Tales from the Trail

Obama doesn’t appreciate “Ho” joke at fundraiser

July 12, 2008

bernie-mac-2.jpgCHICAGO – Barack Obama faced a potentially sticky moment on Friday when comedian Bernie Mac told a joke about “hos” at a fundraiser for him but the Democratic White House hopeful quickly told him to clean up his act.

The Chicago-born comedian and actor told what he said was a joke about his nephew coming to him and asking the difference between a hypothetical question and a realistic question.

To demonstrate the difference, he tells the nephew to go ask his mother if she would make love to the mailman for $50,000. The mother says she would make love to the mailman and anybody else for $50,000.

He tells the nephew to go ask his sister if she would make love with her neighbor for $50,000. She says she would make love with the neighbor and anybody else for $50,000.

So he tells the nephew: “Hypothetically speaking, we should have $100,000. But realistically speaking we live with two hos,” Bernie Mac said.

There was an awkward moment and nervous laughter from the crowd of about 600 people who had paid $2,300 each to attend the fundraiser at a Chicago hotel. One person objected to the word “ho” — a contraction of the word “whore” used as derogatory slang for woman — and urged Bernie Mac to leave and make way for Obama.

In his speech, the Illinois senator, who hopes to become the first black U.S. president, said unity was essential in the Democratic Party. He said it should not be divided by race, religion, region, class or gender.

“That means, by the way, Bernie, you got to clean up your act,” Obama said. “This is a family affair.”

Campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki added: “Senator Obama told Bernie Mac that he doesn’t condone these statements and believes what was said was inappropriate.”

The comments came the day after Obama appealed to women voters to unite behind his candidacy.

Photo credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni (Bernie Mac smiles at the premiere of Ocean’s Thirteen at the Grauman’s Chinese theatre in Hollywood (June 2007)

Comments
39 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

You have got to be kidding me. Obama joked about it himself. Obama said just messing with you bernie him not liking the joke. If McCain had did what Obama did it would have been a far different headline. The media in this country is so biased it is like we live in Russia.

Posted by Seth | Report as abusive
 

the word “ho” — derogatory slang for woman

I always thought “ho” was a contraction of the word “whore”, does that equate with “woman”?

Posted by Forrest Hawthorne | Report as abusive
 

Why even talk about what McCain “would have done”, when McCain probably wouldn’t invite an edgy comedian to speak at a Presidential campaign function in the first place?? Obama supporters need to chill out on the entertainment news, and start asking their nominee why he supports the expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, faith-based initiatives, and an extended mission in Iraq…Poor choice on the part of the Democratic Party. The major battleground states (California, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio to name a few) had the right idea on how to beat McCain…With Hillary Clinton. Oops. Oh well, I’m gonna go watch Obama be really cool on MTV now.

Posted by Kiel | Report as abusive
 

Thank you Seth for pointing out that Obama made a joke out of his so-called complaint of Mac’s material !! The press is making is sound like Obama was offended. He was not. What a wuss. I guess it was an all-black audience and Obama felt if he criticized Mac he’d lose some votes. Votes are all Obama cares about. He’s not a leader, he’s a self-serving slimeball who will do ANYTHING to win office.

Btw, why is it OK for a black man to call women hos when it’s not OK for a white man (Imus) to do it ??

 

Mr. Obama,

I have been your supporter from the very beginning. I am sure you are no fool – Women are powerful, very powerful and must never be underestimated. Pick Hillary Clinton for your running mate and you will make history twice:
1. First black leader and presidential nominee for a major political party in America
2. First President of America with a female vice president.
America needs unity right now (all colours, all religions, male & female). America’s leadership and indeed the world is threatened. It’s not about Obama or Clinton – it’s about the world! We need the best team to bring about the needed changes; to reverse the damage of the Bush years!

Posted by Biosah | Report as abusive
 

An Airliner was flying across America carrying the Pilot, Bill O’Reilly, A Barack Obama Supporter, a Girl Scout and Karl Rove.

Suddenly the plane’s engine failed, and there were only 4 parachutes on the plane. Everyone started arguing about who should get the parachutes.

