August 1st, 2008
01:40 PM ET
10 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.

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. Voter

    Simply put Obama answered their questions.

    McSame would of run them out of the room.

    Of corse these and other problems in America are because of republicans like McSame.

    August 1, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  2. Rising Star

    Hey, I'm African-American and an Obama supporter (was in the Hillary camp back in the day), but I'm not a groupie. I think he is failing to take advantage of an historic opportunity to be much more honest with the American people about what it's facing. First of all, there's no quick fix for our energy crisis and the fact is we all need to make a concerted effort to use less oil period. No ifs, ands, or buts. It would be stupid to come up with additional energy sources at home - whether through offshore drilling, wind energy, gas, etc. - only to use all of that up at breakneck speed and end up right back where we started.

    Second, and this is really important. There is no quick fix for our economy. We need to undergo a structural adjustment that will overtime transition us back to being a creditor nation from being deeply in debt. Our present economic position is very precarious and really only needs a shock here or another shock there to push us into a depression.

    So, I would like for Obama to just say there will be some short-term pain that we will all have to live with before we straighten ourselves out.

    August 1, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. Marv...

    They were plants paid by the GOP. I'm black and in those situations, please don't wait on the government to address those issues. The community, church official and activist handled the Sean Bell issue without a president stepping in as it should have been done. Don't expect Obama to address black, white, Asian or Latino issues. Let's elect someone who addresses the issues.

    As far as Katrina concern, it’s a governmental failure in which we the people are trying to change together. Yes, Bush and his administration screwed the Katrina disaster up really bad, but the majority of the public wants to fix it and we don’t expect neither McCain nor Obama’s speaking on the issue to help. It will take action.

    August 1, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  4. miken

    This is just the start. People are starting to see him for the phoney he is. He will say anything he thinks he needs to to get elected.

    August 1, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. Rickymo

    Anybody who doesn't realize that this country has been wrecked for a very long time by the last 8 years doesn't get it. And to think that the next four with Mc Cain won't be like the last eight is just silly. And for those misguided Clinton supporters who can't get over Obama the Obama win...pity. I much prefer voting for someone whose message is hopeful...and that clearly is Obama!

    August 1, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. WarHeroFmrPOW HijaxStr8talkXpress DrivzIn2GutR TurnzCoward XploitsTroopsAsProps UsesPatraeusAs PoliticalPawn


    Yep, Hillary ran a real mature campaign; just about as mature as McCain's. Why do you have a problem with the candidates treating us like the adults we are instead of name-calling and schoolyard political ploys? Oh, and by the way ... YES WE CAN!

    August 1, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  7. Connie, NY

    When I go see Barack, I'd better not hear any hecklers. I will shut them down, just as this audience did. I don't blame them.

    August 1, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |



    Even Cindy recognizes the GOP play book and this is why she files seperate income tax returns. Just think about it for a second. And for you MBA superstars don't give me the its a business protection plan as to why Cindy does this. If she can't trust her own husband then why shoudl the American people.

    August 1, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. Really

    And what do they expect him to do. You get out what you put in, unless you have been brought up thinking someone owes you a living.

    August 1, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  10. Helen, NY

    Here you are. Black people have to understand that Barack is not black enough and he will never help black communicty. In fact Hillary would have been the perfect candidate for us. Blacks voted for Barack and now they relize it. Anyway it is not quite late, we can vote for John mcCain who will take better care of American people including clacks. I am confident.

    August 1, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  11. rs

    obama = people's champ!

    August 1, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. Rick FL

    I'm glad Obama extended the courtesy of addressing the young men's concerns. I truly believe Obama will make a great president for all Americans in a humble and respectful manner.

    i Si se puede !

    August 1, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  13. Velma, VA

    I'm proud of Barack. My next POTUS knows how to handle himself and he's doing a great job.

    Can't wait for change in 09.

    August 1, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  14. Cruiser66

    The banner looks professional, but even though we can't see their faces, the guys look young. Who is the group they are representing?

    Also, if you still are bashing Obama because you want Hillary, please get some therapy.

    August 1, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  15. kwesi

    Hey CNN, why cut off Mr. McCain's question and answer session with the Urban League...right when the questions were getting too tough for the "maverick"...? it was really getting heated in there..huh?... That, I guess, explains the "mysterious" cut-off...interesting!

    August 1, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  16. E. Scott

    First of all it needs to be mentioned that Obama is just as much White as he is Black.

    August 1, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  17. Black & White America

    While McCain is running on Tabloid campaign, Obama is running for One America.-both black & white. We need president like that-cchallenging people to take control and run for offices if you think you can make a change. Don't get fed up, don't ask questions-elect OBAMA . Certainly don't elect tthe faulty, McNut. Defeat the McTabloid and the 8 year useless Bush govt. . Heaven's sake, don't just heckle, I know you are paid by this McInsane. Yes we can and you can too by voting for the OBAMA. .

    August 1, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  18. RealityKing

    The obvious advancements within the black community..., prove these men correct.

    August 1, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  19. Jonathan, Hartford, CT

    Obama is not a Liberal. He is a Progressive Democrat whose elitist views are to the right of John McCain.

    Liberals are turning their backs on him as he has turned his back on women, blacks, and othe Liberal groups.

    August 1, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  20. Paula

    If you are afraid for yourself -then vote for Mccain. If you are absolutely terrified of where America is headed-vote for Obama! While you weren't looking, women's reproductive rights (black, white etc) have been reduced to rubble.

    August 1, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  21. Becky

    The three men are from the Uhuru movement. Look it up. They don't represent St. Pete's African-American community. They presume to speak for all black people here, but all they do is stir up hatred and divisions. They've been doing it locally for years, and now they think they can broadcast their message louder by attacking Obama.

    Obama cannot be everything to everyone. He is only one man.

    August 1, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  22. Peggy - TX

    Weather it be blacks who say he is not extreme enough for them on black issues, or Hillary supports who say he is extreme enough on feminist issues, or environmentalist who say he is not extreme enough for them…

    Three things you can always count on is :

    (1) Republicans lie and will say or do anything to get and maintain power
    (2) The rich are greedy and will trash the environment, keep the workforce low paid and keep the playing field for financial success in this country unlevel.
    (3) Democrat ’s can’t win for losing by shooting down any Candidate with a moderate agenda that has broad appeal across the US and has a prayer of winning a National election election.

    August 1, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  23. Arturo Sierra

    Thank God that some in the African-American community are waking up from thier zompie like trance.
    It's time America and it's media exposes this sorry excuse for a nomanee!!!!
    Latinos and Blacks vote McCain!!!!!!!!!
    P.S. I'm still a proud Democrat, just not proud of our nomanee!!!

    August 1, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  24. JJ

    I saw this and I must say that Obama handled himself (and the protester) very well (despite of what many of you on here may think). He not only addressed the protester but he tackled the issues the protester had. He stood his ground in a calm and professional manner.

    Did anyone hear how McCain got heckled in his town hall with his lame responses to the Urban League.

    August 1, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  25. Shame on YOU!!!

    Sick of Obama's Henchmen August 1st, 2008 11:38 am ET
    Ugh…he's a cult leader. The "yes we can" chants are just plain creepy. Obama will even throw the black community under the bus for his own political gain.Rev. Wright His Church***IDIOT****

    ***YOU are Sick (Cult LEADER)? So a man think it –So is HE***

    August 1, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
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