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Obama calls Michael Jackson both 'brilliant' and 'tragic'

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In an AP interview today, President Barack Obama called the late entertainer a brilliant performer, while also addressing the star’s troubled personal life:

“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,” he told the AP. “I think that Michael Jackson will go down in history as one of our greatest entertainers. His brilliance as a performance also was paired with a tragic and in many ways, sad personal life.”

Obama said he grew up on Jackson’s music, adding, “I still have all his stuff on my iPod.”

As for any criticism from members of the black community arguing that he should have spoken out sooner, the President (who did write a private letter to the Jackson family soon after the superstar’s death) downplayed the potential controversy.

“I know a lot of people in the black community, and I haven’t heard [complaints],” Obama said.