Spike Lee on Obama’s First Term: ‘Expectations Were Way Too High’

Spike Lee came to President Obama's defense in an interview with CNN's Don Lemon, arguing that the pressure put on the president hit messianic levels

Last Updated: August 10, 2012 @ 4:03 PM

Spike Lee is doing a little election-season expectation management on behalf of President Obama. Lee came to the president’s defense in an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, arguing that the hopes for Obama during his first term couldn’t have been higher.

“He was the savior – Black Jesus,” said the Brooklyn-raised filmmaker, who doesn’t shy away from politically charged material in his own efforts, onscreen and off. “And … look, I don’t care who it was,” Lee continued. “Expectations were, I think, way too high.”

Lee, who’s currently promoting both the president's cause and his own latest film, “Red Hook Summer,” told Lemon he believes Obama has faced a considerable political obstacle during his first term in the form of a hostile Congress out to block his every move. “We’re blocking, and every breath we take we’re gonna do what we can [so] that you don’t get a second term,” said Lee, channeling Obama’s opposition. “And if it hurts America in the process, tough business.”

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But, he said, although the president’s “not perfect,” he’s still got Lee’s vote this November. “I’m gonna do what I can to help,” Lee told Lemon.

That helpful impulse has already led Lee to host a fund-raiser at his Manhattan home on Jan. 20, where the president's supporters raised more than a million dollars.

Watch Lee in action in the clip below. The full interview will run Saturday on CNN at 10 p.m. EDT.