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. Michael Dunn

    Its funny that this is even news...this is the first Obama event where I've heard protesters making a fuss. Almost every town hall that McCain does has protesters. Just keep in mind folks, especially McCain supporters, your candidate has quit talking about issues. The only thing he has now is to try to lower the opinion Americans have of Barack, hopefully if you are so focused on that you'll fail to see that McCain has no answers for this country.

    August 1, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. jason, tx

    Obama is a great leader who listens and leads. Those of you who disparage him through name calling are just juvenile. You say he is a "messiah" and has no "substance." Let me translate that for you: you haven't read any of his position papers, listened to his speeches, nor done any of your homework whatsoever. You have only listened to snippets on news reports and based all of your name calling on that information, which is partial and lacking. When you have a substantive concern, then express it. Otherwise, keep your name calling off of the comment boards. This is especially pointed to posters like Pat, Sick of Obama's Henchmen, etc.

    Oh, and he certainly didn't act like McCain who has hecklers escorted out.

    August 1, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. Laura, MN

    These Karl Rove tactics will not work and will not stand. Obama is doing a fabulous job and I can not wait to vote for him in November. Keep your head high Senator because most black people and others are with you.

    These guys were probably plants by McCain, Hillary or Jesse Jackson for all we know. It doesn't matter, we are with you.

    Obama 08

    August 1, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. Sick of these lame rips on Obama

    I continue to get sick of hearing all these bashes on Obama. If you seriously sit down and look at the issues, anyone who would support McSame over Obama is probably a racist. He isn't pulling the veil over anyone's eyes, he is one of the first honest politicians to show up in a long time. It's easy to find a fault in someone when you decided their was fault before you knew anything about them. If you think that all the terrible stuff happening around the country is going to end with McSame in office, then you are obviously completely disconnected from the issues.

    Obama 2008!

    August 1, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. Don

    Someone against Obama, no.

    August 1, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  6. Gary Chandler in Canada

    All the McCain hecklers escorted out, right!? Obama dealt with his in a civil manner, took control, very presidential.
    GOP idiotic bloggers, here's a free one for you. >>> 'Obama team plants a demonstration to make himself look better than McCain at handling the situation.' LOL run with it!
    (I have a better one but will see if you can think of it.)

    August 1, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. Pol

    That is all about how republicans are trying to get at least a part of black votes. Acting provocators organized the action, and writin provocators are placing their comments on this site. We will have a lot of similar provocations ahead. The Republican party is a very strong machine with a very weak candidates. Only sharp and dirty actions can create miracle and help McCain. Otherwise, he doesn't have any chances. Republican giants are trying to fight and save election.

    August 1, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. Chris

    They were GOP plants!!!

    August 1, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. MurphyMorseJohnson

    Three hecklers at a rally at a political rally make a newsworthy item? Perhaps, CNN should place its Political Producer Alexander Marquardt among the unemployed due to Republican economics. It would be unfair, however, to the vast majority of unemployed who are not political news hacks. As to the credibility that an African-American presidential candidate will turn his back on anybody–let alone African-Americans–Alex's political analytical skills just hit a new low of nonsense.

    August 1, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. Haters

    Tell the truth CNN, these men did NOT interrupt. They waited their turn and asked questions. The young man at no time stated that Obama was neglecting the African American community. Your (CNN) attempts to pit blacks-against-blacks will not work.

    Report on how McCain tries to use humor when addressing the Urban League and an effort to avoid answering their questions of him as to how he will help African American communities who are loosing their young men to gun violence. McCain knows nothing about this, he's on another planet when it comes to African American issues.

    August 1, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. Benj Thall

    CNN: That's not how it happened exactly. Get Stories straight!

    August 1, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. Bayou Joe

    If it's not Race, it's gender or some other kind of discrimination that keeps you from being successful. Did you ever think that the reason you don't succeed is your fault and not mine.

    Democrats are the party of divison. Divide the people into manageable groups, then cater to their needs, convince them you will support their agenda and whamo you have a candidate.

    Sorry folks it doesn't work like that and that is why the Democrats will lose again.

    The issue is who is best for our country as a whole. Who will defend our country. Who will look out for America First. Whose loyalty cannot be challenged and when it all adds up,
    The American People will elect John McCain, a man we can trust.

    August 1, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. Joy, NM

    Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

    These foolish tactics will not work. Obama supporters will take our country back and have a better furniture for our kids. We will not be distracted by hecklers, racial politics, mean spirited ads,etc. Obama is our choice and we will be voting in historical numbers come November.

    Get ready America because it wil be the most exciting campaign in a lifetime.

    Obama 08

    August 1, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. Annette, Washington, DC

    These guys did not do there homework, before they arrived. Obama was a civil rights attorney before entering political office. His pursuit of public service started in the communities, I understand the hecklers frustration, regarding the Jena incident and many others. But I did like Obama's response to the hecklers, he gave them something to think about and that is you have a couple of choices, my favorite was you can run for office and basically help change some of the concerns you have. I liked that approach Obama took with the heckler to inspire him to do something about the situation, not just complain about it. Something I have always tried to tell my own children.

    August 1, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  15. bhk

    The real question is this, "Is America ready for a President with the
    intellectual capacity necessary to understand and lead us in this
    difficult time...or do we want to stay with the kind of dumb-downed
    version we've had for the last eight years?"

    August 1, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. NY State of mind

    ClintonDems4Cynthia08

    Who cares, go pay her dept.

    August 1, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  17. NORA, FLORIDA

    I am tired of HRC supporters hanging on with malace. Look, if you so-called supporters are supporting her that much, then instead of wasthing your time being UGLY at the DNC convention, you should be holding fundraisers for HRC if you really want to help out and make a difference.

    August 1, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  18. bhogan

    Plants.

    August 1, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  19. Phil

    It blows me away how much bile Hillbillary supporters still have against the democratic nominee. All I can say is, latch back on to her npl and stphu; you folks are bigger belly aching whiners than the neocons.

    August 1, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  20. HF from PA

    Texas Trail Dog: How many times do we have to tell you to take your meds...the hate is making your mouth froth again

    August 1, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  21. Demarco

    It amazes me that so many people have the time to post idiodic misinformed ramblings. Many of these post have strong racial overtones. If you have a problem with someones policies, don't votwe for them. Why have so much hate and negative comments for an individual that is not even in office? Aren't there enough problems in our society to rant and rave about?

    August 1, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  22. Heidi, IN

    We will, we will Barack you!
    We will, we will Barack you!
    We will, we will Barack you!
    We will, we will Barack you!
    We will, we will Barack you!
    We will, we will Barack you!
    We will, we will Barack you!
    We will, we will Barack you!
    We will, we will Barack you!
    We will, we will Barack you!
    We will, we will Barack you!
    We will, we will Barack you!

    August 1, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  23. TESAP; SAVANNAH, GA

    POST?????????????

    August 1, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  24. NY State of mind

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    ClintonDems4Cynthia08

    Who cares, go pay her debt.

    August 1, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  25. Len in Washington

    To those here who keep harping about Hillary.....

    Have you sent her a check today?

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