The Pilot says, “I have a wife and 8 kids,” he takes one and jumps out.

The Bill O’Reilly runs screaming, takes another, and jumps.

Rove takes one and jumps saying “I can’t die, I’m the Smartest American in the World!”

The Barack Obama supporter says to the Girl Scout “Go ahead, take the last parachute.” The Girl Scout replies, “Oh don’t worry sir, there’s one for both of us. The Smartest American in the World just took my backpack.”

Posted by Cooday | Report as abusive
 

This is simply more evidence of incompetence. Why in the world would you let anyone open for you at a major campaign event and not know what he was going to say beforehand? Then he goes to New York and says that his first priority will be to order the Joint Chiefs of Stagg to “end this war.” This naive popstar candidate doesn’t know that the Joint Chiefs of Staff are not in the military change of command. They don’t take orders, they dont give orders. They are advisors only. And he wants to be President? Who are we kidding? This is nothing more than a child playing dressup in adult clothes.

Posted by MinniePearlJam | Report as abusive
 

Typical–obama hangs out with sexist pigs. Any self respecting woman who votes for this misogynist needs to have her head examined.

Posted by Foodforthought | Report as abusive
 

That’s a slang word that has been on the shelf for eons. It’s use at the dinner was inappropriate. But I must say that I think Bernie Mac got it right. I long suspected that the rappers were using the word to describe their own female relatives and the behavior of those relatives that they unfortunately saw at home.

Posted by Lydia Williams | Report as abusive
 

That’s a slang word that has been on the shelf for eons. It’s use at the dinner was inappropriate. But I must say that I think Bernie Mac got it right. I long suspected that the rappers were using the word to describe their own female relatives and the behavior of those relatives that they unfortunately saw at home.

Posted by Anne Arkey | Report as abusive
 

I do not want Senator Obama and his foul-mouthed sexist supporters anywhere near the White House.

Posted by JayM | Report as abusive
 

Who cares what Obama thinks? The whole idea of electing anyone who wants to
raise taxes is nuts!! Government can’t manage the money they already get! Why give them more $$$ to waste?!

Posted by lori | Report as abusive
 

I don’t like Bernie Macs language or the fact that he stole the quote from another Bernie without attribution. The quote is from George Bernard Shaw:
—He addresses a lady of the realm at an official function, and says “Madam, if I
gave you a million pounds, would you sleep with me?”
“Certainly”, replies
the woman.
“Well then”, responds Shaw, “would you sleep with me if I gave you a single pound”.
“Certainly not! How dare you offer that! What do you take me for?” replies the woman.
“We’ve already established that” says
Shaw. “We are merely quibbling about the price.”

Posted by BobB | Report as abusive
 

LOl I think it is funny! You know that Bernie Macs act is pretty dirty. IF you have ever watched his work you get that right away! He might have been messed up on something and carry his act a little far, but it wasn’t a shocker. It shows you who are friends!

 

Typical Obama! “…clean it up, this is a family affair….I’m only messing with you”!

As on every issue, Obama plays both sides, flip-flops or outright lies, proving again he has NO core values… but the beloved media and naive supporters will defend, protect and make excuses….after all, “he’s the first”. Yeh, 143 working days in the U.S. Senate and weaned at the feet of Rev. Wright and the corrupt Daley Machine qualifies him for the nothing.

Posted by jazz | Report as abusive
 

I was intrigued by Obama early on. However, the “man of change” is becoming more and more like the traditional old time politician.

He seems to be on all sides. What does he really believe? Bernie Mac makes insulting comments and Obama jokes with Mac on stage about it. After the news gets wind of it, Obama acts horrifed by Mac’s comments.

I am SO DISAPOINTED by the direction his campaign has taken.

He is for Mac until the press talks about it. Then he chastises Mac to the press. He is for Rev Wright until the press gets a hold of it, then he drops Wright like a rock. He is against wearing a flag pin until the press talks about it. Now he practically has the thing glued to his forehead.

OBAMA, take a stand and show that you actually believe in something other than being just another politician trying to get elected!!!!

