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. Palm hair TCM

    Looks like alot of rightwing radical religious bigots commenting.Hateand fear are an ugly thing.

    June 26, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  2. Henry

    CNN – Slipping into the sensationalist trap along with Fixed News and MSNBC. You guys are losers. The guy asking the moronic question about why President Obama had not given a formal statement must be the idiot Ed Henry. Or was Loud Dobbs in the White House briefing? I am sorry, Loud could not have been there. He was touting being Mr. Independent. Dumb Repiglican.

    June 26, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  3. marcus

    i'm not sure how much more the idiots in the media want obama to say about michael jackson's death... i think he hit the nail on the head.. the guy was the most amazing musical artist of all time.. but, some aspects of his life were definitely sad and tragic...

    June 26, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. GOP

    I have to point out its part of the job Obama has, and if he does not care for it then please feel free Mr. Obama to get the hell out.

    As for Gibbs I cannot believe how arrogant this slime ball happens to be. I guess he has learned it from his boss Obama.

    Michael Jackson might have had many faults but he did a lot of good for people in need.

    I thought Obama loved people that gave back to their communities? Maybe the reason Obama did not like Michael was because Mike was rich and we all know Obama hates people that make money if he cannot get his hands on it.

    June 26, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  5. babs in cali

    OMG isn't there anything else going on?

    June 26, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  6. Mike

    Yeah-and Obama's pathetic!

    June 26, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  7. Robert Raouf

    I think that president Obama have alote of tasks that make him too busy to condolence the family of Jakson
    so jus give him a break God sake..... thank u

    June 26, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  8. Gary in CA

    This "climate" bill they just passed is tragic. Good lord, we have enough problems, now this. Buy gold, guns, canned goods and bottled water.

    June 26, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  9. Brandy Beauchamp

    Geoff Maguire... McCain is right where he is needed.. .NOT in the Oval Office. My prayers go out to Micheal Jackson's family. His life was not perfect, by any means...but he spent most of his life giving us wondeful music and great performances. He will be missed.

    June 26, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  10. Dachcafe

    It's pathetic how a bunch of irrelevant sore losers attempt to turn every occurrence into some political fodder against the President. Look, you lost and Mr. Obama will be around 8 years. Rest in peace Michael...you will be missed!

    June 26, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  11. F.A

    Granted, the president does not have to say anything, but cmon man....Can you say judgmental?

    June 26, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  12. Michael

    Oh good god, who cares. Gibbs delivered President Obama's comments on Michael Jackson's death. Issue closed.

    Guess the President figured he was too busy trying to revive America from eight years of Bush/Cheney incompetence to devote much time to the death of ONE PERSON. Fair enough, if you ask me.

    Of course, if he'd said nothing at all, the GOP would probably have tried to castigate him for it.

    June 26, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  13. Joe

    Obama will never be as popular and loved worldwide like M.J. was.

    June 26, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  14. lescroc

    BHO is correct part of JACKO life is and has been tragic. America tragedy is having BHO as president. Did he take time to send condolence to Farrah and Ed's family, My nephew just died hmmmm, no condolence from BHO. I guess we were not black enough for BHO and for Michelle, Ms. Robinson. such is life. . Our president is not a racist he is just BLACK!

    June 26, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  15. JML

    Perfect response to a tragic situation that is simultaneously heartbreaking but does not require the President's "geo-political attention." Thank you, Michael, for 40+ years of amazing inspiration, and thank you, Barack, for being the ONLY president I've ever been proud to call my own....

    June 26, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  16. conservative

    Good God America ; grow up !!! Jackson was a pop singer ,over hyped, troubled and not worth this "exercise in immaturity" !

    June 26, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  17. Polly

    Doesn't Robert Gibbs feel like an idiot?

    June 26, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  18. bigl

    When Obama should get involved in our popular culture in a tangible way, he doesn’t. I mean the world has lost one of the most adored figures living (forget his global pop-icon status), and he couldn’t show some real condolence. And yet he can give a dead fly national air-time. Let’s not forget MJ was a global humanitarian that was honored by the George W Bush senior white house. He was more than a pop-icon. Personally, I find the white house’s reaction very phony and disrespectful and am disappointed in Obama—yet again. Rest in Peace MJ, the world loves and will miss you. You and your music will be in our hearts forever.

    June 26, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  19. w.l. jones

    The more knowledge a person attain the sooner he or she learnt that it is some time best to say least. for all concern.Said enough.

    June 26, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  20. Cindy

    The real truth is...

    Michael Jackson's death, however tragic... is now overshadowing a lot of very important issues right now. There are, people dying. If you care enough for the living. Make a better place, for you and for me.

    We're talking about getting a statement fromNo Drama Obama regarding Wacko Jacko. Why are we even wondering about this?

    June 26, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  21. Sarah - NY

    But Pres. Obama released the formal statement when Jennifer Hudson's family passed away ... oh b/c he needed the votes back but now??

    June 26, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    I appreciate the fact that the President chooses to focus on world events and not on the death of a major music celebrity–obviously, the rest of the world is totally preoccupied with MJ's death– but at some point–America needs to realize that making celebrities into false Idols is a bad thing. Michael Jackson was a great performer–but far from a perfect person and his death is sad, but not as sad as what is going on in Darfur or as tragic as the thousands of deaths that have occurred and continue to occur in wars around the globe. The press should be asking themselves why they need to saturate our populace with so much of this kind of news...

    June 26, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  23. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Michael Jackson gets the ink because quite frankly he was more of a superstar than the other recent deceased celebrities – period! His death is being grieved all over the world – have you seen any scenes on behalf of Fawcett, McMahon or Carradine on the scale of MJ? I rest my case!

    And personal to Dave C. – could your grandfather entertain and sell recordings like MJ – I didn't think so. So there's your answer.

    June 26, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  24. Barbara - Atlanta

    Hey CNN...President Obama is doing the same thing Stevie Wonder is doing...perhaps mourning and taking his time at preparing a statement or perhaps he's already spoken to the famiy. We just don't know... In the words of Michael Jackson, "please, just leave me alone."

    June 26, 2009 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  25. hayes

    It is important to understand he is a human. His family is hurting and millions of people around the world are hurting to. All of the comments that are negative need to stop because you are not God so you do not have the right to judge anyone.

    Thank You Every Much!

    June 26, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
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