June 26th, 2009
08:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama sends condolences to Jackson's family, says Gibbs

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/20/art.gibbs.gi.jpg
caption="Robert Gibbs said he talked to President Obama Friday morning about the death of Michael Jackson."]
(CNN) - President Obama thinks Michael Jackson was a "spectacular performer" but also a man with aspects of his life that were "sad and tragic," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Friday.

"I talked to him about it this morning," Gibbs said in the White House's first reaction to Jackson's death. "Look, he said to me that obviously Michael Jackson was a spectacular performer, a music icon. I think everybody remembers hearing his songs, watching the moon walk on television during Motown's 25th anniversary."

"But the president also said, look, he had aspects of his life were sad and tragic," Gibbs added. "His condolences went out to the Jackson family and to fans who mourn his loss."

Gibbs was quickly pressed over why the White House did not issue a formal statement on Jackson's death.

"Because I just said it," he said.

Filed under: Michael Jackson • President Obama • Robert Gibbs
soundoff (224 Responses)
  1. Butch Dillon

    What did that jerk from the MSM think by asking that question? Was the president supposed to pass condolences to the Jackson family via him? NO! Obama did it the right way, the personal way. Gibbs and the WH should walk away from these daily briefings, speaking with the MSM representatives is a complete waste of time.

    June 26, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  2. The Unshrub

    What's wrong CNN, you can't stand a little reality check with Michael. Like I said the first time, my the good Lord have mercy on his pedophile soul.

    June 26, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  3. Sherry

    Condolences to the Jackson family is very appropriate and professional. No matter what anyone else thinks

    June 26, 2009 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  4. Greg

    I'm stunned. Michael Jackson is probably more recognized around the world than our President. MJ was an American treasure and an icon on an unthinkable level and tremendous staying power and our President just doesn't seem to grasp that. He makes comments to the public about his dog, but nothing on this? Very sad. John McCain was right. Mr. Obama is just a celebrity.... or at least he thinks he is one. A very ignorant one.

    June 26, 2009 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  5. Sherrielle M -NC

    I just want to say that God said not to JUDGE people . We need to know that Micheal Jackson was God child to. We also need to pray for his children and his family this is what god would want us to do right now.

    June 26, 2009 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  6. prince festus okojie

    Micheal Jackson was the king of pop who ever lived,the most popular human being on earth. when i was a tennager back in days i used to dance like him, i love him and cherished him now is gone but the name live on.i join millions of mj fans all over the world to mour his death.his death will contribute to the growth of pop music.may his soul rest in peace.

    June 26, 2009 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  7. happy 101

    I thnk all Americans who post here and show their ignorance need to grow up. Enough already of the haterade against the President. I mean, what do you expect for him to say? a long condolence? He said his peace about MJ and want to respext the wishes of the family. We should do the same. He has other issues he need to take care of than worrying about media speculation.

    June 26, 2009 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  8. Ohnoes

    OH GOD! He didn't issue a statement immediately!? Well maybe next time they can send out Mark Mcgrath during a press briefing so he give us the days entertainment news and gossip!

    Seriously folks...It was a great loss, but if your biggest concern is whether or not the President didn't jump on TV and issue a nationwide address over the death of MJ then you really need to seek help.

    June 27, 2009 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  9. This is stupid

    I guess when Bush gave statements when Peter Jennings died that was inappropriate to? Every President does it when people of stature pass away. Every time Obama does something the same few sad people sit here and pout and spew nonsense. I think its time some of these people opened a book instead of arguing over complete nonsense.

    June 27, 2009 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  10. LKycuzz

    I would like to take the time to remind Americans that this is the White House not People magazine! I think we should let Rolling Stone journalists have the spotlight here not the White Houses correspondents... They really need to be composing more important and informative journalism than a death of a pop star!

    June 27, 2009 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  11. please

    So many deaths in Iraq, unbelievable unrest in Iran, uncertainty regarding any stability in North Korea, so many more discussions needed about American Health care and the world wide economic crisis. Did we not learn after 911 to focus on "what is important". God bless Farah and certainly Michael was a tremendous talent but what is the matter with our news agencies that the focus is only on what the public savors.. How can President Obama compete ? How can his agenda to address the problems we now confront be forefront when we are bombarded with only news of Michael. PLEASE . can we give this president a hand .The news should be responsible and not leaning to Michaels private life that really is none of my buisness.

    June 27, 2009 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  12. man

    Obama is wrong not to have issued an official statement about the greatest musician in the world.And as for all u idiots saying negative things about him, he was only human.If you have functioning brains, you should know perfection is only God's.What about his humanitarian services?Not even all the stupid press people combined can ever match it.RIP MJ

    June 27, 2009 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  13. William

    Why does the president mention a pop-singer's death but never says a singe word when two soldiers are gunned down by a radical Muslim terrorist... in a recruiting office!? Where are your priorities, Mr. President?

    June 27, 2009 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  14. betty

    Thank you for your thoughts Mr. President. It is a sad day for the world. Mr Jackson was a musical genius and will be missed.

    June 27, 2009 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  15. Gary

    Seriously CNN, how many of your signature photo-obituaries have you created for Jackson?

    Pretty lame and pathetic.

    June 27, 2009 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  16. Klin

    With so many problems in the world, why should one expect Obama to issue a statement about MJ? MJ's death is tragic but honestly, there are much more important things to pay attention to.

    June 27, 2009 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  17. Paul

    Without Michael, there wouldnt be a president Obama. He was the first African American universally loved by white America.

    Obama should have said something more respectful.

    June 27, 2009 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  18. barney

    I am just disgusted by Obama and his i dont care attitude

    MJ is a man who rubbed shoulders with past presidents and changed the face of music and influenced millions around the world
    Yet-tObama has the audacity to feign ignorance when America and the world is mourning-and issue that short good for nothing statement.
    I used to think Obama was a statesman and quick on his feet
    I have now lost respect for him and just realized what a cold president we have
    RIP MJ-You gave the world a unique taste of entertainment

    June 27, 2009 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  19. renea

    Complain,complain,complain thats all some of you do,now why would this be anything to complain about some of you are worst than the republicans with the criticism.

    June 27, 2009 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  20. SandraD

    The difference in Michael J and Farrah F as well as Ed M is that Michael started his career very young. He has been entertaining since he was 5 and he was very well known not just in the US, but sooo many other countries. For that reason alone, I do feel that the President should have given a statement. Michael touched sooo many hearts all over the world in a positive way. Anyone who speaks badly of him should be ashame. Michael is resting in peace, show some respect for his children, his parents, siblings and true friends. I love Michael Jackson and I'm very sad his life ended this way. So do all of us a favor, and keep quiet if you don't have anything good to say about him!

    June 27, 2009 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  21. renea

    If the president want to make a statement about this he can If he didnt say anything at all you still would have something to say. Complain about everything thats all some of you do If he take time to go the funeral what is to to all the haters then. OH! Thats our tax money he is waisting we dont pay him for that.

    June 27, 2009 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  22. happy 101

    The president did make a statement and we need to move on and leave it at that.

    June 27, 2009 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  23. Venture Evwerhamre Daniels

    Mr. Obama delayed condolence is well understood. He has some more pressing issues. He was only told by Gibbs yesterday and he responded.

    June 27, 2009 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  24. frank phiri

    Strange that Obama left it too late to respod

    June 27, 2009 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
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