Posted by Craig | Report as abusive
 

Obama is a man way above the caliber of a two bit joker like Bernie and should distance himself from people like that every chance he gets. Bernie’s joke is in the same line of a black man’s mindset as Jesse Jackson’s comments. Obama is miles above them.

Do you like the way things are now? Then vote for McCain.

Posted by bushguiltyassin | Report as abusive
 

I’m very surprised to see some comments making critics over Obama who is not already in the Office.
We can make critics over the present and past action and draw a line for the future.
We can do that with Mr Bush. And this speak by itself and need no more comment.
For the future, I recommend to begin your own politic. DO NOT WAIT ON POLITICIANS.
You want a society Eco-friendly. Then change your car with a better mpg, add PV to your roof, diminish your electricity waste habit, and so on.
This is the only way. And not tomorrow. NOW

Posted by louis | Report as abusive
 

Obama could have meant anything when he said “just kidding”. In his mind he could have genuinely wanted to chide Mac for that joke, but said “just kidding” because he and everyone else on Earth knows that chiding Mac would be useless.

Posted by Unintent | Report as abusive
 

Where’s that competent, disciplined Obama campaign we saw during the primaries?

It was poor judgment to invite Bernie Mac to introduce the senator at a fundraiser. A joke about an 8-year-old and whores is in very poor taste. If I’d been there, I would have walked out and requested my donation be returned.

The decision to hold Obama’s acceptance speech at a football stadium appears to be a very expensive move, with a bonus of poor acoustics.

Allowing his daughters to be interviewed was an unwise decision, in my opinion, but his immediate disavowal and disingenuous explanation that he didn’t think it would get so much attention, made it worse.

Senator Obama and his advisors need to reduce their schedules to allow them to get 8 hours of sleep per night. The unhealthy hours they are keeping are not good for them or the voters.

Posted by Dems to Win | Report as abusive
 

The diversionary Bernie Mac issue pales mightily when compared with real issues…issues that count.

I have a good example of a real issue.

I’m a lot more concerned about why Mr. Obama voted for the bill that Mr. Bush signed into law day before yesterday, Mr. & Mrs. Reader. Mr. McCain avoided the vote. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Kerry voted against it. Mr. Kennedy avoided the vote also. A lot of democrats voted for it, and the vast majority of republicans likewise. Mr. Webb voted for it. Mr. Lieberman and Mr. Specter voted for it too.

The most recent law is a continuation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978. It is called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008.

I’ve never much cared for a legislative & executive law that has not had its constitutionality tested in the courts (i.e., has not been “constitutionally checked & balanced” by the judicial branch)…and especially one that has at its core a secret court doing secret things without demonstrated Probable Cause…especially when there are plenty of judges who are experienced at issuing search warrants when and if there IS demonstrated Probable Cause, the latter as dictated by the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to wit:

“Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

During the half dozen years that I was an active duty military commander, I had the responsibility of enforcing the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Probable Cause was something that I had to be very, very careful of having before I could take action under the UCMJ, i.e., before I could conduct a lawful search.

So, why again are Bernie Mac’s diversionary remarks even important…by comparison? Perspective here is sort of out of whack, wouldn’t you say, Mr. & Mrs. Reader? I think so.

All I can say is that whomever “the 545*” happen to be come January 20th when the new president joins the team…I hope that they have their heads screwed on straight. However, I don’t foresee secret courts doing secret things without demonstrated Probable Cause going away anytime soon…especially when the likely new president (Mr. Obama) votes for such things & especially when the possible new president (Mr. McCain) avoids voting against such things.

The problem with doing secret things is that there is no way of demonstrating that said secret things actually prevented an attack on the United States…because said secret things cannot be discussed because they are secret. Yes, that’s a lot of secret stuff!

So, we Americans have to take at face value claims made by politicians who do these secret things…without demonstrated proof that said claims are in fact true.

OK Jack

*435 members of the house; 100 members of the senate; 9 members of the supreme court; 1 resident of the White House and occupant of the Oval Office.

 

Bernie Mac’s joke, although inappropriate for a political dinner, would have been fine anywhere else and most in the audience would have laughed heartily…because it hit a George Bernard Shaw truth that has nothing to do with misogyny and everything to do with the fact that tons of women would sleep with a clean, good-looking guy for $50,000.

