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. will

    people get a life the president does have to pay his respect to the most popular man of our times. Im sure god can take care of mj past. you know with what cup you pass judgment so shall it be passed to you when you go. he is the president so for all you know it alls out there give some ideas for help not your same old lines. im sure there are men and women in the military thinking about mj today too. get a life and stop with the hate.

    July 7, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    You people just love to whine and cry and complain.

    Move to another country if you don't like this one. He's not sitting there reading My Pet Goat. He is doing something to clean up an 8 yr mess, and cannot do it all in one day !!!

    July 7, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. I laugh at comrade Limbaugh daily

    M.J was loved in every country of the world and all their leaders knew it and didnt try to stop it.His music inspired people to want freedom to dance and sing in the streets.Not one republican can say that.

    July 7, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  4. Chris D.

    MJ, rest in peace.......you're being remembered in love.

    July 7, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. jay

    what else do you propose BH...due respect to a man who did more than your all life combine,we celebrating his life,check your closet inside out and see whats wrong with you negativity and your miserable life in general

    July 7, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  6. former republican

    You know the haters need to back off, this is a memorial day. If you don't want to watch it then get off your computer and/or turn off your tv!

    Michael in Phoenix what about the millions of dollars that MJ donated and raised for children starving in Africa, or those suffering from AIDS. Even two of our past Republican Presidents have honored him. Now grow up!

    Glennis, he gave plenty of himself to the entire world. His addiction (which alot of people suffer some form of) will not be what most of us will remember him for.

    Ed. Was he convicted? Even the boy that settled has since admitted it was all a lie...your disgusting!

    July 7, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. wagon

    Perhaps the President should pay attention to the ineffectiveness of the awful 'stimulus' package that he put together with dems and chicken republicans that wasted 787 billion. Guess what liberals – if there is a next stimulus – it will be mostly tax cuts. And you know why – because they work.

    July 7, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  8. tpbco

    I agree Ed from SF, let us not forget that in our System of Justice,
    "acquitted" is NOT the same as "not guilty". It can just as easily mean "I bought off the witnesses' family.

    July 7, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  9. bglg2005

    Ed, Santa Fe, NM July 7th, 2009 12:14 pm ET

    I wonder how the boys he molested are feeling today
    __________________________________________________

    so innocent till proven guilty means nothing to you does it? I don't even like MJ and I still don't bash a dead man's name with claims he was never found guilty of.

    July 7, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  10. Philly

    You need to RE-READ the piece:

    "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."

    The President didn't just start rambling on about Michael Jackson on his own. I'll bet if a reporter asked Ms. Palin on Friday about MJ – while delivering her somewhat scattered resignation speech, you'd be thrilled that she could at least answer that question thoroughly.

    Get over it already.

    July 7, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  11. D-Nice

    GAH!

    I've been hunkered down in the political pages waiting for the Michael Jackson storm to blow over the main site and hoping I wouldn't have to see his scary mug. I guess there's no escape.

    July 7, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  12. Fair is Fair

    Isn't this just a sugar-coated version of what the New York congressman said yesterday?

    July 7, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  13. SweetSusie

    People need to get a clue. The only reason why Obama spoke about MJ is because he was asked by the media. Stop nitpicking every little thing our President says.

    July 7, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. kishen c.rao

    whatever his personal life, he was a great singer, dancer and it is a god gift, nation lost...It is the time to move on and focus on fixing Health Care...economy, and energy independence...immigration etc., which nation is encountering terrible menaces of lobbyists.......

    July 7, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  15. Marcus, Great Lakes IL

    Geez people,

    Get a grip! The man was asked a question and he responded with an answer, what did you want? Him to ignore the reporter? If he did, you would be all over him like a bum on a bologna sandwich.

    And as far as the solders go, I would ask you to read this month's VVA magazine. Apparently we Veterans owe him respect for what he has done for our cause.

    But then again, you wouldn't know anything of that as you believe what you want regardless of fact.

    Have a great day!!

    July 7, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. bglg2005

    sickofthelibs July 7th, 2009 12:21 pm ET

    How about he pays respects to the US soldiers who died on the same day ?????
    BO doesn't have a clue…thanks libs.
    ____________________________________________________
    bush and cheney have yet to pay respect towards any of our fallen military heroes in eight years, let's try to be unbiased for a change.

