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. Get Real

    Geez.,..the PRESS asked the question, he did NOT just start talking about MJ. You people will not give the President ONE ounce of respect ever for ANY reason...it's just Socialist this, Liberal that...STOP labeling and start actually thinking for yourself. I don't agree with everything Obama has done but give the man a chance...in two years if things are not better, then work to have him not be re-elected.

    July 7, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. WeThePeopleOfVA

    jm for sc . . . innocent like OJ.

    July 7, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. Doyle - MI

    It's nice to have a president we can respect. God bless you and your family.

    I hope that MJ find peace from the hate in this world.

    July 7, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  4. MC

    In response to Michael M's comment about whether MJ contributed anything worthwhile. He absolutely did. He is listed in the Guiness Book of world records as having donated to the most charities and has started several of his own. On top of that, he is the only artist I know of who wrote music that actually promoted a positive message of tolerance and peace – Heal the World, Black or White, Man in the Mirror, We are the World, Earth Song etc. He influenced a generation of people like myself with his music and his message to try to have a positive impact on the world.

    Obama was asked the question and CNN published his answer. Give the guy a break.

    July 7, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. JoeR

    for anyone using the "innocent until proven guilty" excuse, USE YOUR BRAIN.

    Everyone knows he was a pedophile, so stop obsessing over him. He settled out of court in the early 90's. By all accounts, this is an admission of guilt because he had plenty of money to fight and win a legal battle.

    He was a great performer, excellent singer, and one of the best dancers in history, but come on! You MJ apologists make me sick.

    July 7, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  6. lilli

    settling out of cour and paying off your accuser does not equate to innocence.

    July 7, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. JT

    As my Father used to say, "life is for the living" so can we just bury this poor soul and move on with the art of living! His life was a media frenzy. Why not let him rest in peace?

    July 7, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. James

    In the 90 there was no aquital because there were no criminal charges. He could have won the civil suit against him but decided to settle. There is a clear difference between civil cases and criminal cases the latter requires evidence something prosecutors did not have. The second case he decided he would fight and he won that says something to me. Was he guilty? Who knows but by law he was not.

    July 7, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. not-unAmerican

    there we go again !

    July 7, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. AUSTIN,TX

    lilli-nor does settling out of court equate to guilty

    July 7, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. Asian woman in CA

    Michael was innocent, he should be respected.
    I believe you are now in a better place, this world is not bad but people have made it bad.

    July 7, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  12. TCM

    MJ went downhill after Thriller....he's gone, and can't say it's too bad.
    Hey Dutch, King's words were a little rough.....but true. The real heros are elsewhere, not in the media like Obama and MJ...they're just celebrities...

    July 7, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  13. gmighty1

    For those rebub pricks that feel since michael is not a president that he shouldnt be getting all this coverage ...I guarantee you that you cant find 1 person in europe, iran, africa italy ect that could name 1 president from our country 30yrs ago but I guarantee everyone know of Michael so respect that fact and get over your pitiful selves and get ready for those FEMA trailor camps we have waiting for you after all that is where traitors to the USA REBubs Just say NO attitude will end up

    July 7, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  14. David S. Robins

    Thank God he is being buried today. Let's hope that is the end of it, but it probably won't be. Please media, spare us any more.

    July 7, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  15. Takeshi

    MJ,did alot more than any musician. Giving back more than $500M, supporting 39 Charities(Guiness book of record). Raising $100M for Africa food relief,Kosovo opharns.etc. What did Elvis do?and what hav u done? Let him rest in peace

    July 7, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  16. Nick

    Barack Obama was briefly answering a question by a journalist, should he have said "NO! next question!" ??

    Nothing but garbage coming from the so-called conservative camp, "socialist this" "liberal that" " etc....
    And yeah, let's stop the MJ coverage for God's sake, there are more important things going on right now!

    July 7, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  17. Hey, in Russia talking about MJ

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    The only reason Pres O is talking about MJ is because the amateurish CNN reporter ASKED him to comment on it. So take it up w/CNN. Also, how do you know the world is not interested in Pres O's take on MJ? So many of my fellow Americans are so presumptious and have become such "know it alls! My, my…

    July 7, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. NY republican

    @gmighty1 – breathe!!! Republicans or Democrats have nothing to do with this. Just some people would like to believe that there is real news out there. Either that or Ed McMahon, Farrah Faucett and other recently deceased (white) celebrities might deserve some equal time.

    July 7, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  19. msg

    Michael's brother just said it best...maybe now people will "leave him alone"...now that he's dead.

    Those of you who think so ill of him, and hate him, and think it's not important...you can rejoice....he's dead.

    For the rest of us who loved him and respected him, our prayers are with each other.

    If you didn't love Michael, and you thought he was such a terrible person and a waste of time...

    GET OFFLINE AND WATCH SOMETHING ELSE ON TV. Show some type of respect, do us all a favor and SHUT UP. You can go back to being hateful tommorow...

    Today is not yours...its ours....

    We love you Michael
    RIP

    July 7, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  20. jnj

    hey JoeR, if your a parent and your kid was molested you wouldn't just settle out of court, you would push the issue, obviously they didnt proof that they were only after his money....RIP Michael, you will be forever missed

    July 7, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  21. enough

    To JoeR,

    I'm sure he settled out of court because it was far more deprimental to his health to go through a long drawn out trial. I do not believe for one sec he did those things he was accused of. It was just a malicious money hungry parent looking for a free ride.

    July 7, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  22. kay

    Am not here to judge, but "Thriller" and "billie Jean" and the earlier songs were great dance music. Thanks, RIP and, media, could we stop now? Delete Palin while you're at it. Thanks!

    July 7, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  23. reality in AR

    I LOVE YOU MICHAEL! Enough said.

    July 7, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  24. Kentucky boy

    President Obama I pray that the ugly comments you made about a legend such as MJ don't come back to haunt you in your political career. You should know from experience that people will do anything to gain money from the wealthy. It was not the children but the lust for money from their parents that started all of the accusations anyway. To all the haters: MJ is in a better place far from the critics of this world. The truth of the matter is (Dirt can't call Dirt Dirty). Sweep around your own front door................................
    I guess Obama would say the same thing about Bill Clinton toooooo.

    July 7, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  25. Claudia in Houson

    Michael Jackson left beautiful children behind and hopefully they will continue his legacy of love and peace around the world. STOP THE HATING.

    July 7, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
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