April 14th, 2008
03:45 PM ET
10 years ago

Clinton 'toughening me up' for the general

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama said rival Hillary Clinton must feel like she's "doing him a favor" by attacking him the way she has been in recent weeks because, according to Obama, it will only make him stronger in a general election against Republican John McCain.

"I have tried to figure out how to show restraint and make sure that during this primary contest we're not damaging each other so badly that its hard for us to run in November," Obama said at The Associated Press annual conference.

"Sen. Clinton may not feel that she can afford to be as constrained," he said, "but I’m sure that Sen. Clinton feels like she's doing me a favor because she's been deploying most of the arguments the Republican Party will be using against me in November and so it's toughening me up. I'm getting run through the paces here."

Obama's comments came in response to a question on whether he felt Clinton should drop out. He deflected by saying he suspects Clinton will have her own answer for that when she addresses the same group on Tuesday.

The Illinois senator also included in his response a backhanded compliment, calling Clinton "unique" for having raised $35 million and remaining in the race all while "sustaining 11 straight losses."

soundoff (265 Responses)
  1. Martin

    Dear Bakersfield:

    When did states become Black States? What states are those? What states are White States? When did they get that way. Are living is a White State? White States and Black States are a state of mind. It is clear you lost sight of The United States!!

    April 14, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  2. Rainy

    The fact that you delusional Clinton supporters can write anything negative about Obama shows just how warped you guy's minds really are. Obama has been nothing but gracious, but Mrs. Pander Bear Clinton will soon learn from her mistakes. The funny thing is he will be the Dem nominee.

    April 14, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  3. Ray from Gainesville VA

    Thanks Dan. Funny how when blacks vote for obama, it's only because he's black. But are the high number of women who are voting for Clinton voting because she's a great leader? I don't think so.

    April 14, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  4. candical

    Hillary you win the prize. Not the nomination but the prize. What is the prize? A two week vacation to the whitewater resort in Arkansas where you can shoot a duck to your hearts content. Then off to the Clinton Library where you can pick up traveling money for your trip to China with Bill to see the Olympics. While you are at it bring back additional money for your next campaign. Don't worry if it is not enough you can invest it in cattle and get a 1000% return on it.

    April 14, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  5. kate

    Are you sure Obama can get thought the White House door with that ego?
    Could he be more arrogant?
    You are not winning the General pal, get over yourself.
    Rezco, Wright, Pennsylvanias are racist?, NAFTA,
    now your buddy Carter is ticking off the Jewish vote by going to meet with Hamas leader, and you think it's ok?
    Are you seriously thinking you'll win? That's the joke

    April 14, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  6. Jonathan of Tampa, FL

    Hillary is the negative campaigner. If Obama does not respond negatively
    he will lose. Clinton pulled into the mud, now he is simply playing a game it seems she prefers.

    April 14, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  7. Ray from Gainesville VA

    As you can tell I don't live in PA. But I'm mad as h&ll that I'm paying almost $4 for gas. I'm mad as h&ll that we're still losing soilders in Iraq (my brother is there). I'm mad as h&ll that my VP doesn't give a crap about what I think concerning Iraq...."so." I'm mad as h&ll that the govt has dragged it's feet with the illegal immigrants in this country. Uh wait...make that bitter!!!

    April 14, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  8. TJ

    Hillary's latest "Bitter" antics just inspired me to donate $25 to Obama's campaign!

    To think that I actually used to like Hillary Clinton, I would never vote for her. She has successfully ruined the Clinton legacy.

    OBAMA '08

    April 14, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |









    April 14, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  10. Indra in FL

    Wow – I don't remember Democrats being this divisive at the start of the campaign. I blame Hillary.

    Shame, shame, shame...

    I'd still vote for her over McCain, but I certainly hope Obama wins.

    April 14, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  11. Nathan

    Can you believe the temerity of people like Ariana Huffington and Jonathon Alter. I mean this is politics! Ask Zell and 2002 + 2004 Congressional Democrats about hardball politics. If you can't handle the heat Obama get out of the kitchen.

    April 14, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  12. Rj

    Most people are not bitter, they turn to religion because it is part of who they are not because they're bitter, they have guns for hunting not because they're bitter. He did not say they find comfort in their culture he said they become anti-immmigrant or against those not like them.

    This is a "Man of Words That Matter" – he knew exactly what he was saying.

