January 26th, 2008
10:20 PM ET
3 years ago

Obama: Campaign is about "the future versus the past"

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - At his South Carolina victory event Saturday night, Barack Obama described the 2008 campaign as a simple fight: "the past versus the future."

"We’re looking to fundamentally change the status quo in Washington – a status quo that extends beyond any particular party," he said. "And right now, that status quo is fighting back with everything it’s got."

Obama said his blowout win should persuade the cynics who thought his victory in Iowa "was just an illusion" that they were wrong.

The Illinois senator's other message: race is not a factor. He told the excited crowd of about 2,000 that after the four early nominating contests, he has "the most diverse coalition of Americans we've seen in a long time."

"They are young and old; rich and poor," Obama said. "They are black and white; Latino and Asian."

He cited a woman who once worked for longtime South Carolina politician Strom Thurmond, a Republican who continued to support segregationist views until his death in 2003.

"[She] knocked on doors for this campaign," Obama said. "Don’t tell me we can’t change."

Speaking in stentorian tones lightened by a singsongy lilt reminiscent of a Baptist preacher, he said, "Yes we can change! Yes we can!"

–CNN's Chris Welch
soundoff (130 Responses)
  1. Tina

    The future vs the past. He doesn't want too many people looking into his past.
    Well I for one believe the past makes us who we are. For good or for bad.

    January 27, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  2. Mark C. Eades

    Hillary Clinton deserved the beating she received in South Carolina. Her and her husband’s behavior in recent weeks has been a disgrace, and as a former Clinton voter I have lost any respect I ever had for the former first couple. I have no doubt, however, that we can fully expect to see more dirty politics from the Clintons as we head into Super Tuesday.

    January 27, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  3. Anti Clintons

    Hitlery is from the past, she is no good, this country needs a new leader for a new way of life. Hiterly is a cowardly power hungry hack, it show in her face, she is a rap singer that cry's.

    She is yellow and a coward like her husband is.

    Obama!

    January 27, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. RC

    You need some experience to be president (see Bush what happens when one becomes president without experience). Just giving motivational speech is not enough. Clinton will be a good candidate for democrats as she is the most experienced person. Edwards can be good vice president candidate (looking at southern voters), and if they win election, Obama can be Clinton's speech writer. That way we can use all three front runners to good use based on their experience and skillset.

    January 27, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. Steven in Charleston, SC

    The idea that this election is about "the future versus the past" is a solid, though not particular orginal, sentiment.

    However if Sen. Obama wants to keep building on the momentum he has created, at some point - preferably sooner rahter than later - he is going to have to actually ~tell~ us what he plans to do. You can only use the words "hope" and "change" so many times - at some point you have to actually quantify those concepts with real proposals. Until then, Sen. Obama isn't going to get my support, and he may find Super Tuesday and beyond a more difficult row to hoe than the love-fest he experienced here yesterday.

    January 27, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  6. Viki

    Future is about strong economy, about people able to pay their bills. What possibly Obama knows about poor? He never was poor. He always talks about change. What change? I can not connect with him because he doesn’t connect to individuals; his connection is to the crowd. We don’t need a showman in White house. We need a person in charge who can deliver results.
    No messy desks at White House!
    Hillary has my vote.

    January 27, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. Kay

    Why is it that race, in some reference or another, has to be inserted into this campaign by this man at every turn? I'm so over it already! We see he's the candidate for "change"...he is the first white-black candidate to get this far...that's change...what I'm not hearing past the issue of race and how "lovely" he and his family are, is his real plan for change! Stop following the dream people and start asking this man the tough questions! All I hear is "Camelot Part II" and 'his wife has a new do!" I'm sure that will bode well for them dealing with the slim at the UN (insert sneer)...

    January 27, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. Lonny

    Past vs. future, no doubt. I don't want to relive to 90's!

    Obama will be the only one to Unite us and move us forward!

    January 27, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. Dude

    Obama, sure, man, of COURSE we "CAN"... but HOW and with WHAT and WHO? there's a lot of details in there I'd like fleshed out before I get all starry-eyed about him. I'm with Devin, logic over emotion please, when it comes to the future of this country.

    January 27, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  10. Boomer

    Before we get all too excited about Obama we should find out specifically what he plans to do about health care, social security, the economy and Iraq. So far, he is only selling a smile and rhetoric. He spends all of his time trying to tell everyone he is the peace maker for the country. We are not at war with each other. We just need to beat the Republicans. Feel good politics will not do it.

    January 27, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  11. Oliver

    If the future vs the past is supposed to mean that it's time for the first Affirmative Action President, then Obama is right – but if he gets elected, it will not be because of experience or track record, but because people feel a black guy needs to get the job this time around- despite the fact he is not qualified for it in any way

    January 27, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  12. Joelle, Milwaukee, WI

    As an Independent I find that somehow very disturbing.

    The Political Affirmative Action Candidate, Mr. Obama, remains an empty suit that grabs the microphone, gazes up at the clouds, speaks to the clouds in paragraphs or books, and is never seriously questioned or made to answer about anything. It's all hope, change, hope, change, hope, change...

    I HOPE that this situation will CHANGE, and the people, certainly the press, which has already anointed him, will begin to ask some SERIOUS QUESTIONS for a CHANGE!

    Re: S.C. with 80% of the black vote for Obama... certainly no racial bias there? Additionally, there are perhaps 2 or 3 other states, in the South that are very similar to S.C.; that would be Georgia, Alabama and perhaps Mississippi.

    I find it very troubling that anyone can get 80% of the S.C. vote and we still have people saying, "I'm glad that America has rejected race as an issue in the election process."

