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. Rani McBride

    Oh and I am sure the question came from Republicans. "And now look America, Obama hasn't offered a public statement regarding Michael Jackson's death....oooooooooo so horrible!

    June 26, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  2. slp

    What an intelligent, articulate White House Press Secretary we have. NOT! You sure know how to pick them, Mr. President. That said, I am so sad about Michael Jackson's death. His music was so much a part of my middle and high school years. I do agree with President Obama. Michael Jackson was a brilliant, talented, troubled individual. My heart goes out to his family.

    June 26, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  3. too funny

    public sending condolences, I think this should be reserved for people that die for our country, not rock stars

    June 26, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. Teleprompter of the U.S.A.

    Pedophilia is now "sad and tragic"? And people wonder why we think he hasn't a clue on what he is doing or saying?

    June 26, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. Prince

    I don't think with all the tons of issues the country is facing right now, the President of the United States need to issue a statement on every entertainer who dies after their life on earth. Michael Jackson had his chance in life, he benefited from hard work and goodwill. he made use of d=some of those opportunities and, and he also squandered some other opportunities. He came to do his part, and i think the President of the United States should spend his time thinking more about the living who never had the kinds of chance the Michael Jackson had.

    The news media personalities who had no idea what the average person in America is going through is on the look out to project useless news that does not put folks back to work, provides affordable health care, or provides hope for a better standard of living to the American people. The news media need to grow up.

    June 26, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  6. Dbow Queen City

    A day late and a dollar short. Appreciate the support you FINALLY showed the "King of Pop", Mr. President. At your age, I am sure you remembered him yesterday. What took you so long?

    June 26, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  7. gabe

    lest we not put our own selfs on pedtals. we are only human and in this life it is going to rain on the just and the unjust.

    June 26, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  8. Sam I Am

    Michael Jackson was truly an artistic prodigy. The songs he wrote and performed have been danced to, sung along with, and enjoyed by millions of people around the world. Like many geniuses, Michael had demons he fought his entire life. The "normal" life that so many of us lead was something that Jackson desperately wanted, but could never attain. When away from the spotlight he was obviously in his own private little hell, and a very sad individual.

    Let's remember the Michael Jackson who gave so many people joy. The penultimate performer who taught dancers how to really dance, and performers what a true stage presence could be. There is no point in uncovering old ghosts. Let's remember the happy moments Michael gave us, and try to forget the terrible burdens that weighed him down. Michael, where ever you are, I hope you have finally found the peace you have struggled to attain all these years. Rest in peace.

    June 26, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. Sam I Am

    Dave C -NJ...could you possibly be more selfish? Grow up.

    June 26, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  10. Karen

    Why is the White House EXPECTED to make a press statement about Michael Jackson's passing? They did not make one about Farrah Faucett.

    June 26, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. simp

    I love Gibbs, he doesn't take any crap from the press, good one gibbs.

    June 26, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  12. John- FL

    Your grandfather is not Michael Jackson fat ass. Michael was a big asset for the US and the rest of the world. He was/is an icon. Future generations will learn of him for ever. Can you read that?

    June 26, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  13. howie

    Gibbs has to go down as the worst press secertary in history. He needs to find a rock and hide. He is not good for Obama

    June 26, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  14. JoeCool

    I'm not suprised Obama would send condolences when a child molester dies.

    June 26, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  15. Patrck

    Politics aside – I voted for the guy – Why does this president pander to the hollywood crowd? Should he not be commenting on other pressing issues. The economy, NK and Iran, health care etc... All of course all the other things things that GW broke while in office. Please mr. president earn your 220,000 a year and stop going on tv unless you have something to say worth hearing.

    June 26, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  16. Florida Dude

    Comparing MJ and Farrah is just doesn't make sense. Farrah was a beautiful woman but an ok actress. Michael Jackson was a music icon that actually affected peoples lives and careers. Both deaths were tragic but people will react to MJ over Farrah. Get over it

    June 26, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  17. Artemisios

    At this point, Iran could round up all the dissidents and shoot them. Since CNN and the other 24/7 news outlets are completely wrapped up in the one single story du jour, we'd never hear about it.

    June 26, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    oh, ok, and this has anything to do with, well, anything? please explain why this is an even remotely relevant question to "press" the White House Press Secretary on...irrespective of party affiliation. Seroiusly, the media has gleefully turned itself into a cultural chamber pot.

    June 26, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  19. Obama for Prime Minister

    Michael Jackson, love him or hate him, was the most successful black man on the planet, before Barack. He broke the colour barrier, by getting MTV to play his videos.

    June 26, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  20. Josh

    I hope Ashton Kuchner chimes in soon on Twitter. I am sure the rest of the nation is as curious as I am about hist thoughts onMJ's passing

    June 26, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  21. Tim


    Why did Reagan invite him to the White House then? We're talking about the passing of a music icon, one of the most influential and widely-known Americans in the past 50 years. Of course he's going to comment on it. The President, in addition to being the Chief Exec. and being responsible for all the things you listed, regularly does stuff like this. It's part of his job, and if he didn't do it, I'd wonder why

    June 26, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  22. Edwin

    "Because I just said it."


    Check the article right above this one. It looks like Sarah Palin is not one to give up the spotlight to a dead legend so easily!

    June 26, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  23. Island girl

    Is there a doctor in the house? Some people say there is too much ado about MJ's death and over the fence is the other bunch saying the opposite. I say: Thanks for the memories, Michael and may your soul rest in peace! As a matter of fact you are at peace, it is the living beings who are in torment.

    June 26, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |

    JoeCool...get a clue idiot

    June 26, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  25. Get a Life !!

    Maybe someone should send a list of every person who dies each day to the White House each day so that our President can send each family condolences. Michael Jackson was no better than anyone else, just more popular.

    June 26, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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