP OF PEOPLE. GOOD ANSWER.

    August 1, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. James

    You won't see this example of how he is fair minded and not "just out to do things for the blacks" focused on 24/7 on right wing FAUX news or radio. There are still many who want to define him as the black candidate, not just the candidate who happens to be black.

    Those protesters would be examples of what we in the black community would describe as crabs in the barrell. They don't want to see Obama do well unless he is 100% in line what what they think is important or doing what they want addressed the way they want it addressed. He should be required to address the plights within the black community. But he should be required to address the plight of ALL americans. He is not running for the President of Black America.

    Please don't any one worry. He's not going to paint the white house black. Incidentally, I believe that is a line from a George Clinton P-Funk song from decades ago. So please don't asociate that with Obama.

    August 1, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  8. Linda31

    Kongtooth, he also talked about legislation he has worked on.

    August 1, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  9. Joe - Wilmington, DE

    Someone should ask those three individuals what they have done to better themselves and the human community.

    August 1, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  10. Susan

    McCain worshipers sneaking in the back door. Obama has been talking to the black community. Could it be the 3 hecklers are foing itt because they were told it is time for them to grow up and accept their responsibilities?

    August 1, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  11. Rachel, DC

    Pat,

    Don't speak for me or the black community. You sound as if you don't even like blacks, who are you fooling?

    Enough.

    Obama 08

    This was a plant by the McCain campaign because McCain can't win on his own merits and he's dumbfounded as to why the American people don't want to continue the Bush policies.

    August 1, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  12. McCain Lies!

    Once again he deals with people respectfully and answered these men instead of having them tossed out like mccain does. That shows alot of character in Obama and shows that mccain doesn't want anyone around that doesn't agree with him. Sounds almost dictatorial doesn't it?

    August 1, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  13. Latinos for Obama

    Republican plants plain and simple.

    August 1, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  14. unitedwestanddevidedwefall

    When are are black people going to realize that Mr. Obama is running for President of the United States. As Americans we need to resist dividisions and come together to solve problems that everybody face. America has been divided to long. The republicans need America divided to stay in office. together "Yes we can!

    August 1, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. Unity

    First of all, don't let three PAID hecklers (McCain implants) fool you, we are proud of Obama's accomplishments and the fact that he does not proclaim to be about just african americans. Obama is about americans period (black, white, blue, red, green...etc.). So if anyone thinks these three (lonely) black hecklers speak for the black community you are mistaken. In the general elecation, just like in most of the states during the primaries, Obama will receive overwhelming support from the black community (98% of the black vote). So this is just another wasted McCain ploy.

    August 1, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  16. BC FOR OBAMA

    Obama is not running for the President of the NAACP, he's running for the President of the United States, therfore he has to address issues that concern everybody as a hole. The last time he addressed the black communtiy on parental issues, he got flak by black leaders saying that he should not bring those problems into the spotlight. So if I were Obama I would stick to the general public issues instead of highlighting one particular race of people.

    Obama 08, 12

    August 1, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  17. The Real Issue

    At least the protestors brought up real issues. This is what is needed for both candidates. However, I will say that Senator Obama has a record speaking out about the sub-prime market and although he was unable to vote due to the campaign, Obama was supportive of the recent bill to support homeowners in foreclosure. Obama has a record of supporting African American causes, however not everyone knows about it or will agree with his every position.

    August 1, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  18. Janice

    They should try to enter a John McCain campaign event and see how he responds. I doubt if they would be let in, let alone be listened to as they ask questions.

    That goes for the Hillary supporters who won't support Obama, but who may be very much pro-choice.

    August 1, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  19. Sick of Obamas Henchmen

    Rave:

    "This is ridiculous… I feel really sorry for Mr. Obama."

    That's just where he wants you. He's such a nice guy, he's Mr. Hope, he's nothing like the other politicians.

    August 1, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  20. john williams san diego, ca.

    keep playing the race card Messiah.

    August 1, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  21. Sn in MN

    Just a taste of things to come. His supporters will not let him be a "leader for all Americans". They're fanatics with agendas.

    August 1, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  22. John McShame, Obama Is Going to Tax You & Cindy, but Not Me & 95% Americans Making < $250,000/Yr

    This shows that NOT all black people are supporting Obama...and the charges of Obama playing the "race card" from the McSame campaign is NOT only outrageous by an INSULT to all African Americans!

    What has George Dubya and McSame done for the African American community?...left the Katrina victims to fend for themselves and continued to propose policies that left African Americans, Hispanics and minorities to fend for themselves in this hard economic times; John McSame even voted against the MLK Holiday?

    For the McSame campaign the PLANT hecklers at an Obama event just shows how LOW ROAD John McSame express have been taken all his political life.

    The last time I checked, John McSame is married to Paris Hilton – Cindy "Botox Face" McSame!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 1, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. Kim, Charlotte, NC

    What idiots............blame Obama for everything.

    Uneducated fools!

    August 1, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  24. C from Texas

    You Obama people always have an excuse, just like he does, but then the democrats always have an excuse for everything. You just can't live with the fact that some(most)people don't like him. More and more are leaning this way every day.

    McCain'08

    August 1, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  25. Jude

    Let me see...I would vote for McCain because:
    1. He's old and have lots of "old" ideas.
    2. He cares about the average american because he's not rich.
    3. He knows more about the economy than all the other candidates.
    4. He only flipped flopped a few times
    5. He wants to bomb iran
    6. He gets mad really easy
    7. He's Bushes best pal.

    Yeah right!!!

    August 1, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
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