Making a feminist huff about this is just a form of blackmail. The feminists can use this to force themselves more into power with Obama and McCain.

Bottom line: We all know that Obama is just going to lie down and let the radical feminists run his administration. The rhetoric about Obama being “sexist” is just a smokescreen for feminists to take more control of his campaign than they already do.

Black males: the feminists do NOT represent you which means the Democratic Party does NOT represent you. Please consider the Libertarians and consider Barr. Maybe Barr will actually stand against radical feminist laws like IMBRA and VAWA that McCain and Obama voted for.

 

By the way:

Tons of men would sleep with a great looking woman if she paid $50,000.

So there is nothing intrinsically misogynist in such a joke. It just says that everyone has their price…which would be funny everywhere but at a political function.

 

These racial slurs against blacks are nothing new and the people that make them are legion. There are a lot of ugly Americans. But what does Obama make of Bill Clinton trying to make something out of the “Polarization of the Democratic Party”? I get it. Bill is trying to emphasize the division in Democratic politics (that is to say between Hillary and Barack) hoping that these Democratic voters will either stay away from voting for Obama or vote for McCain or not vote at all. Then if that succeeds in defeating Barack Obama in the Nov. Presidential election, Bill figures that will give his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the incredible opportunity to become in 2012 the first woman President of these United States. SMART!

Posted by Carole H. | Report as abusive
 

Dearest Trudi
In response to your claim about Imus:

“Btw, why is it OK for a black man to call women hos when it’s not OK for a white man (Imus) to do it ??”

Imus said “Nappy headed hos” which I must point out is completely different than what Bernie said. First of all, calling them nappy headed was just straight racist which was the primary concern. Second, Bernie is COMEDIAN!!
This guilty by association is completely unfounded.

Also why is everyone all of a sudden up in arms about potential sexism . . . Obama has done nothing to merit being called a misogynistic. Why not start hate groups for Dave Chapelle then, and Eddie Murphy, o and definitely the late and great George Carland, because all Mr. Mac was doing was his job. Anything short of Obama using the words himself does not justify all this labeling.

Posted by martin | Report as abusive
 

When Obama was sworn in as senator he used the quran, Big mistake by the U.S.Senate to let that happen, everyone else uses the Bible.
Obama refuses to say the pledge allegiance to our flag.
Obama refuses to salute our flag.
WHY WOULD ANY AMERICAN WHO BELIEVES IN OUR FLAG AND COUNTRY VOTE FOR THIS GUY.
WAKE UP AMERICA.

Posted by Calvin Perry | Report as abusive
 

There was an awkward moment and nervous laughter from the crowd of about 600 people who had paid $2,300 each to attend the fundraiser at a Chicago hotel. One person objected to the word “ho” — a contraction of the word “whore” used as derogatory slang for woman — and urged Bernie Mac to leave and make way for Obama.

In his speech, the Illinois senator, who hopes to become the first black U.S. president, said unity was essential in the Democratic Party. He said it should not be divided by race, religion, region, class or gender.

“That means, by the way, Bernie, you got to clean up your act,” Obama said. “This is a family affair.”

This is beyond bias bordering on outright duplicity. Obama never said anything about “race, religion, region, class or gender” at the event. He said Bernie Mac should keep it clean, that this was a “family affair” and then said, “I’m just messing with you.” I’m more and more turned off by Obama’s campaign, if that’s at all possible, when I see the media working overtime to defuse his tasteless remarks and poor judgment. This is not possible in the real world of diplomatic relations where Obama has promised to meet with rogue leaders without preconditions in his first year.

Posted by Genevieve | Report as abusive
 

Hello Mr Calvin Perry,

Yeah sure, Obama is a secret muslim who will have the Nation of Islam a part of his cabinet and secretly give all our security codes to Al Queda… yeah right.

Please stop spreading neocon lies about Obama.

At least when we talk about Bush its the truth.

Posted by bushguiltyassin | Report as abusive
 

“Btw, why is it OK for a black man to call women hos when it’s not OK for a white man (Imus) to do it ??”