    – He could have talked about PA small town people as the backbone of America. That even though times were hard they still continued to raise their families with values, they still have HOPE for the country, they are still interested in the the candidates ideas on the economics.

    He said none of those things instead he talked about ...


    – He was playing to his audience...

    – I think it would be interesting if he gave the same speech to a town hall full of people in PA.????

    April 14, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  13. Diana from PA

    I'm bitter at Hillary and Bill for all the lies. Can they tell the truth for one day. Well I guess not with 109m, money in over seas banks, china,and LA law suits;

    April 14, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  14. Jack

    Nice spin Sen. Obama..... these attacks are clearly getting to you personally b/c they're having an effect w/ the voters and the poll #s....

    Sen. Obama: You've badly damaged your chances in Nov...... you should step aside for the good of the party

    April 14, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  15. Hillary 08

    Glade to hear Hillary now has 20 Point lead in PA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 14, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  16. Harry Moyer

    I believe that Hillary has been beat up by Republicans so much, (sometimes rightly so), she has learned to fight them. The problem is that she learned so well that she now has little difference between herself and republicans when it comes to campaigning. Obama had it right when he said that the biggest problem a lot of "connected" democrats have against his that he hasn't been in the game long enough. He hasn't had the hopes and ideals beat out of him as yet. Well I say thank God! We need someone to show us how it's suppose to be, instead of just saying what everyone wants to hear.

    April 14, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  17. Michael G- Ventura, CA

    I have one favor to ask. To all independents and undecideds for the up coming primaries: Go through each of these stories- read all the posts- and then decide your vote.
    The Hillary supporters are the nastiest, most hateful and deceitful people around.
    Is THIS what you want your Country to be run by?
    Don't you agree it's time for change?
    I worked for Bill Clinton in 92 & 96 (I volunteered for his campaigns).I wore out three pairs of shoes in 1992 walking precints for him.
    I really ask you to see what I have seen- the same old politics just won't work anymore. And if they think they're losing-which they are- the hate starts to fly like NASA had a birthday.
    Please see for yourself.

    April 14, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  18. Ziggy

    Ronald Reagan once said about Third World countries ruled by cruel dictators that "people deserve the leaders they get". I guess that, looking at all that's going on today in American politics, in a country in recession and at war, when people have been lied to over and over again by the same governments that got them in this situation in the first place, and nothing ever changes, I guess we can say that we Americans deserve the type of government that has been in Washington and has made us "bitter" and "frustrated". And the problem is that we still don't know that we are bitter and frustrated, and that we cling on to guns and religion to help us hang on.

    April 14, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  19. Bridgette- PA

    Come on Pennsylvania, let's shut Hillary down once and for all on 4/22/08.


    April 14, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  20. Debby

    Hey Dan Clintons life has been an open book all these years. Its Obama that has the skeletons coming out of the closet lately.

    April 14, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  21. Californian

    I beg of you. Will Clinton, McCain and journalists stop beating a dead horse and admit that nobody is suffering like the people who have no prospects in sight for a good life. On the other hand, I think Clinton is actually demeaning herself and that is a plus for Obama.

    April 14, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  22. Sharon

    EVERY TIME this guy opens his mouth he sounds WORSE AND WORSE!
    He talks down to EVERYONE and blames EVERYONE ELSE for HIS WORDS! What a joke!
    Why is everyone talking about the ARG poll today that shows Hillary up by 20 points? SurveyUSA had her up 18points LAST WEEK!

    BO is an absolute joke....I've felt he had these "hidden" feelings about other people since he looked down on Hillary MONTHS ago and said "you're likable enough, Hillary." AND "I'm pretty sure I can get her votes, I'm not so sure she can get mine" He is soooooo bad.....

    I think SNL needs to do an ANNIE OAKLEY skit with Hillary and Obama 🙂

    April 14, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  23. Brenda

    Hillary Clinton just cant help herself. The Bosnia story came out, Mark Penn and Bill Clinton came out, employees and small vendors in ohio came out and the Obama campaign never said anything that would damage her in a general election. I'm proud to represent a candidate thats about change and building the country up and not a candidate that would do any and every thing to tear it down.

    April 14, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  24. dEMABRAT

    You can take the man out of Trinity church, but you can't take the Trinity church outta the man.

    April 14, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  25. Sharon

    Rolland Martin is CRYING.....I LOVE IT!

    April 14, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
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