July 2nd, 2009
04:00 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama: Jackson 'one of our greatest entertainers'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama called Michael Jackson one of the "greatest entertainers" whose talent as a performer was paired with a "sad personal life," in his first comments about the singer since his death last Thursday.

"I am glad to see that he is being remembered primarily for the great joy that he brought to a lot of people through his extraordinary gifts as an entertainer," Obama said in an interview Friday with the Associated Press.

Obama said he grew up on Jackson's music and that "I still have all of his stuff on my iPod."

"I think that Michael Jackson will go down in history as one of our greatest entertainers," Obama also said in the interview. "I think that his brilliance as a performer also was paired with a tragic and in many ways sad personal life."

Obama said he didn't see any controversy over the fact that he didn't issue a statement immediately upon the singer's death. He told the AP that he knows "a lot of people in the black community" and that he hadn't heard anything about it.


Filed under: Michael Jackson • President Obama
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Melissa

    Thank you Mr President. Those were beautiful words and I'm sure his family, friends, and fans, appreciate them.

    July 2, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  2. Bridgette-PA

    "He told the AP that he knows "a lot of people in the black community" and that he hadn't heard anything about it.

    I don't believe the AP. This is not true. Even the animals at the Philadelphia Zoo knew Michael Jackson died as soon as it happened. Obama did not say this to them! They need to stop lieing and trying to get people to call Obama a liar!

    July 2, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  3. The Other Michael in Houston

    Rest in peace M.J.

    July 2, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  4. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    I don't buy that last quote attributed to Barack. What do you mean I know "alot of people in the black community"....

    Lauren must think we are dumb as she looks.

    July 2, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. Niky

    I am happy to see Obama pay this tribute to Michael Jackson. I don't think its too late. R.I.P. MJ...

    July 2, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  6. ONE LOVE

    I am sure this is going to upset the GOP.....as usual!!

    July 2, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. Shirley In California Now On The Fence Re Obama

    While I think Michael Jackson was probably the best entertainer in my lifetime he was not a god and I think people need to realize that.

    July 2, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  8. Carole

    I don't know why the media is trying to make this a news story....so he didn't comment at the exact moment they wanted a statement...get over it! It's not like the President's plate is empty, you know!

    July 2, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. European-American President Obama called Michael Jackson one of the "greatest entertainers"

    President Obama called Michael Jackson one of the "greatest entertainers"
    At least until January of 2009.

    July 2, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. Ann, California

    The President is correct in what he has said about Jackson and he is also correct in saying that there hasn't been any grumbling about him concerning this matter. The media loves to try to stir up something. No one I know in the black community (of which I am a part) has had anything negative to say about President Obama regarding Michael Jackson's death. If anything, we understand that the President's job is his first and foremost priority and he doesn't have to make a statement behind every celebrity that dies (RIP, Michael). I think it's wonderful that he did but if he had not, it would not be a big deal. The man has to run the free world. Media, stop trying to make trouble where there is none and stop trying to pit the black community against our beloved President!

    July 2, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. Lynn

    It is nice to hear Obama speaks out about Michael Jackson. I think MJ is one of the best singer, dancer ever.

    July 2, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  12. JO

    I am so sick of the press microanalyzing every little minute thing down to nanoseconds. JUST STOP IT! It is annoying and ignorant.

    July 2, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. phoenix86

    Obama is the greatest entertainer in American history. He managed to fool the majority of voters into thinking he knew what he was doing and had a plan. A better illusion than Houdini ever did.

    July 2, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. Tony

    Interestingly he can take the time to commerorate Michael Jackson, but he can't take the time or the press does not report his thoughts about the 4 soldiers that recently lost their lives................

    July 2, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. Obama Victim

    from one entertainer to another

    July 2, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. Res ipsa loquitur

    MY GOD! How can Obama possibly take time to say something nice about an entertainer!? This country has so many problems, and he should be working on them every second of every day! Get back to work, Mr. President!

    July 2, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  17. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Thank you for your acknowledgement Mr. President.

    July 2, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. Thin is in?

    Gee Barry, did you "hear anything from the white community" when you said NOTHING when Ed McMahon died?

    Ed McMahon had NONE of the sordid and freakish issues that MJ had, but he DID however proudly volunteer and serve in Korea and was a highly decorated VETERAN who became a Brigadier General, now I realize being an entertainer in some phony uniform trumps someone actually SERVING IN UNIFORM in some of your american idol eyes, NOT ME, a Veteran trumps some entertainment icon any day.

    Sorry, as a fellow veteran, I GET IT.

    McMahon for OVER 40 years co-hosted the Labor Day telethon that raised BILLIONS of dollars that saved thousand and thousands of LIVES.

    Did I also mention the books, radio shows, TV series, commercials and the fact that he was part of the best and most popular late night show EVER?

    No freakshow here Barry, just a great American, we used to hold people like that in higher esteem, but you need to race bait you phony and fraudulent "leader".

    Yeee hee.

    July 2, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  19. deb

    This is just dumb! Why should the president of the United States have to say ANYthing about Michael Jackson's death???!! What... because he's black? Jeez, give me a break. The media just likes to stir up trouble. I agree with what "Ann, of California" says in her post.

    July 2, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  20. AL

    President Obama should thank Michael for making it possible for him to become the first Black President!

    July 2, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  21. Cindy

    As much as I love MJ, and I mourn his death... in the context of life... he was just an entertainer. President Obama's job is to lead our country, not lead our mourning.

    He's already said enough about the subject. Let's let him move on.

    July 2, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  22. GOP Disaster

    Wow I see all of you Obama & MJ haters out there! Hey Thin is in, Obama Victim, what did Ed McMahon do for the black community?NOTHING!!!

    July 2, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  23. WIlly Brown

    Yeah right.....

    July 2, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  24. Jack in Des Moines

    Why do we expect our President to stop everything during his busy day to comment on the passing of every celebrity? True, Michael Jackson was a great entertainer. True, Michael Jackson had some issues....okay some BIG issues, but I still do not believe it is imperative that the President speaks on his passing the moment it happens. It is not a matter of Sate. He has issued a statement prior to the funeral, that should be sufficient.

    July 2, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  25. Jack in Des Moines

    " Wow I see all of you Obama & MJ haters out there! Hey Thin is in, Obama Victim, what did Ed McMahon do for the black community?NOTHING!!! ".....Ed McMahon gave a big break to a lot of talented people – regardless of race – through his show Star Search. The question is.....what have you done?

    July 2, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
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