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. 60's survivor

    doesn't matter what potus said or didn't say. this is a ridiculus discussion. let it be

    June 26, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  2. Patman

    I'll bet all my money that the same forever-angry, hateful harpies on this blog right now worshiped the very ground that pill po;;ing overeating Elvis Presley and wife beating alcoholic Babe Ruth walked on. It's not the media who needs to get a life, it's YOU!

    June 26, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. Jean

    It's increasingly difficult to take the Washington press corps seriously.

    As far as comments about quick or slow response...it's important to remember how click-of-a-button technology affects us. We expect instantaneous everything. Most of us skim information, hope we've got the gist of it and form snap opinions. It would be a really bad thing for world leaders to do that.

    June 26, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  4. rdm

    i see another princess di & the queen incident brewing here! obama & his press people is going to regret this

    June 26, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  5. Sean

    Why wasn't there a formal statement about Michael Jackson? Maybe because they're trying to revive our comatose economy, trying to get an environmental plan passed, dealing with the crisis in Iran, and working on improvements to our health care system? Maybe? The reporters that "pressed" Gibbs on a statement about Michael Jackson should be fired and never allowed to report again. What idiots.

    June 26, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. CAMI

    CNN – PLEASE POST THIS COMMENT!

    Come on people! What about Ed McMahon? What about Farrah Faucett? I can't believe you think the President should spend his time issuing individual statements every time an entertainer dies. I think that Gibbs comments were appropriate. That being said, I was sad to hear about MJ's death yesterday (he was way too young to die) and am very sorry for his family. I agree that he was a wonderful entertainer and tremendously talented, but I also think that the word "icon" should be reserved for less controversial figures. He definitely had his problems and I agree with the commentator on TV yesterday who called him a "troubled soul".

    June 26, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  7. Geoff Maguire.

    That's it I've had it. First he goes soft on the Iranians and refuses to start a 3rd war in the middle east. Now this.. A REAL AMURICAN president would have bombed Neverland by now... Barry we hardly knew ye....

    Where is John McCain when we need him?

    June 26, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  8. Cliff

    Jackson is like a puter.
    GARBAGE IN.....GARBAGE OUT!
    Ofcourse, Obama would know about that stuff!

    June 26, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. Elmer

    Hey Robert, how about condolences for all of the Americans who go to work everyday and die without the fanfare. What a crock of ... Hollywood has moved to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Another Randy Quaid in Caddyshack 2 for this idiot. I predict 6 more months and he will be replaced.

    June 26, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  10. Jeff from Atlanta

    sorry obama didn't mention MJ. The teleprompter must be broken.

    June 26, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  11. Rick

    A lot of you need to grow up. Really.
    Stop hiding behind your monitors spitting stupidity and just plain........grow up!

    June 26, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  12. Sherrie F, Eugene, Oregon

    Why is the media so concerned about what President Obama has to say about Michael Jackson when the media hasn't ever even mentioned that Michael Jackson is in the Genius Book of World Records for donatiing to 39 charities.. the most by a single person! I want to know which of these 39 charities he chose to donate to MUCH more so than what the White House has to say about this loving, giving and gifted soul! Not one mention of what Mr. Jackson did for so many charities is so very sad and SHAMEFUL of the media!

    June 26, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  13. Denna

    @StewB June 26th, 2009 3:15 pm ET – 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. . . . .
    ________________________________________________________
    You are a sad, sad person StewB. If you don't like President Obama, fine, but don't lie on him and tell half truths. Oh, sorry, you're a conservative. Half truths are like a second language to you people. Disgusting.

    June 26, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  14. Destroy the Liberal Media

    No one is asking that NObama gives another one of his overly-rehearsed speeches from his Teleprompter, nor have a 2 hour White House Special hosted by ABC. No one is asking for a monument to be placed on Capital Hill All I'm saying is that a simple press release acknowledging the passing of such a public figure would go a long way. Everyone knows that the President doesn't even write these things, get a staffer to do it.

    June 26, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  15. sifto77

    why would Obama be commenting on Michael Jackson?

    June 26, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  16. Big Ed

    Hey, "Destroy The Liberal Media"

    Did you skip your medication this morning?

    June 26, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  17. Destroy the Liberal Media

    No one is asking that NObama gives another one of his overly-rehearsed speeches from his Teleprompter, nor have a 2 hour White House Special hosted by ABC. No one is asking for a monument to be placed on Capital Hill All I'm saying is that a simple press release acknowledging the passing of such a public figure would go a long way. Everyone knows that the President doesn't even write these things, get a staffer to do it. At least take note of the massive outpouring of greif that the nation is doing now.

    June 26, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  18. Albo58

    Perhaps we can change 16 Pennsylvanis Ave to Michael Jackson Way? The news coverage over this washed up, wacked child molester has been nauseating! Of course Michael was talented and of course a lot of his problems can be attributed to his parents and his unbringing, BUT enough already!

    June 26, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  19. Paul

    Dave C – NJ

    Your grandfather wasn't a pedophile that's why our Prez didn't give
    a statement to you.

    June 26, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  20. Dan

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

    He should have said "Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, North Korea, terrorism, the economy, the environment, health care, the car industry, working on getting a supreme court justice confirmed, immigration, international trade, ........"

    June 26, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  21. Jason

    Obama is connected to Michael Jackson. Obama's campaign manager was Jesse Jackson Jr and Jesse Jackson is very close to Michael Jackson's family.

    June 26, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  22. Big Ed

    Did anyone else hear Michael Jackson's brother make mention of Allah is his statment to the press? Where are all the pointy-headed narrow minded, ultra "fright" wing nut-jobs on that one? I'll bet if President Obama had said it, you would be storming the White House!

    June 26, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  23. Struga

    He died as a muslim

    June 26, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  24. SF, Eugene, Oregon

    So many people and the media are so self-absorbed and mean! It is getting so very tiring, old and sickening!

    June 26, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  25. Neil K, CA

    "Why wasn't there a formal statement by the White House?"

    I can almost hear Robert Gibbs' thoughts: "Let's see... Iran, North Korea, health care, the economy, Afghanistan, Iraq... maybe because President Obama's a little busy right now?"

    Seriously, whoever asked why there was no formal statement should lose their press pass. Just because the media is obsessed with this story doesn't mean the White House is.

    June 26, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
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