July 7th, 2009
02:38 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama: MJ's talent mixed with tragedy

President Obama on Tuesday called Michael Jackson a 'core part of our culture.'
President Obama on Tuesday called Michael Jackson a 'core part of our culture.'

MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) – As millions around the globe prepared to watch the public funeral of Michael Jackson, President Obama told CNN on Tuesday the entertainer's legacy will be a man who had extraordinary talent "matched with a big dose of tragedy."

In a CNN interview focused on his diplomatic efforts at a two-day summit in Russia, Obama took a question about Jackson's cultural impact and called him "one of the greatest entertainers of our generation."

"I think like Elvis, like Sinatra, like the Beatles he became a core part of our culture," Obama told CNN. "His extraordinary talent and his music was matched with a big dose of tragedy and difficulty [in] his private life and I don't think we can ignore that."

But Obama added it's important to "affirm what was the best of him and that was captured by his music."

"Music that Michelle and I listened to from the time we were little kids," said Obama. "I remember listening to 'A, B, C' when I was 8 or 9 or 10, and he kept on producing extraordinary music for years after that."


Filed under: Michael Jackson • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. in Russia, talking about Michael Jackson

    are you kidding me Obama?

    you need to slow down, I am a supporter of yours, but do not throw decorum out the window

    Michael Jackson is not the subject when you have the world's attention in Russia

    I never thought I would write it, ACT PRESIDENTIAL

    July 7, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  2. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    I wonder how the boys he molested are feeling today

    July 7, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. Really

    Lets move on. Mr. President, please focus on jobs and our economy.

    July 7, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  4. Matt

    Don't forget that it's the press that's asking the questions. It's not like Obama wants to talk about MJ.

    July 7, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. Obama better stop all this nonsense.....

    and get to work on getting us a Swine Flu vaccine before winter arrives.

    If anyone studied the influenza pandemic of 1918, they'd know that the flu is probably coming back with a vengeance this winter and may kill an untold number of Americans.

    For some strange reason, this has dropped out of the news even though it's a major problem in countries experiencing Winter right now like Australia and Argentina.

    July 7, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Thank you for the eloquent words Mr. President. Rep. King can learn a thing or two about being tactful from you.

    July 7, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    I am disappointed at the presidents remarks, micheal's personal life is in questioned. shame on you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 7, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. sickofthelibs

    How about he pays respects to the US soldiers who died on the same day ?????
    BO doesn't have a clue...thanks libs.

    July 7, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. John

    Yes- act presidential. I know your real job is collecting votes; but, maybe less moments of silence and statements propping up a pedophile's legacy and more action on getting Russia to help with Iran or a moment of silence for the 8 soldiers killed in Afghanistan the last 2 days.

    July 7, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. David

    He was a Good Entertainer.

    Thats it, Nothing More.

    July 7, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  11. Megan

    Come on people! Of course he doesn't want to talk about Michael Jackson while he's in Russia. The idiot, one-track minded press asked him about it.

    July 7, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  12. Realistic

    @Matt: You hit the nail on the head. Nothing more to say, you said it all...

    July 7, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. Anon

    His cultural impact?? Well lets see – he proved that no matter how despicable the things you do are that you can indeed buy yourself out of jail....

    July 7, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  14. David

    The President was asked a question. You have to be extremely ignorant to think the President has done NOTHING while in Russia. A few words of reflection or comment does not equal " doing nothing".

    July 7, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. Ray from Nashville

    He's doing his presidential duty and that includes making statements about an entertainment icon.

    July 7, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  16. Hey Ed,

    He wasn't convicted, at least he stood trial and didn't run like the Catholic church and their rape room enterprise.....

    July 7, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  17. RMD

    Oh no...you mean President Obama spent a few minutes addressing the death of someone who has had an incalculable impact on our country...how dare he! Jesus Christ people, give the man a break. We gave George W. Bush a break for the majority of his presidency and he was in office for 8 freakin years. President Obama has been in office for 6 months and has been working tirelessly to deal with one of the worst situations possible for a new President to inherit and you want to whine and cry because he talked about something non-political for a minute? Get a grip. Hope you hold yourself to the same standards...yeah right.

    July 7, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. Diane

    In Russia - Chill man. The President was asked a question and he answered it. He did not go off on a tangent, he simply answered the question and moved on. In other words – he acted Presidential.

    July 7, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    Enough of this Michael Jackson media coverage already. He was an entertainer, and not all that great. He certainly did not have the same vocal range that Elvis and others had or have. He was "overpaid" the same as most of our "professional" athletes are today. Has he contributed anything really worthwhile such educating our youth about not using drugs (of any kind, prescription or otherwise)?

    July 7, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. Glennis

    Enough with the Michael Jackson wall to wall slobber fest. He had talent. He abused his body and his potential for good in the world. He was a whack job. Move on to something more uplifting.

    July 7, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. Mrs. B.

    There is absolutely no reason to attack the President for making a comment about MJ. In FACT, the comment was an ANSWER to a QUESTION posed by a reporter.

    July 7, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. Cliff

    How sad.
    He pays respect to a pervert and ignores a decorated war hero such as Ed McMahon.
    Am I surprised?
    Ofcoure not. Wouldn't expect anything less from our muslim leader!

    July 7, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  23. DD

    These sound like the words of another elected official who doesn't trust our judicial system. And this one's an attorney too! I would like BO to explain what "big dose of tragedy" he refers to, rather than making that underhanded claim that says nothing.

    July 7, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. DD

    These sound like the words of another elected official who doesn't trust our judicial system. And this one's an attorney too! I would like BO to explain what "big dose of tragedy" he refers to, rather than making that underhanded claim that says nothing, but implies a great deal.

    July 7, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. Duh?!

    Did you guys not read the part where he was asked a question about M.J. from one of the reporters as he was taking questions about his trip. I'm sure talking about M.J. was the last thing on his mind. He just responded to a reporters question.

    July 7, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
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