As a black woman, I will tell you why Trudi. It is because white guilt allows BLACK MEN to have carte blanch when it comes to being held accountable for their misdeeds. Black men profit off of exploiting black women in the media in the Hiphop industry because people are too afraid to confront them about it. C. Delores Tucker challenged them and everyone immediately jumped on the defensive saying she was “trying to keep a brother down.” They hold up stories of white male rape of black women from ages ago, yet when a group of young black men terrorize and force a son to rape his mother, male civil rights activists like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton run to defend the young men as opposed to the woman and child. Black men run around using the word n….. and it is okay because people claim it is a term of endearment, yet when a white man say’s the same, there is controversy. The purpose of the civil rights movement was to allow people of color access to equal opportunity so that we could assimilate further into American society. However, these so called Black male leaders, nationalists and hiphop trash have helped to set black people back by at least one hundred eighty degrees. The bad part about it is that not only white guilt allows this type of behavior but many black women are enablers.

Posted by Dr. Salzman | Report as abusive
 

“When Obama was sworn in as senator he used the quran, Big mistake by the U.S.Senate to let that happen, everyone else uses the Bible.”

Unfortunately, you have Senator Obama confused with another black man who happens to be a congressman from Minnesota. His name is congressman Ellison and he is a Muslim. Senator Obama may have been sat in an unorthodox nationalist Christian church but he is not a Muslim. I guess it is pretty easy to confuse a Senator from Chicago with a Congressman from Minnesota.

Posted by Dr. Salzman | Report as abusive
 

“Imus said “Nappy headed hos” which I must point out is completely different than what Bernie said. First of all, calling them nappy headed was just straight racist which was the primary concern. Second, Bernie is COMEDIAN!!
This guilty by association is completely unfounded.”

Okay, so a joke in which a young boy is told to ask his mother and sister if she would prostitute herself to a mailman is not offensive. Given the history of black women constantly portrayed as loose women who are unworthy of respect since the days of old. How is it okay for Bernie Mac, a black comedian to make such a joke without perpetuating long held racist stereotypes about black women. Don Imus’s comment of Nappy Headed Ho’s is the result of people constantly allowing black men to continue demonizing and exploiting black women. So don’t sit their in self-righteous indignation and try to defend the tasteless, humor of a mediocre comedian. Also, there is no way you could possibly compare him to George Carlin whose comedic sense was way above the lowbrow sexist, race capitalizing humor of Bernie mac, and Edie Murphy.

Posted by Dr. Salzman | Report as abusive
 

Bernie Mac has said this joke hundreds of times before to larger audiences and on televion before. It has never caused any kind of controversy. You would think a room full of liberals could handle a joke. We don’t need another group of morality police in the White House.

Also I am very impressed by all of the kids in the audience who were able to put up the $2300 for the fundraiser.

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive
 

Hey, calvin p, quran or bible, what’s the difference? They both tell you to go out and kill your enemies, which is actually inherited from the judaism anyway, so there is no big deal there! Besides, ever heard of the separation of religion and state? It should be illegal to use any religious book in the affairs of state anyway. Alright, now you can go back to your 6-pack and gulp some more kool-aid, yeeee hawwww!

Posted by Gabriel | Report as abusive
 

Obama’s flip-offs are legendary. But to do an actual sexist flip-off on stage at a fundraiser at which he’s invited an edgy racey comedian with narrow base is….well…dumbocratic at best!

First, Obama goes on stage in N.C. day after his pathetically inept perforamnce at the Pa. ABC Debate and “flip-offs” with his midfinger his fellow (female) senator Hillary Clinton, smirking, waiting for his audience to ‘clue in’ his insulting, obscene and juvenile gesture. Then he scrapes her off his shoulders and his shoes (as in excrement)! His well-orchestrated misogynist JayZRapper wannabe act was apparently a hit with his Madison-Avenue-inspired cool Obamabotic strategy.

To be prompted by his audience to tell over-the-edge
comedian Bernie Mac to “cool it, you gotta clean up your act, Bernie, this is a family affair” and reverse his statement instantaneously by adding…”I’m just messing with you Bernie”!

