Your Obama Apologist of the Day: Don Cheadle

Actor Don Cheadle is having second thoughts about using the word “gangsta” in reference to President Barack Obama. But Cheadle, the star of the new Showtime series “House of Lies,” apparently is sticking with his support for Obama, results be darned.

Cheadle, best known for his work in films like “Hotel Rwanda,” “Iron Man 2” and “Crash,” told Jet Magazine he wished Obama had been more “gangsta,” and less a “consensus seeker.”

Now, he’s trying to clarify those comments.

“I realize that when speaking to reporters who are looking for the juiciest comments to print, a word like gangster in connection with a black president uttered by a black celebrity can almost be too much to resist,” the Oscar-nominated actor wrote. “I say this not in defense but to offer some perspective. I believe I used the word gangster and I meant it. But I wasn’t talking about pants sagging and forties and ‘hoes’ or any of that other nonsense and I find it hard to believe that that is what some people thought I was saying. I was talking about wish fulfillment; my own and my desire to witness something more than I had.”

Cheadle then fell back on apology-speak, mixed with some revisionist history – didn’t The One have a Democratic Congress for his first two years in office? – to explain what he hopes to see from Obama now.


“Many of my friends and family are scratching it out somewhere decidedly south of the ever widening gap between the haves and have nots, looking at losing their homes, colleges they can’t afford and healthcare they can’t avail themselves of. They’re the ones I’m thinking of when I say gangster,” he wrote, noting the constraints of having to work with an uncooperative Congress. “President Obama inherited a broken country mired in two wars, a financial crisis, a mortgage mess and more than we all probably even know about and has in my opinion brought us back from the brink. But I still see my friends in no better shape and the gap widening.”

Cheadle finally succumbs to the kind of heated rhetoric that was allegedly banned from public discourse in the wake of the awful Tucson shooting earlier this year.

“I still have a fevered dream of the POTUS smacking up John Boehner in a public forum in middle America and making him defend support of tax cuts for the super rich,” he said. “I want to see somebody go to jail over the financial crisis and not just black, brown and poor whites over humbles and minor drug beefs. I want the president to bail out homeowners who fell for the okey doke from predatory lenders and are two seconds from living on the streets or are already there… I want him to stand in front of the haters and go all Bill Duke on them and say, ‘You know you done fucked up now, don’t you?’ I kinda want a gangster president. I was about to write that in the future I would chose my words more carefully but I’m sure I won’t.”

We’re pretty sure he won’t, either.

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