January 24th, 2009
12:30 PM ET
8 years ago

Will Obama have to be better because he's black?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/24/obama.pressure/art.obama.jpg caption="President Obama strides into history as the nation's first black president."](CNN) - Just days before he was sworn in, President Obama was giving his daughters a tour of the Lincoln Memorial when one of them pointed to a copy of Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address carved into the wall.

Obama's 7-year-old daughter, Sasha, told her father that Lincoln's speech was really long. Would he have to give a speech as long? Obama's answer was completed by his older daughter, 10-year-old Malia.

"I said, 'Actually, that one is pretty short. Mine may even be a little longer,' " Obama told CNN recently. "At which point, Malia turns to me and says, 'First African-American president, better be good.' "

The story is light-hearted, but it touches on a delicate question: Will people hold Obama to a different standard because he is the first African-American president?

Full story

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (181 Responses)
  1. Amber

    Y E S.

    January 24, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  2. Thomas

    I like the people who are now claiming that President is not black as he is 1/2 white as if that somehow means anything.

    It is really a simple question to answer. If Barack was an adult in the 1960's, what washroom would he have been forced to use? 40+ years ago there was no such thing as "half black". All black or half black, in the 1950-60s you had to use the "colored" drinking fountain.

    Barack, identifies as black, therefore he is the first black president. You don't have to like it, but you have to accept it.....if you are an American that is.

    The real question is: Who cares? Barack is a man who was elected President. That is really all there is to it.

    Barack may be held to a different standard, but this new standard has less to do with his colour and more to do with the changing attitudes of the American public. We will hold Barack to a higher standard because we held Bush to a lower standard and we are paying the price for lowering the standards for President.

    January 24, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  3. Disgusted

    Should they? No.

    Will they? Most likely.

    January 24, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  4. Voted for change in Texas


    January 24, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. The Real Issue

    The President was held at a different standard when he entered the race for the presidency. President Obama is up to the task and America will see that he will be the one of the greatest if not the greatest president we ever had. Prior to the inauguration, the anticipation was electric not only in this country but throughout the world. There are high expectations with patience because of the inept leadership of Bush/Cheney.

    Once things are transacted and voted on, you will see a confidence that hasn't been around since the days of FDR.

    The President is the right person at the right time!!

    January 24, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  6. notmpresed

    Enough already! Let's forget what color skin he has and see what kind of job he does just as a president.

    January 24, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  7. Lauren

    Ohhh, now lets see what Michelle has to say about this.
    She is upset over a toy company using her daughters as a way to cash in on the Obama children, and she is throwing fits.
    BUT, when it suits the cause, by promoting her black husband who is now president, lets see if exploiting the childrens words are a bad thing.
    You can not have it both ways Michelle, if your going to take words spoken at a private moment by your daughters, then use them in a PUBLIC format, then you can not sit back and complain because you want your daughters protected and out of the public eye.

    Or will it be whenever it serves YOU and Barrack the most you will not mind having your daughters front and center?????????

    January 24, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  8. Meka

    Answer to the question, is yes. Most American's think "A Black Man is NOT QUALIFIED to be President of the United States"

    I've got news for them–A Black Man is BETTER QUALIFIED !

    January 24, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  9. Arcayla

    Of course, and he knows that. So he definitely will do everything in his power to be a great president. Not only because he is black, but he's also a perfectionist.

    January 24, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  10. Robin the Republican

    We don't know what type of president he will be yet. However, I will be judging him on policies. Not color.

    January 24, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. SB

    My understanding is that Abraham Lincoln was the first black president.

    January 24, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  12. 30m-PA-Democrat-voted Clinton then McCain

    Don't forget he's half white. I wonder if his daughters realize this?

    January 24, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. Texas Teacher

    Let's at least give him 3 months before you try to tar and feather him on the white house lawn! Let's keep the white sheet and cone hat crowd out of the spot light.

    We all know that they will criticize and do all in their power to keep Obama from doing anything what so ever. They will criticize him every step of the way. But don't forget... they are the MINORITY of American Citizens... they do NOT speak for most of us!

    January 24, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  14. Chipster

    No. And I'll add that he doesn't have to do much to be better than what we've had for the past 8 years. He has inherited a mountain of problems but the opportunity for improvement is great.

    January 24, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. David

    The old saying was that a black man had to do the job twice as good. But if we compare him to Bush he will need to be 5 times as good because he has left us in bad shape. I hope that we have move on from that and only judge a person by his performance.

    January 24, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  16. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Obama's title is President Obama and not President African-American Obama. I don't recall seeing Bush's title or any other presidents title President Caucasion Bush. Stop the stupidity, we have an economic crisis.

    January 24, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  17. Rave


    January 24, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  18. Perusing-Through


    January 24, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  19. jay

    He already has................

    January 24, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. MarcoPolo

    Obama will have to be better,..NOT because he is black, ...NOT because many (myself included) were critical of the previous administration,... NOT because much of the public has either turned against George W. Bush or never even liked him,...but because things are in a mess, and whoever whould have won the election would have thier hands more then full.

    Things are going to get worse before they get better,....

    THAT is why he will have to be better.

    January 24, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. Comment

    I think this question will be answered on an individual basis; because I don't see Obama adding this ridiculous pressure on his self. I don't see Obama wasting his time by identifying with this question.

    I think it’s very refreshing that our president has his own "mind" about who he is and what he needs to do. He doesn’t get caught up in such "childish" questions or give it any credence. He’s proven this time and time again. I think this is a question that some people will be asking and answering on their own time, not Obama's.

    January 24, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. BettiH. Indianapolis, IN

    Oh yes...He will have to prove himself at a higher level, Look at what happened during the primaries, Hillary attacked in the lowest of ways, but Obama didn't stoop to her level, but had he went on a rampage like Hillary, he would have been labeled too forceful and harsh on Hillary.

    January 24, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. Penny

    Yes and no! He appeals to many people because of his character and he appeals or does not appeal to some because of his color. However, I believe Obama could care less how people see him and is more concerned about the issues. If people are smart they will support this President because the United States is in terrible shape. It will take more than a President to get this country back on track. It will take the full support of all Americans especially if they want their children to have a decent future. Obama is not a miracle worker or a great God. He is a simple man who is bi-racial trying to fix the horrible mess we are in. He has children of his own and no time to worry or care what people think about his color.

    January 24, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. aware

    Obama is biracial! Michelle is black! So far Barack Obama is totally out of touch with Americans! 🙁

    January 24, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  25. elsie

    What a dumb question.

    January 24, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
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