This is TYPICAL ObaMyopia. Obama just can’t seem to learn that you don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth. First you tell your invited known sexist humorist to “clean up” his act that includes an 8-year-old boy asking his mother and sister if they’re whores and the father telling the boy that yup, his mom and sis are indeed whores, like all women. And then with your next sentence you tell the moron that you’re “just messing” with him and you didn’t mean it.

So, Obama wasn’t serious at all about getting serious with the thorny issue of woman-hatred that has plagued and continues to plague his crypto-misogynistic campaign which received an able assist from the media misogynist frat-boy enablers that pushed him to a fraudulent ‘finish-line’.

What should be sending red signals to the Democrats is that Obama’s flip-offs have been accelerating dangerously to the point where even his second sentence contradicts his previous one–with alarming consequences for his integrity as a presidential candidate representing all his constituents. He has made it abundantly clear that women’s issues and sensitivities have, at best, a secondary role to play in his administration and, at worst, “family values” consist of promoting to pre-teenaged boys the idea that their mothers and sisters can aspire to the profitable status of an American hooker.

Given Obama’s own pathetic lack of pay equity within his own campaign where his female staffers get 70 cents on the dollar compared with their male counterparts, perhaps Bernie Mac’s recommendations would not be so funny or unrealistic. The family unit’s female members may indeed be encouraged to resort to prostitution in order to adhere to the newly-minted “family values” under ‘cool’ President Obama. And ladies and gals, I ain’t messing with you on this one!

P.S. Pumas are roaring with Bernie’s comedy routine, and not with appreciation! They just can’t see the ObaMyopic humor in it.

Posted by sakel | Report as abusive
 

And then to make matters worse, after Obama slapped Bernie Mac ever-so-lightly on the wrist for his sexist misogyny, Obama more or less apologized to Mac by saying ‘I’m just messin with you Bro.” That is so typical of Obama’s own misogyny and sexist attitude toward women.
That’s no way to win women voters. I hope he goes down in flames and loses all 50 states so he hides in a hole forevermore.
NOBAMA! NOT NOW! NOT EVER!

Posted by KJ | Report as abusive
 

Let’s review. The dollar is in a death spiral. The price of a barrel of oil is at unheard of levels. The stock markets are crashing, banks are failing, the housing market in disarray, Iraq is an ongoing disaster-surge or no surge, Afghanistan is getting worse (9 US dead yesterday as well as a wedding party-thanks George), and a war with Iran looms on the horizon…and with all that, some people think that Obama is unqualified because a comedian makes a funny but inappropriate (given the venue) joke?? Are you people on crack!!! Where are your priorities??

Posted by Qualtrough | Report as abusive
 

Ah .. Chicago. Since BHO not long ago spoke on “who da baby daddy” implications, maybe he can next speak on racially generated slang.

 

I wish I had $50,000.00 right now, taxes in Cook County- Chicago are the highest in the nation, 13 cents on the dollar, all time foreclosures across the US, jobs running credit reports – any deliquent bills – you are not hired, gas prices still looms close to 5.00/gallon, stimulus check – a joke, after filing taxes, all I got was a $69.00 dollar check -took $60.00 to fill my tank, the other nine on a six pack of beer – wow I really helped to contribute to the economy. With wars looming in Iran, seem like no end to Iraq, who cares if someone “lives with two ho’s” Yes, I agree that the joke was inapprorpiate for a fund raiser. But everyone knows that Bernie Mac’s humor and concerts are not for the weak at heart. Maybe someone in O’Bama’s camp should have reviewed the material before handing the mike over to Bernie. We have more things to worry about as a nation than off-colored jokes!. If every woman or man could sleep with someone for $50,000 as long as she or he is at the age of consent, the ecomony would get an ecomonic boost! But didn’t Demi Moore sleep with Robert Redford in a movie for a million dollars – huuuuuuum

Posted by 50,000 dollars | Report as abusive
 

this sentence is more insulting then what bernie mac said:

““ho” — a contraction of the word “whore” used as derogatory slang for woman”

Ho and whore are not slang words for women, they are slang words for prostitutes. Hence in the joke the mother and sister sleeping with people for money. He’s not implying all women are hos. What a ridiculous charade.

Posted by John | Report as abusive
 

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