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. RAL

    How about recognizing Farrah Faucetts passing Pres???
    She wa a all american girl admired yes for her beauty but also as a very nice peson with less baggage that MJ
    Not even a few words about he Pres??
    SHAME SHAME SHAME....

    June 26, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. RTB

    Please, Michael Jackoson was an adequate entertainer for some and a disgrace to others. Why does our Pres. need to do or say anything about his death. What Gibbs past on from the Pres. was more than enough and right on.

    June 26, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  3. AUSTIN,TX

    all the president haters,all the president haters, all the president haters, all the president haters, all the president haters, all the president haters are so jealous of President Obama.

    June 26, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  4. Mourning Fan...!

    It's a very very sad day....

    It's even sader that Republicans are on this blog expressing the way the really feel about people that are non-white....Pathetic

    June 26, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. Lynn

    ...and if he had made an announcement rather than sending a private condolences all the people criticizing him would be criticizing him for making a public announcement. You people are becoming too predictable.

    IWhat we should be talking about is CNN making this another huge story instead of waiting for the facts to come out. Always speculation and hype. Just like broadcasting that Neda was 16 and then finding out she was 27. Anything for ratings...no wonder your ratings are slipping. People want factual, objective NEWS not one reality show after another.

    Only show worth watching is GPS.

    June 26, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. Pennie Johnson

    Joe Cool, Karen and illiterate Joanne, you people are why I am so happy I have the attitude I have about people like you. I'll give you three guesses and I'll bet your first one is correct.

    June 26, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. Chris D.

    The comments on here are hilarious...I'll say it again, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush both had this man to the WH and honored him.....
    All Obama is doing is recognizing an iconic figure in music.......there are musical highs MJ touched that will never be matched....At least for 100 years from now.

    June 26, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. Fred Buhl

    Also, related:Farrah Fawcett-Majors was a trooper and an outstanding actor. I immensely enjoyed her performance in Charley’s Angels and regret losing this classy lady to cancer. Words are insufficient to express the sadness I feel this day for the loss we have experienced. Farrah will be truly missed.

    June 26, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. readingcomp

    Frankly, I hope many of you get accused of extremely disgusting acts, so you can spend the rest of your ungrateful lives defending yourselves against false accusations. When your jury finds you "not guilty", I hope your reputations continue to falter and disintegrate. When you die, I hope the false rumors about your behavior outlive your notable accomplishments and that your family buries you in shame. May they buy into the rumors over facts and bury you with a tarred reputation. You disgust me.

    June 26, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. Destroy the Liberal Media

    Michael Jackson was an American institution.

    He was honored by every President from Carter to Clinton.

    He probably would have been invited to the Bush White House if not for that bogus trial.

    The least NObama could have done was issued a lousy press statement.

    Hey, maybe they can put it on his Teleprompter. He'll say anything that's on there.

    June 26, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  11. Justice

    Note to Gibbs and Obama:

    Enough with your make believe compassion. Your a perfect pair.

    Actor and Comedian respectively. The only difference is the delivery.

    Decent compassionate humans have a name for persons of your slant, their called "plastic posers".

    June 26, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. Denna

    @Dave C – NJ My grandfather died…why didn't he get a statement from Obama???
    _________________________________________________________

    Are you stupid or what? Michael Jackson was a world renown entertainer. While I am sure your grandfather was a fine gentleman, not evidenced by your sarcastic nastiness, he was loved by the people around him and was unknown to the world. Don't dishonor his memory in your family by being stupid.

    June 26, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  13. Joyce

    Than goodness President did not issue a formal state re: every entertainer's (yes, that is exactly what Michael Jackson was, nothing more, nothing less) death, he would not have time to address the REALLY big issues of our times. e.g. unemployment, debt, homeless folks on the street, Iran, Iraq, and so forth.

    I also am dismayed that a man of Michael Jackson's reputation is a hero to so many!

    June 26, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  14. matt

    meanwhile Iran government continues to shoot and arrest protesters and North Korea threatens to wipe US off the map and all the media is worried about is the jew hating child molesting jackson

    June 26, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. victor0803

    RIP Mic. can someone tell me what is going on in Iran?

    June 26, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  16. Charles Smith

    It's nice to see that the administration is giving this news the amount of attention it deserves (aka very little).

    June 26, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. Bill/CA

    This is ridiculous. It's good that Gibbs threw the media a bone about the Jackson death, but that's enough. Obama has more important things to do with his time than obsess over the death of an overrated former pop star, as does the media, and so does Congress I might add. Why they felt the need to have a moment of silence is beyond me. The man was a musician, and quite possibly a child predator. Let's keep things in perspective, people.

    June 26, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  18. dr-parker

    Yea it's safe for my kids to play out side now.

    June 26, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  19. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    On the same day, we lost two well known personalities i.e. Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson; my thoughts and prayers are with families and friends and as outsiders we mourn for people for different reason. I remember hw Charlie's Angels was for me a reminder of women do have strenghts of characters as for Michael Jackson I remember Beat it, Thriller and We are the World! I think Michael Jackson represents with his own musical talent the love and peace that John Lennon represented with his own musical talent! Except, Michael Jackson represents also a life where he never got unconditional love that he, just like every human being on this earth truly deserve to live and it is unfortunate how for maybe the very first time he truly found peace! God Bless his soul!

    June 26, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  20. Barry is my Hero

    @ Simp

    "Gibbs doesn't take any crap from the media"

    I cannot stop laughing. I might actually hyperventilate!

    When has the Obama administration EVER taken any crap from the media. The answer would be never. They are disgustingly in love with everything he does!

    Don't believe me. How about the fly swatting nonsense a couple of weeks ago? Wow look how fast Obama is! Amazing! He can actually swat a fly that was probably slow and disoriented from being inside to begin with! Then to top it all off this crap was on every network like he was the reincarnation of the super hero The Flash

    June 26, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. gary in OK

    There must be no US or world news worth reporting since yesterday afternoon, as all CNN has shown is the Jackson death. This shows that CNN is strictly for the ratings and not the news. CNN is turning into the National Inquiror of television.

    June 26, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  22. Tulsa

    Man, you people are truly disgusting.
    Irrespective of his behavior, his family still grieves. He was an icon of popular culture.
    I won't speak ill of the dead for the family's sake. The President is merely showing the same respect.
    Grow up and move on.

    June 26, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  23. Terry

    I know there are the Republicant's who get a little wet in the middle when you start talking about succesful minority performers. If the selfrighteous will just come down to earth long enough to see that their poop really DOES stink... we would all be much more happy here on earth.

    June 26, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  24. Glennis

    Excuse me, but why should there be any "statement" about Jackson's death? Sure, it's sad that he turned into such a whack job and it's sad that he died this young, but in the grand scheme of things, how much more important was he than all the people in towns all over the country who do good things for their communities everyday? And without all the fanfare and hype! Get a grip on reality, folks.

    June 26, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  25. Pat, CA

    . . . yet there was an ENTIRE White House event dedicated to Stevie Wonder !!!!!!!!!

    Clearly, Michael Jackson's life was troubled and bizarre, and I'm not of the generation to which MJ's music "spoke."

    Still, the fact that so many Americans seem to be extremely saddened by MJ's death - you'd think the president would have issued a personal statement - if not so much for MJ, then at least to acknowledge the loss these people feel.

    I dunno, maybe it's just me - but it seems Obama is just a little too slow and a little too late to "get it" on all sorts of things.

    June 26, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
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