October 7th, 2014
05:36 PM ET

Did the Cosby Show help Obama get elected?

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with Mark Whitaker, author of Cosby: His Life and Times, about the importance of Bill Cosby to President Barack Obama's election.

Just over 30 years ago, "The Cosby Show" premiered on American television screens. It was ground-breaking, for certain, especially for the way it portrayed this African-American family with Bill Cosby as the patriarch. But did it break so much ground that without it, Barack Obama might not be our president? That's what my next guest says.

Mark Whitaker is the author of the new book, Cosby: His Life and Times. I should note that Mark was CNN's managing editor until last year and many years ago, we worked together at Newsweek. Actually, he was my boss. Welcome back.

Hi Fareed.

So explain that idea, because a number of people have made it, and you talk about it in the book, that if not for Bill Cosby and "The Cosby Show," Obama might not be president.

Well, the person who made the point, 15 minutes after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, was Karl Rove. He was on Fox News. And he was talking to Chris Wallace about the social significance of the election.

And they pointed out for the first time, we were going to have an African-American family in the White House. And Karl Rove said, no, wait a second, you know, we've already had an African-American family that was sort of America's family, and that was the Huxtables and "The Cosby Show."

So I think the point – and it was picked up by others in the days after that – was that in electing Obama, we weren't just electing a politician, we were also sending his family to live in our national home, in the White House. And to a large degree, I think that was never a point of controversy during the election, I think partly because of "The Cosby Show."

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soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. chri§§y

    @ rupert you need to use some tydeebowl on that mouth! Cant Understand Normal Thinking?

    October 7, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
  2. chri§§y

    OMG! Shut the he!! up both of you! Damn foul mouth guttersnipes!

    October 7, 2014 at 10:29 pm |
    • Ajay

      You have a tight p ussy?

      October 7, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
      • rupert

        @Ajay. No. She's loose as a goose. Already had a few puppies.
        But u know what? U beeing a tight straight pretty boy. I bet uranus is as tight as can be. Bet I could come with it in, oh..say 60 seconds. Why don't u tell me where your at. so I can go fukk u?

        October 7, 2014 at 11:09 pm |
      • Ajay

        @rupert why is your a zz puckered up. Did some latino hombre shove his d ik up your a sse?

        October 8, 2014 at 3:41 am |

      • You're fucking yourself these days? Nobody want you? L M A O

        October 8, 2014 at 11:59 am |
  3. Ajay

    We cannot and will not accept Modi as a leader till the cloud of genocide hovering over his head is lifted.

    Modi will always be a persona non grata till he faces trial in the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

    October 7, 2014 at 10:31 pm |

    • Your mother should be tried for releasing a plague upon humanity knowingly, you ugly shit.

      October 8, 2014 at 11:57 am |
      • Ω

        Then again I was born a b@st@rd.

        October 8, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
  4. chri§§y

    Idiots and pigs! And all the same person i bet! Your mother must be so proud!

    October 7, 2014 at 10:38 pm |
    • Ajay

      What's with you and that same person thing? Guilty conscience?

      We are demanding that an independent investigation by UN be held in India with respect to the genocide in Gujarat by Narendra Modi and his minions. Similar to what we have forced Sri Lanka to do. In the event that India does not agree then sanctions be imposed just like in Russia and Iran. Nothing more nothing less.

      October 7, 2014 at 10:43 pm |

      • Please do the world a favor and eat a bullet.

        October 8, 2014 at 11:53 am |
      • Ω

        I love to eat d iks

        October 8, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
  5. Ajay

    "Others say the best person to compare Modi to is the North Korean leader" is a tribute to the memory of Reagan the cold war hero who fought Soviet and its ally India's hegemony. Suffice to say I equate Modi with a low level dacoit, a murderer and a women basher who could not even attend to his wife's needs and walked away on their nuptial night.

    October 7, 2014 at 10:44 pm |
  6. chri§§y

    Im not the one trolling filth under many different names!

    October 7, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
  7. chri§§y

    Yea good idea and good night @ Joey! This is more foulness than i care to listen too also!

    October 7, 2014 at 10:57 pm |
    • Ajay

      Come to papa to sing you a lullaby. LOL. Muahhhhhh

      October 8, 2014 at 3:44 am |
  8. Ajay

    Bunch of i diots posting nonsense on these forums. Talking s hit. Unemployed losers.

    October 8, 2014 at 3:46 am |
  9. Ajay

    Modi is a great leader. He was framed. We will not rest until he is exonerated. I equate Modi to Ghandi or Abraham Lincoln.
    God bless Modi. Well it's off to work at McDonald's. I make the best burgers in town.

    October 8, 2014 at 5:00 am |
    • Ω

      Modi loves to bang boys. He is a bacha baaz

      October 8, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
  10. Ajay

    U deserve a break today
    So get up and get away
    At McDonald's
    We do it all for u...
    ...I'm loving it...

    October 8, 2014 at 5:02 am |
  11. stuart

    Shut up Ajay. How dare you support a criminal like Modi.
    Shame on you!

    October 8, 2014 at 5:08 am |
  12. NO

    No. Stupid republicans got Obama elected.

    October 8, 2014 at 9:55 am |
  13. banasy©

    TJI tactics.

    October 8, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
  14. chri§§y

    I know right @ banasy? Cnn needs to pass out barf bags dont you think? Lol

    October 8, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
  15. Pablo

    Pathetic comments

    October 8, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
  16. Philip

    Ya right. And Bing Crosby got JFK elected.

    October 8, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
  17. El ChriSSy

    Sheesh. Dead blog .

    October 8, 2014 at 8:35 pm |
  18. lexington

    The cosby show was truly the first to reveal a more realistic view of the natural diversity of the african american household , emphasizing a relatively successful working African american household with a complete family structure. Some had the audacity to claim the show was fake in its views, which i could say personally that not only did the show reflect my own family but many of my friends as well. It was a show of truth that prior, white america/media did not want broadcast nor accept. Arrogantly viewing themselves as the only peoples in america that could 'have'. Indeed African americans on average do not have the same net income as white america, (who's fault is that exactly!?) There's much one could lay out about the real truth in term of america's equality, and the general outlook from one so-called race of people towards another, just as theirs much to say about the real truth of just who has real wealth in america, and the shrinking of the middle class, not because of those categorized as minorities, (which as a word is a form of segregating and belittling peoples) but the fact that 1% of americans have over 40% of the nations wealth. what led to and allows such a degree of imbalance. The cosby show gave america truth about a sector of African Americans. not all blacks are poor, stereotypes are as false as they are sometimes true which makes them meaningless. And not all of white america have it as good as they like to portray themselves. did it help obamas election? well , i would only say its taken generations past the ignorance for white americans to accept the reality that people are truly people that come from all walks of life, and most are not so different than the very few in media outlets would like to suggest.

    October 10, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
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