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. hayes

    It is important to understand he is a human. His family is hurting and millions of people around the world are hurting to. All of the comments that are negative need to stop because you are not God so you do not have the right to judge anyone.

    Thank You Very Much!

    June 26, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  2. Curtis

    So ah guys ah did the White House issue a press statement at the passing of James Brown, Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, or any other famous entertainer for that matter? Perhaps he sent a private note to the people how really matter i.e. the relatives. We know MJJ is gone we love and miss him we dont need the POTUS to tell us that

    June 26, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  3. Aarti

    i just think MJ passing away is such a shock to me and every one ... i grew up with his music.... he is a legend that could never be replaced ,,all these new kids on the on block like neyo , justin timberlake, Chris Brown and usher all got their stuff and inspiration from MJ ...

    RIP MJ

    June 26, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  4. Quicha

    I know the nation has a lot of problems, but Michael Jackson paved the way for many african americans including the President. I would think that our President would at least make a statement himself considering he owes so much to Michael. Michael is one of the first black men accepted by all races and ethnicities and deserves a statement from our President. Mr. President you lost me on this one.

    June 26, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  5. judy in wa

    Did Obama send condolences to Farrah Fawcett's family, too? Give me a break.

    June 26, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  6. dwatts

    It is unfortunate that Michael Jaclkson passe away at such an early age. However, his life is worth no more than anybody else out there that has a loved one that has passed away recently that has received NO publicity. In addition, this shows erverybody that follows the CNN website for their news, that this is more of an important story to them than the cap & trade bill that justy passed the house. This bill is going to not only going to cost familys more for their enerbgy needs, but also eliminate jobs. Thanks CNN and thanks to the Obama administration.

    June 26, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  7. Jim Weikel

    Obama has to say this. But, deep down, he rocks the sequined one hand white glove. R.I.P Michael and God Bless You! Today, the only words in my head are, "I'm going to make a change, for once in my life..."

    June 26, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  8. Joe Unger, San Francisco

    Oh come on, BO!
    We need stories and images of you and MJ!!! You two are the 2 biggest celebrities in the world. Jeez, at least do an impression.

    June 26, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  9. Concerned

    So glad to be remembering my youth and Michael Jackson and NOT hearing about Obama!

    June 26, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  10. malclave

    Has Obama released a statement about Provate Long yet, other than the fake AP report?

    Or does a US soldier murdered on American soil not merit Presidential attention because he's not a celebrity?

    June 26, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  11. Dan, IL

    This president has been the most disgraceful person/leader I have ever seen in my life. Perhaps he is sleeping in the white house. More than 24 hours passed with the tragic loss of Michael Jackson and he remained silent. I do not understand why he should remain silent. He is a leader and he has to lead. What a disgrace to our nation.

    June 26, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  12. phoenix86

    Jackson died yesterday. Obama, Waxman and Pelosi began digging a grave for the US economy today.

    June 26, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  13. mark

    how lame of Obama not to issue a statement. Playing politics as always. Classless.

    June 26, 2009 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  14. rolemodel

    Why would the White House even talk about this person? I hope they dont think he was a role model. There are tragedies every day that far surpass this one. He has been on a demise for years. He had the money and power to help himself physically and mentally, and did not do it. His family and celebrity friends also had the money and power to help him, but did not. Why didnt someone help this person?

    June 26, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  15. Texas Teacher

    Despite the wonderful talent that was Michael Jackson.. his life was a tragedy from start to finish. My heart goes out to his children.

    June 26, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  16. John in WV

    I've sang Michael Jackson songs in my head all day. That's never happened before. His Spirit lives on.

    June 26, 2009 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  17. Mr. Mosi

    While it is sad we have lost someone who was truly a musical legend, the President does have far more important things to do. This isn't a national emergency and in his own time, Obama did what he felt was right and I'm fine with that. And to everyone bashing Obama right now, where are McCain, Palin, and Nancy Reagan on statements? After all, Michael was at the White House for Ronald and Nancy Reagan and did donate a song and profits so the Reagans could use it for one of their drinking or drug programs.

    June 26, 2009 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  18. Texas Teacher

    I believe that Obama was presidential in his comments about Jackson.... Obama has much more important issues to consider than the Death of a Pop Star.... no matter how talented or tragic! He's the President of the United States.. for God's sake!

    June 26, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  19. Emma

    A great entertainer, a kind man. No more reason to have a presidential statement than to have one for Farrah, a fine actress, a kind person.

    June 26, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  20. sara

    i really couldn't believe mike J had died...until i saw it really was true.....and...forget about farrah!!she wasn't as big as Jackson!!!! the president's condolences are to jackson so there,that proves he's more important than her!!!!@ least to me and the rest of us....i'd like it if he did comeback but,what kind of music would he do?! maybe it's better this way.....i can't imagine him doing hip-hop.......paparazzi and press are nosie but,then again,how else would we get info? still, privacy IS needed......

    June 26, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  21. Longwolf

    Boy you call CNN and Fox network Liberal media. Man is your menability not menatating.

    June 26, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  22. Jean Jolicoeur (Plantation, Florida)

    It is hard for me to understand why President Obama did not issue a statement offering his condolences following Michael Jackson's death. A great black american singer died and the president remained muted. It's a bit odd. I want to give the president the benefit of the doubt for now, however he needs to come out quickly with a statement before I lose my sympathy for him.

    June 26, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  23. Notfooled

    Dave C – NJ,

    What has your Grandfather done for Millions of people around the world.

    I bet he was one of those cowards who did not speak up during the civil rights movement.

    Michael Jackson brought joy to Millions worldwide through his music. That's why Ronald and Nancy Reagan met with him, so did the Queen of England and others. Did they met your Grandfather???

    June 26, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  24. Notfooled

    Obama you statement should have been kept to yourself.

    What does your wife say about Michael Jackson. Apparently she grew up listening to him and his brothers while you were listening to God knows what!!

    You are a fraud!!

    June 26, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  25. sara

    mike j was a troubled guy but,we've all got issues...his was just bigger.....
    he also was a giving guy,i guess.......sorry janet.......and everyone else whose names i don't know in the jackson family....

    June 26, 2009 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
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