    Think about this: The blacks came home for OJ and the blacks are certainly comin' home for Obama...

    January 27, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. alisha

    we are in 2008...

    we always remembers som good thing from the past...

    it s not about race gender poor rich democrat or republican....

    IT IS ABOUT DOING VS TALKING...

    hillary clinton for president...

    January 27, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  14. Pat

    I cannot believe anyone in their right minds would endorse or vote for obama. Of course, you would expect that from somebody like the Kennedy's.

    January 27, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. iyke

    In moment's like these, we know what a true leader looks like,Obama is what America and the World needs,let us all support him come february 5. For we see these kind of comet onces in a life time.

    January 27, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. Pat

    T. Hale – do you not think oprah has bought this election for obama???

    January 27, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  17. pam Eugene OR

    My vote is for the future. The dot com days are over and that takes credit for the good times in the Bill Clinton years. Not his leadership. Then Bill signed NAFTA and sent all those great, high paying jobs overseas. Other then the economy Bill brought nothing but shame to his years of scandals. I don't want to go back. I want the future that Barack Obama offers me.
    The Republicans will rip Hillary to shreds. Barack has left all the Clinton scandals completely alone. You can beat the farm that the Republican won't be nearly so kind.
    She is unelectable in a general election and it would be very ugly for America.

    January 27, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. Amanda

    So, what I'm seeing here is that it's OK to vote on charisma and not the issues? Come on...wake up! Where's the beef from Obama? I want to hear the hows and whys before I make up my mind. It seems quite a few people are OK with voting on emotion!

    January 27, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. Duncan, Richmond, VA

    Oh please.... Change change change? People are so ignorant and gullible. What change? HOW????? Where is the details? who will pay?? HOW???? Will he get rid of big corporations buying into The Congress? No!!.. so where is the big change? Will he get rid of lobbyists? NO!! .. Obama is no different than the others.. wake up people!!! I can not believe how totally stupid people are to fall for this same crap.

    January 27, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  20. Benny Kennedy

    UNITY IS THE BEST WAY TO TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK... WITH OBAMA AS OUR PRESIDENT WE WILL FINALLY GET A CHANCE TO REALLY CHANGE AMERICA AND HEAL THE DAMAGE WE HAVE CAUSED AS A NATION AROUND THE WORLD...

    HILLARY MAY BE QUALIFIED BUT SHE HAS JUST AS MUCH EXPERIENCE AS OBAMA... THEY BOTH HAVE SERVED IN THE SENATE FOR ABOUT THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME... SHE ADDS HER TIME AS FIRST LADY... SORRY THAT DOESNT FLY AS EXPERIENCE FOR BEING THE LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD. IT JUST ADDS TO THE MILLIONS OF LIES I HAVE HEARD FROM THE CLINTONS FOR A LONG TIME... I HAVENT FORGOT ALL THE SCANDELS AND LIES THAT BEGAN OUR NEGATIVE PORTAYAL AROUND THE WORLD... BILL CLINTON WAS ONE OF ONLY TWO PRESIDENTS EVER TO BE IMPEACHED... I PERSONALLY DON'T WANT HIM BACK IN THE WHITE HOUSE EVEN AS THE HUSBAND... BILL CLINTON ROMING FREE IN THE WHITE HOUSE? AHHHHHH!!!

    OBAMA IS TRUE AND JUST FOR OUR COUNTRY... IF YOU FEEL THE SAME WAY DON'T STOP SPREADING THE WORD UNTILL HE IS ELECTED... WE HAVE A LONG ROAD AHEAD AND THE POWERS THAT BE DON'T WANT OBAMA TO GET ELECTED... WE WILL HAVE TO FIGHT FOR WHAT IS RIGHT... IT IS OUR TIME!!!!

    OBAMA for PRESIDENT!!!!

    January 27, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  21. jp/michigan

    Mr. Obama yes you won South Caroline , with your poor boy, picked upon by the Clintons sympathy vote. When are you going to get to the real issues, like your voting record( which is sad), your experiences ( which you haven't much to talk about) and your platform ( the one you took for the playbook of the other candidates). Maybe in the next debate the media can quit letting to slide though . All candidates promise change . You speaker more as if you gone the ministry school than to Harvard.

    January 27, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  22. James, Houston,TX.

    The American Public deserve everything they GET! Obama?

    Trial and Error! Look at what it has COST EVERYONE in the last 7 yrs! Push and Shove! Geo. Bush doesn't have Sense to come out of the Rain ! Yes, Trial and Error! Obama?

    Yes, Go For IT America, another "Wided Eyed and Bushy Tail" from Chicago is in route to guide You thru your your FUTURE ! This Guy really professes that he is the "Born Again Savior' since Ronnie Reagan! The Contras are waiting in the Wings! Obama?

    As Stated America, You Deserve What You Wish! Trail and Error, Obama?

    January 27, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  23. nada

    OBAMA08......This is a great victory for our brother Barack Hussain Obama, America needs a change, and only this man can bring about this change. YES WE CAN, yes we can change America and this is the man. As a Pakistani-American woman i urge all my fellow muslim brothers and sisters to go out and vote, vote for a man who will bring this nation to the great nation it should be.

    January 27, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  24. REPTILE

    WILL Barack survive Hillary's venom?

    January 27, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  25. AnnAloha, PA Independent Thinker

    The PAST 8 years should be changed and whether you liked it or not...The Clinton years were productive...Should we changed them also?Not Hardly and if we are truly smart we will consider that point or reduce ourselves to media spins and political media positioning at it's best.
    Be careful people...you are falling right into the media trap.

    January 27, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
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