    July 7, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. Victor

    Everyone needs to relax. While I agree that the somber fest can be viewed a bit overboard, I totally agree that we should focus a bit more on the eight dead US Service members. But to totally ridicule the President after he answered a question and offered a few thoughts on MJ is completely uncalled for.

    In the eyes of the law, MJ did not molest those kids. I can understand the viewpoint in which he accepted a settlement and it can be seen as a guilty plea. But WE trully don't know what happened. In fact, he was acquitted in full fledged trial....

    July 7, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. ross berg- Buffalo, NY

    While his talents certainly will be long remembered, what strikes me sadly is how he wasted those God given talents on his self absorption and his addictions to drugs and young boys.

    If only he had gotten professional help to overcome those deamons who knows what an inspiration and leader (instead of a recluse) he could have become.

    Very sad story when you boil it down to what really counts!!

    July 7, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  19. Glad when this thing is over

    I for one will be delighted when this funeral is over and done. Of course then we will have weeks of hearing about what the toxicology reports say, who gets the kids, etc.

    Michael Jackson was a human being, a man who just happened to have a talent which he was well paid for. He abused himself due to some emotional disturbance in his life.

    People have said he was a great father unlike Joe Jackson. He claims he was beat. Michael Jackson grew up in a time when parents disciplined their children and it wasn't called abuse. Perhaps people are being too harsh on Mr. Jackson. If anyone abused their children it was Michael by him taking pills and sleeping all day and staying up all night. By shrouding them in public and not giving them a normal childhood.

    I hope his mother will be able to give them all the love that she gave her children.

    July 7, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  20. Rob

    How can Obama be so callous and thoughtless? To rather be spending time talking to a power mad tyrant like Putin instead of honoring the 'King of Pop'! I mean how can we survive in a world without Michael? I know, let's call upon the almighty Barrack! As he is painted by the libs and all the media, only someone like Obama can save us from the dispair we feel over the loss of Michael. He's been looked upon as the saviour of the economy, and look how well that's turning out.

    What's the difference between God and Obama? God doesn't think He's Obama.

    July 7, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  21. Impressed by MJ and BO

    For those of you who criticize Michael Jackson as a pedophile, you simply have no proof. Michael Jackson wasn't just acquitted, but thoroughly exonerated, and his accusers were proven to be liars. That aside, Michael Jackson changed our culture through his music and choreography. Whether you like it or not, Michael Jackson's fame will grow from here, and he will stand with the greats of music history. To ignore that fact, is to show one's complete ignorance of this great musician's impact on our times.

    In addition, Michael Jackson's contributions go on to have cultural implications well beyond music. I have no doubt that his work opened the way for political progress in our nation as well. In recognizing the phenomenon that was Michael Jackson, Barack Obama IS acting presidential. Every president is asked to offer an opinion on the passing of cultural icons.

    In this case, President Obama reflected on a life that was transformative to our nation, yet tragic in its outcome. Notice that he didn't worship Michael Jackson, but gave a clear assessment of his life and impact on our nation and the world. In doing so, I think that President Obama encouraged musicians to excel, but to be careful of the excesses of fame. This was an extremely presidential thing to say. Thank you President Obama.

    July 7, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  22. Fred

    Come on people. It's an important cultural event. He should be allowed to comment on it. Get over yourselves.

    And for the record. Michael Jackson was never convicted of anything. For those of you who think you know what you're talking about (including Rep. King) I suggest you remember that.

    July 7, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  23. Bruce

    Some people! You idiots will jump at any chance to bash the President. How was he supposed to respond to the question? I'm sure it was not on his agenda to comment on the life of Jackson. He did what a human would do. He paid his respects to a dead citizen; a citizen who actually contributed to the American story. He also pointed out that MJ was not perfect. He did this without apotheosizing or castigating him. I believe his response was perfect, and quite PRESIDENTIAL.

    July 7, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  24. Gazam

    Its very simple, do not watch or be part of this event if you do not like what you see. Take your hate, your issues and simply move on.

    I knew that the evils would start to throw this at our President as soon as he started one simple comment. MJ was American and a citizen of the world. If you have no faith as some kind of patriot in our judicial system, then you need to seriously think things over.

    Obama & MJ forever.

    July 7, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  25. jm for sc

    Many of you jumped on President Obama's comment regarding Michael Jackson but ignored the fact that Elvis Pressley and other white entertainers were mentioned. I wonder why? Regardless of what Michael was accused of, he was never found guilty. Therefore, he like all other americans, should be considered innocent until proven guilty.

    July 7, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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