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. jaye

    I'm heartbroken over this tragedy. And I don't care what the Bill O'reillys of the world say (who are they to judge, anyway?), Michale Jackson was an icon, and will always be.

    July 7, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  2. Respect

    JoeR – so was Elvis. I believe he met and had a relationship with 14 year old Priscilla before he married her.

    Thanks.

    July 7, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  3. RealityKing

    Sad how so many shed tears over Micheal.., 40 years too late. Where were these great admirers when he needed them most??

    July 7, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. Mike Vaughn

    Its amazes me how we can scream lets stop the MJ coverage yet we all have dance or sung his songs.............but its ok to keep give coverage to the GOP and others like Bush and Cheney who tore this country apart and have not helped to repair it....................Now what's wrong with that picture????????

    July 7, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. jaye

    Paris, Michael's daughter, made me cry with her goodbye to her father.
    That beautiful little girl was heartbroken, and rightfully so.
    Now, all you haters stop hating and think of these children who just lost their father.

    July 7, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. Ann

    Yes, Mr. Obama, you are where you are because of people like Michale Jackson. Tragic? of course, considering the media who either loves you or hates you. You are still on the love side, but.. who knows..

    July 7, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  7. Royster

    To be frank: Barack Obama is a much better role model for young adults of ANY COLOR than Michael Jackson ever was.

    Sorry.....but (Obama) caring about the larger world, stiving to change it, and achieving so much as a minority citizen of this country impresses me a lot more than someone who made it rich with all their brothers and sisters (Jackson), sang and danced for a living, and then squandered it all and died too early.

    I only hope when REAL heros of this country pass on they are honored at least as much as the big show going on today on TV.

    July 7, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. Is this it?

    I'm pretty sure this is the begining of the apocalyspe.

    July 7, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. Dominic

    Lets remember he was found innocent and the judge nearly laughed the accusors that EVEN SHOWED UP IN COURT, right out of court!!! MJ donated 500 million to charity, opened a burn unit, and was part of millions and millions of people childhoods, hes a LEGEND!!!!

    July 7, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  10. gl, From Pittsburgh

    President was ask about his take on Michael Jackson and the president responsed. I guest you on here will have complain if his didn't response. President Obama can not win for losing what so of you on here. Al lesat President ain't not quiter like you girl Sara Palin. Quit her job becasue of David Letterman comment.

    July 7, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  11. Alpha and Omega

    Congress woman Jackson Lee was most apro-pro. We don't have the final say-so – therefore we do not judge. We can only refrain from commenting on those gray areas. We should look to the multitude of humanitarian gestures he engaged in, worldwide.
    That he took the time to pay his respects to the military veterans of war and that his giving was not limited is noteworthy.
    We should not expect our President to take the White House to every funeral. The representative was on point!!!! Delegated Authpority is in order! Thank You Mr. President!
    Her comments were in stark contrast to the dim-whit comments of Republican from the other side of the States. Does his benevolence and humanitarianism compare? He should have found a rock instead of YouTube to sound off. How sad for him – shameful.
    With BLACK folks, we find out what people are about in life at their obituary and homegoing. The offence about being singled out or being associated with are not hindrances in death. Drop the drama!

    July 7, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. NYdoc

    Don't make this a black or white thing. Woody Allen is a free man and he married his underage adopted daughter. If you want to chalk it up to fame and furtune, then fine do that.
    You also should know the facts: MJ was tried by a jury of his peers (4 white males and 6 white women, note no minorities) and a white male judge. He was found Not Guilty is a US court of law. By the definition in the US constitution, that means he is Not Guilty. Unless you don't like the constitution. The settlements came later after the criminal case and he settled because he was tired of being dragged through the mud by the media and the people who took advantage of him. Please go back to school and learn to read and write (I pray your hatred for mankind who is different from you lessens as well).

    July 7, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. Free and Thinking in Las Vegas

    Today I listened to Sean Hanitty and some mean-spirited fill-in for Limbaugh and all they had to say is vile, angry, despicable things that just barely concealed their hatred.

    However, It is refreshing to see that somebody with some real influence has something nice to say about the man.

    July 7, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. New Era

    So what you don't like MJ. You still bought his music, Duh?? Stop bashing Obama for multi-tasking. At least he can multi-task. Not like some other presidents. He can deal with Russia as well as the press. Remember, they press asked the question!!

    July 7, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. Pat

    What will it take for people to stop hating. Jesus died for all of us that we might have a right to everlasting life.

    Those of you without sin cast the first stone. I wonder what it will be like for all of you who stand in judgement and hate just because you can when you have to stand before GOD to be judged.

    July 7, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. Lucy in Chicago

    Some of you need to learn how to read. He was asked a question and he answered it the best way he knew how. Give it a rest! Either way Obama can't win. Get a job and then you won't have time to comment on such stupid stuff.

    July 7, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  17. jaye

    Thank you CNN for the excellent coverage of the Micgale Jackson service – it was beautiful.
    Little Paris broke my heart, and Jennifer Hudson is a megastar.
    All the haters over at fox news can pound sand.

    July 7, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. clever by andi

    i am praying for those leaving ignorant comments and for MJ's family, especially. the effect MJ and Obama have on the world is undeniable. peace and blessings.

    July 7, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. Lisa B

    Mr. President Michael did do more than you gave him credit for. He also did wayyyyyyyyy more than the artists you catogorize him with. They spotlight doesn't always have to be on you. Are you mad your ratings are diminishing???

    July 7, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  20. New Era

    The president told the truth. Michael was larger than Elvis, Frank and John, but he had personal problems. As did the other performers. Yeah, he gave away millions to these gold digging parents and ambulance chasers.

    July 7, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. Karen-phoenix

    President Obama said great things about MJ and he grew up with MJ and has ALL is music in is IPOD!! What is wrong with you people??? MJ's memorial was soooooo moving and soooo Christian!
    Listen to the words of "Heal the Earth"–new one by MJ! WE NEED TO LISTEN and save this planet!!

    July 7, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  22. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Reading some negative comments from some bloggers asking the President to get on and focus on fixing the economy; shows me one thing about human nature : selfishness at its worst!

    We have not understood the meaning of a government by the people and for the people : it means we are the solutions! No wonder we keep on saying we get the government we truly deserve! Just as government (since it does represent who we are) does not totally appreciate one's work and words as being the most powerful tool in the present tense that we all have to create more of humanity and not less of it!

    July 7, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  23. Zibra

    I am shocked that our President didn't take 2 min to give his tribute to MJ via video. He shows up in Jay Lenos and other shows for kicks and giggles, yet didn't have the thoughtfulness of giving his 2 min out of his busy day to show what MJ did for the World and not to mention paving the way for his possible presidency. I am huge Obama fan, but today I was just taken back and made me remember that he is just another Politician-human, yes....but not the human kind that MJ was, is and forever will be, so sad : (

    July 7, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. T

    Let it Be. God put his hands on MIchael and we can take our hands off of Michael .

    July 7, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  25. Kelly

    Although I love Don Lemon, I do not feel there is a racial divide regarding Michael Jackson! I am a thirty something white woman from Buffalo, Wyoming. Myself, my sister, brother and cousins LOVED Michael Jackson so much, that our Grandma encouraged us to form the Michael Jackson fan club, where we marched in the annual fair parade with our boom box, attempting to moonwalk and breakdance. We idolized Michael Jackson and his music. R.I.P. MJ.

    July 7, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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