June 26th, 2009
08:00 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama sends condolences to Jackson's family, says Gibbs

Robert Gibbs said he talked to President Obama Friday morning about the death of Michael Jackson.
Robert Gibbs said he talked to President Obama Friday morning about the death of Michael Jackson.

(CNN) - President Obama thinks Michael Jackson was a "spectacular performer" but also a man with aspects of his life that were "sad and tragic," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Friday.

"I talked to him about it this morning," Gibbs said in the White House's first reaction to Jackson's death. "Look, he said to me that obviously Michael Jackson was a spectacular performer, a music icon. I think everybody remembers hearing his songs, watching the moon walk on television during Motown's 25th anniversary."

"But the president also said, look, he had aspects of his life were sad and tragic," Gibbs added. "His condolences went out to the Jackson family and to fans who mourn his loss."

Gibbs was quickly pressed over why the White House did not issue a formal statement on Jackson's death.

"Because I just said it," he said.


Filed under: Michael Jackson • President Obama • Robert Gibbs
soundoff (224 Responses)
  1. Dave C - NJ

    My grandfather died...why didn't he get a statement from Obama???

    June 26, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  2. New Era

    The Press At It Best. I'm glad Gibbs has backbone.

    June 26, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  3. Shasta

    "Gibbs was quickly pressed over why the White House did not issue a formal statement on Jackson's death. "

    Because there are more important things concerning the POTUS right now.

    June 26, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. GI Joe

    Hey – representatives are having their "moment of silence" and just the other day had their hours to work on foreign resolutions.

    Let SOMEONE work for this nation, for heaven's sake. It's not like we're paying them for nothing.

    Oh wait --

    Guess we have been paying them for foreign resolutions and tv camera time bickering.

    June 26, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  5. yuri

    White house will take its time to respond to Michael's death at the appropriate time. Though it is quite unfortunate that it is a rude shock to all of us, everything should be done in a timely manner, and not under pressure.

    June 26, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  6. Fred Buhl

    I can appreciate President Obama's comment. I am glad he sent his condolences to Michael Jackson's family. I never knew Michael Jackson, but I wish I had. I experienced his music and his songs. I’ll Be There is a beautiful song. Thriller changed my life. Michael seemed complex and sensitive. He was a musical genius and an icon. His childhood was lost to him. He was human. He made mistakes. He touched the lives of millions, and gave us all he had. Though I never knew him, I feel as though I did. He was my friend, and he shall be sorely missed.

    June 26, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  7. Angus McDugan

    How about Farah?

    June 26, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. Samantha

    Good one the press is so stupid.....

    June 26, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. ashley

    Gibbs is so full of it. "Because i said it"??wow, how about just admitting the truth once in awhile.

    June 26, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  10. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    That's appropriate. I hope Obama does the same thing for my wallet when he gets through stealing everything out of it to give to George Soros, ACORN and the unions.

    June 26, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. concen

    Michael was a great loss for the world and more so for the usa

    June 26, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. StewB

    It is very sad that the first Minority President of the United States took a day to issue condolences to one of the greatest musical entertainers in American history is sad. Obama is a political Hustler. If he stop kissing up to rogue regimes he would have found the time to send his regards to the family. It's a shame when other world leaders send their regards, but the U.S. President decides it is not important enough or his time. Obama has faults just like all humans so to speak of sadness in Michael's life is an insult to mankind.

    June 26, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    i feel sorry that OBAMA is afraid to issue statement for the lost of our icon. M. Jackson.

    June 26, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  14. Jenn, Philadelphia

    What about Farrah Fawcett? No condolences for her family? Hmm, I wonder why.

    June 26, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. Brandon

    Shame on the White House§

    Such ignorance!!!

    Same on you Obama!

    June 26, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  16. Don, NY

    Rude and disrespectful. Not that I expect anything better from Obama.

    June 26, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. ANN

    We also lost Farrah Fawcett.

    June 26, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  18. Idiot Boy

    Awwwwwwww how sweet. You mean he didn't say that he inherited the problem? Or better yet, it's all Bush's fault.

    Amazing. I guess when they say you can learn something new everyday it applies to the chosen one as well.

    June 26, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  19. Chandra

    Obama's silence is indicative of something, not sure what, but it troubles me...culturally tone-deaf, straddling the political fence, making moral judgments, not sure but I think it's weird and I've been a big supporter of his.

    June 26, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. joanne

    for as strange aas Michale was he sue did write soe nice sons.. his actions wee always a little to be unnderstood tho.

    June 26, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  21. Adam

    Uh oh.. Obama waited until the next day! How dare he!

    I can't wait to hear about that.

    June 26, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  22. Maria

    If this is considered a formal statement then Obama is one cold President.

    June 26, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  23. Sandra, I'm With The Prez

    With everything that's going on in the world, I think Gibb's statement for the president, is enough. Everyone thought Michael was a super entertainer and he gave the world a lot of good music.

    That's enough from the president, his family is grieving. Leave them alone, so they can grieve in peace.

    June 26, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  24. frogprof

    Why SHOULD the president make a statement about Jackson's death?! He was neither a statesman nor anything else but a CELEBRITY - he was famous for having [in my opinion] some talent [although HE WAS NOT THE MESSIAH!!] and for being a freak. The presidency is not a bully pulpit for CELEBRITY.
    Just remember, Paris AND Perez Hilton are both "celebrities" - would you expect the president to comment on their deaths?
    Yeesh.

    June 26, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. tiffany

    since when does the white house issue formal statements about celebrities death. Is the media mad they didn't issue one sooner? it's not really a political matter. maybe they didn't issue a formal statement sooner cause they are trying to fix health care, the economy, the war...GEEZE!!!

    June 26, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
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