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. Jim Schimmer

    He is so cool!
    He is what he need

    WAKE UP AMERICA B4 IT'S TOO LATE.

    McCain is more of McBush!!

    August 1, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  2. Mr C

    Democracy at work. I love it. But I even love it more the way Barack handled it.

    August 1, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. DariusNLA

    The race card was played by the McCain campaign when they decided to show Obama and then two (2) blond party girls. The intended thought was to make people feel that if Obama wins the Presidency, then people who look different than European Americans will have access to those types of women. Whether it was intentional or not, these inferences were understood by some in America who do not want African Americans to have European Americans as friends.

    August 1, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. Freeze

    Freeze, 2, 3, 4, 5,
    Our team is Barackafide
    6, 7,8,9, 10
    We're going to win
    Yeah we're going to win

    Sorry, just remembering my cheerleading day...

    Obama 08

    August 1, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. Haneef

    It is truely amazing how the only thing that is discussed on this political ticker is the heckler who questioned Obama on the black comunity. I happened to have viewed the whole town hall on CNN Live and Obama discussed issue after issue on the plight of ALL Americans! It's funny how this issue gets the most air play.

    August 1, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. LaShanda

    He has been addressing these issues from the BEGINNING of the campaign.

    August 1, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  7. Jamaal Kansas

    Of Course they were Plants he is running against Republicans they paid them People to do that because Oviously they would have wanted to get there Questions asked if they were really concerned but in the Black Community Barack Obama is a Figure that Represents pride for Black People in the Black Community I thinks Republcan Christ Paid these People to make a scene. More Republican Tactics

    August 1, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. Freeze....

    Freeze, 2, 3, 4, 5,
    Our team is Barackafide
    6, 7,8,9, 10
    We're going to win
    Yeah we're going to win

    Sorry, just remembering my cheerleading days…

    Obama 08

    August 1, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. Jack

    I'll tell you what he wants from the black community, VOTES.

    August 1, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  10. Kevin

    I guess this is what you can expect if you glady accept 92% of black support, they want to know what you are going to do for them.

    August 1, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  11. George from Staten Island

    People must realise that Mr. Obama is not black he is of mixed race, I'd like to know of his accomplishment on the Senate. Thta's the real issue that'll be his resume speaking for him.

    August 1, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  12. Janet, Indianapolis

    Much better than McCain whose security team has learned not to let dissenters in and as a result arrests librarians.

    August 1, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  13. Rice

    That was so obvious. Plants by either McCaine alone and or the former Democratic nominee who still wants to be in the running. Neither one of them can can beat Barack and they are both ending their chances by being dishonest, angry desperate sods. This is laughable if it were not so sad. So obvious.

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

    For you people that suspect this was a "plant", don't rule out that this group could have been a DEM plant. Rational thought would not lead you to this possiblilty, but politics is not rational as we all have witnessed the last 30 years.

    August 1, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  15. crybabies for hillary

    Winning was Hillarys divine right, and since she didn't win
    I'M TAKING MY BALL AND I'M GOING HOME.

    WAAAAH WAHHH

    August 1, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Every crowd has its own madmen....

    August 1, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  17. Voter

    john: Lier

    Have you ever been to an Obama event? When Obama has people behind him they have volunteers who helped set up the event then open the rest of the room to anyone. The Muslim woman thing was a mistake by few misguided volunteers, not Obama's people, not Obama.

    Don't talk if you don't know anything about an issues.

    Like McSame on any issue, he cant talk about them because he knows nothing about them.

    August 1, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  18. Jim in Colorado

    Obama is the man behind the curtain. And like the great OZ, he will offer each of us what we think we need, but already have. Send him back to Kansas, where he belongs.

    August 1, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  19. seyi

    Obama 08. McCain just can't make new being positive like Obama, so he does it the negative way. There you go, you have your options of positive and negative, old and new. The thought, that a foreign president, might be willing to send the United States president an urgent email on a blackberry scares me in McCain's instance, coz he would have no idea what to do.

    How smart america would be to elect a 20th century highlighter in the 21st century. But oh well, we put Bush back in the white house agian and have unemployments and deficits to show for. In everyone'smind, this should not even be a debate. It's shameful that it is one!

    August 1, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  20. Cman

    If obama would just give up now, we would all be able to watch regular tv in the next months instead of watching election jargon... This guy has done nothing but start racial wars all over the country. EVERY day the news has a black issue on the pages.... What is that?

    August 1, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  21. East Coast Cowboy

    You know I remember an election like this not too long ago where the power of the people was stripped away and given to 9 key individuals (the supreme court justices to all you "other Americans" out there). They were given a decision to stop the Florida recount and as political monkeys do the five republicans and four democrats voted along their party lines, enter Herr Bush. There are two lessons we can take from this. One it's a very bad idea to change the rules. And two it's also a very bad idea to not let everyone be represented as how 90,000 African American voters that voted for Al Gore had their voting rights burned to ashes. I don't know who's right and who's wrong. Obama wasn't even on the Michigan ballot so who can say what would have really happened there. But Democrats are running out of time and if they don't pull their act together you'll just be exchanging one tyrant for another.

    August 1, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  22. George

    Why the great hatred readers? I mean, just because someone questions the candidate on issues, they must be "republican plants?" Are you kidding? They might just think that Obama hasn't addressed the issues that they care about adequately enough. The black / African-American community has high hopes for an Obama presidency but they want to make sure that their issues are still a topic of discussion, not just swept aside.

    August 1, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  23. Don

    First, i am a black man.

    Now to suggest that buying a house that you know you cannot afford is an

    attack by the government betrays your "wisdom". We are a minority and

    thus no president can concentrate on solving just our problems, we need

    to stand up, take initiative and be wiser. Who told them O did not face all

    these problems when he was growing up? BHO 08-16: yeah baby!!!!!!!!

    August 1, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. Former g.o.p.

    I can't wait for today's quota of slime from the mccainites.

    August 1, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. Rik

    Indy Voter Here
    At this point we A/Americans act as if we have a choice in who we support. Having demanded or asked for nothing from Senator Obama, other than to be his cheerleaders, other than temporary euphoria what else will we get. I'll tell you, NOTHING. We can't blame him because he hans't promised us anything, he didn't have too.

    To bad those hecklers went about there frustration the wrong way, at least they are not kool-aid drinkers. Some of us, are not falling for this. some of us, wonder why being black candidate in Chicago was a good thing, and now its not.

    Some of us wonder why illegals get drivers licenses and we get nothing. We support him at a 90% clip, and what have we gotten far our support, a candidate who says, "I'm not the Black Candidate"

    Most politicians know that A/Americans are on a Ideological Plantation, and will fight to stay there. Now Senator O, can do or say anything he wants too now, thus his shift. Everybody knows that most A/Americanare not going any where.

    During the primaries When A/Americans were in a position of power and had a chance to demand something, we didn't do it. We got drunk of off kool-aid and were to busy cheer leading. So A/American obama supporter, please don't act like you have a choice, your stuck whether you like him or not. He owes you nothing and you well get nothing.

    August 1, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
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