President Barack Obama has commented publicly about the death of Michael Jackson, telling the AP "I grew up on his music — still have all his stuff on my iPod." Obama added that Jackson "will go down in history as one of our greatest entertainers." As Rock Daily previously reported, Obama personally sent a letter of condolence to the Jackson family, the contents of which were not revealed.
"I think that his brilliance as a performer also was paired with a tragic and, in many ways, sad personal life," Obama said. "I'm glad to see that he is being remembered primarily for the great joy that he brought to a lot of people through his extraordinary gifts as an entertainer." The President's comments today mark the first time a news agency has asked him to speak publicly about Jackson. Obama was prepared to address Jackson's death during a press conference with the German chancellor last week, but no one asked the President to comment on the King of Pop.
"The president obviously believes that he was an important and magnificent performer," Obama's senior adviser David Axelrod told Meet The Press last weekend. "Obviously, he led a sad life in many ways as well but his impact is undeniable." Obama's press secretary Robert Gibbs spoke on behalf of the President after Jackson's death, saying "I talked to [Obama] about it this morning. He said to me that obviously Michael Jackson was a spectacular performer, a music icon, and I think everybody remembers hearing his songs, watching him moonwalk on television during Motown's 25th anniversary."