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. Desiree

    Sen Obama feels he doesn't have to do anything to get the black vote, his wife said that black people will "wake up and get it". People like Tavis Smilely are ran out of town because he encourage black people to not just give away their vote but to hold all politicians accountable and make them work for your vote. John McCain is not working for the black vote because he feels it's a waste of time because blacks will vote for Obama no matter what he says.

    August 1, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  2. The Republican Conscience

    Yeah black people! Don't you know that John McCain cares more about you than Obama?!

    August 1, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. v.a.

    dumb kids. they only do this to obama because he IS black and they expect more from him. didn't see them doing this to any white candidates.

    August 1, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  4. Diane

    He's not running for the president of black people, but all people. These men were definitely plants. Most black people are proud of the work that the Senator has done, I know I am.

    I would also check to see if these men were sent by McCain, or Hillary for that matter.

    Obama, my next POTUS.

    August 1, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  5. leo

    How come CNN and MSNBC cover McCains live speeches longer and more extensively than Obama's? Obama only gets snippets of his speeches shown whereas McCain is always shown live and more extensively. Liberal media bias? Most of media is owned by conservatives after all.

    August 1, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. Progressive Progressives for Progress in Progressive Progression

    Oh don't worry, when it's tax time he won't neglect you. When a devout and unrepentant socialist, standing with both feet planted in the greatest Capitalist Democracy ever know to humanity, speaks of "change," all I can say is hang on to your wallet.

    August 1, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  7. VON BISMARK,Vienna.

    Poor Obama! Not accepted by either of the race. Race card?
    Cain McCain tell the world why he opposed MLK's holiday. Hyporisy has no place in this election season.

    August 1, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  8. Tejano

    My Black (Not African-American) brothers have been saying the same things to me a Chicano from Texas. Not only does he fail to address the issues of Black America and the Chicanos (Not Mexicans or illegals), he has never done anything positive in Illinois or Washington to address the issues or taken a position in any legislation that will impact our communities, (Inner city crime, urban development, low income housing, educational opportunities, jobs moving out of urban areas in suburbs, jobs moving overseas, farm workers wages (in Illinois) , gas prices that take a larger proportion of our wages. All he does is talk, talk, talk, ... Bottom line he is not one of us as he pretends to be, He is a Harvard Educated uppity African.

    August 1, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. Barbara Campbell

    Apparently the three protesters were McCain plants.

    August 1, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  10. Big D

    I'm so impressed with how Obama can continue to focus on the issues and keep calm. He's dealing with trash being thrown at him from all sides, but he's keeping above the fray. Every candidate has to deal with a lot of baseless attacks and smears but Obama has had to deal with a ridiculous amount of it and has stayed strong.

    August 1, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  11. Claudia

    Wow, sounds like Karl Rove tactics are starting. Watch your back Barack, and remember we are with you.

    Obama 08

    August 1, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  12. john

    He screens all those who stand behind him (remember the Muslim women excluded) . Someone explain how they got that huge sign into this screened area? Even rolled up it had to be very visible.

    Could it be that Obama wanted to be seen putting radical blacks in their place? These 'radicals' simply allowed stafter to pull the sign out of their hands!

    Something does not seem right.

    Could this have been his "sista soldja' moment?

    August 1, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  13. AT

    Thank you Senator Obama for standing up for yourself in such a professional manner. I am proud of the audience as well. They would not let the hecklers get the best of them. I cannot wait until this election is over. We need sound leadership in office. Senator Obama is that leader!
    Obama 08/12

    August 1, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  14. ANGIE

    I though senator obama response to the hecklers was great at least he gave them a chance to speak and addressed their concerns unlike mccain when he gets heckled they get thrown out way to go obama great job!!!!!

    August 1, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  15. Scott

    Those hecklers are crazy. What should Obama do? Come out and scream black power.. That's crazy. He's going to be the President of the United States. He has to do what's right for all people. By boosting the economy and keeping jobs in the U.S. he's helping the black community and all communities. IMO he’s the only candidate that can truly unite this country..

    We need to look at the big picture and stop focusing on things that can hurt potentially the first black President of our country..

    Get it together!!!!

    Obama '08

    August 1, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  16. Angel

    Its a shame how whites and blacks are on this blog attacking other blacks. There are a bunch of sell-outs on this blog and a bunch of racist white people. Obama does not care about the black community.

    August 1, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  17. James From Chicago

    Pretty soon everyone is going to wise up to Obama, I'm glad the
    black community is finally realizing Obama is in this for himself,
    and givs diddley squat about black Americans. The black should have stayed with their original choice of Hillary, the Clintons always
    fought very hard for the African Americans. Now they may be stuck with this cocky arragant canidate.

    Good Luck My Friends, Vote John McCain

    August 1, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  18. Kevin

    Obama handled it better than most condidates would have. He's a rare find and we need to make him president.

    August 1, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  19. Devon Spencer

    Obama supports everyone. He treats everyone equally which is the way it should be in this country. No racism. No discrimination.

    Obama '08

    August 1, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  20. Paul

    Keep your heads in the sand Obamatrons and keep thinking everyone who doesn't like BO is a Mc Cain plant. Three months until the election and the facade is starting to crack on the egomaniac and his lemming followers. Going down!!!!! PUMAs unite!!!!

    August 1, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  21. Justmyopinion2008

    These are people paid by "Songbird" "Flip-Flopper" "Surge Surge" "Panderer" McCain! Dirty old political tactics will not work this time! You better get used to it, the change is coming and we get it tha McCain and co are very desperate!

    August 1, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  22. Obama 08

    The problem is not that Obama does not speak about the issued facing African American. The real problem is that the White candidate don't speak about the issues facing African American at all. I don't see these guys at a McCain rally pointing the finger at him. Obama is running for President of a nation not leader of the black race. He is here to help all people not a specific race.

    August 1, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  23. Jeff Brown

    Sounds as though Rove planted these goons there!

    August 1, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  24. Progressive Progressives for Progress in Progressive Progression

    Patrick Henry in Ft. Myers, buddy, you are SPOT ON. Your comments were so good, I'm envious I didn't say it. Well played.

    August 1, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  25. PT

    OMG PEOPLE–he is not a magician--get over the black people stuff–what can he do about Sean Bell at this point???Nothing...(no disrespect to his family)–Hes got to take one issue at a time–all the things these guys are harping on is in the past-–can we stop living in the past? I am sure he has and will address the injustices that we all are faced with–and so what if he is 1/2 african american–what does that mean–that he is supposed to do more for the blacks????????? He will be a president for all the people......Lets let the civil rights activists handle that end and present it to him..............Good Grief!!!!!!!! AND BY THE WAY, I AM BLACK ALSO.

    August 1, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
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