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. Independent-woman-voter-for-Obama

    Hillary's attack machine continues, and sadly, they do not notice that once she was up in Pennsylvania by double digits, which is now ONLY 6%. Attacks backfire. She doesn't get it.

    April 14, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  2. frank

    Obama's supporters are really ridiculous. When Obama do something wrong, they, including Obama himself, attack Hillary. They are really immature and inexperienced, just like Obama.
    How do you expect Obama to become a president, a head of a group of babies?

    April 14, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  3. Cory

    Stop calling Obama a "woman hater" Edna. It's ignorant to a shocking degree. Just because he's in a heated race with a woman doesn't make him a woman hater, just like that doesn't make Hillary a man hater. Anyway, I think there's more evidence for Hillary=man hater, than Obama=woman hater, but whatever, no one really cares if someone is a "man hater" so its a mute point.

    And Noah has it totally wrong, I was in the crowd, and while I wasn't one of the ones jeering, the crowd WAS jeering Hillary, NOT the statements Obama made.

    April 14, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  4. Dave


    All this hate-mongering online with mean a McCain presidency period. Polls show Obama will have tougher time in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. Polls also show Clinton will have a hard time in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington.

    If Democrats could somehow unite behind one candidate come November, we could finally get some stuff done in this country. But if that does not happen and McCain is elected President, we have more war and a worse economy.

    Think about it.

    I'm an avid Obama supporter but if Hillary is nominated I will proudly cast my vote for her.

    April 14, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  5. doug

    Me thinks that Hillary is really a republican in democrats clothing, she's so out of touch with Main Street America that it's a pity. She needs to get real and give it up or change party.

    April 14, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  6. NG in DC

    Obama looked like he was about to cry beneath his big false smile when he called Clinton "Annie Oakley" the other day. He's like a big kid who got smacked on the play ground is trying to act tough by calling her names...while holding back the baby tears.

    Imagine when he goes to Iran and gets called all sorts of names. He'll melt like sugar.

    April 14, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  7. JT

    I'm so glad Obama is in this race because we would be left with self-centered, selfish Hillary. It's a great country, we have made our choice, and our choice thinks about other people, not just themselves. What a concept, huh Hillary? We actually have a patriotic American, running to be the president of America, so he can do something for Americans, not just himself. Wow, so that's how it works.

    In Clintonsworld, we would listen to the lies, vote her in, and watch her pay back all her cronies, for getting her in. Watch her ignore us, watch her write her memoirs, pay a small fortune for her book. Watch her retire, and listen to how many more millions she is making with the NAFTA deal, that will still be in place. That's Clintonsworld, and I'm so glad I will not be going there.

    Obama 08

    April 14, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  8. Michael

    As asoon as I get paid on Friday I'm giving Obama a donation also. He's the right man for the job and will do great things for this country.

    If it were another HONEST woman she'd get my vote, but never Hillary.

    April 14, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  9. Fendley

    What an absolute jerk Obama is.

    April 14, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  10. HYPOCRACY 08

    At this point I may not even vote... I'm depressed by the whole thing... nothing is being talked about other than mud slinging by all involved... it's really sad when you think about it. War, Economy, Education, Imigration, etc, etc, etc,,,,,,

    Hard issues are on the table and we discuss Bosnia, Monica, Wright, what he said, what she said.... etc....

    This whole process makes you feel dirty... it's just sick

    April 14, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  11. robert knopp

    I've said all along that bigots wouldn't go at him for race. They go in the side door by misquoting his preacher. The right is already trying to take away our Savior by making him bitter and not inclusive. Obama is not their kind of Christian. Don't even imply that maybe blacks have been treated unfairly, because that means he's not our kind of Cristian.

    April 14, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  12. Caleb

    Dear stupid obama, you big snob. If you do make it to the general, which I doubt, since you make a bigger mistake every couple of weeks which makes your numbers go down against John Mccain, you will lose just like John Kerry, another elitist who looked down his nose at the rest of us Americans.

    April 14, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  13. Noah

    Obama is now resorting to ridicule..This is your politics of change. His attacks on Clinton and Annie Oakley are childish and make him look arrogant.

    April 14, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. Sam, TX

    This is the perfect theme song for Hillary.

    I'm an old cowhand from the Rio Grande
    But my legs ain't bowed and my cheeks ain't tanned
    I'm the cowboy who never saw a cow
    Never roped a steer 'cause I don't know how
    I sure ain't fixin' to start in now
    Yippee i oh ti-ay! Yippee i oh ti-ay!

    I'm an old cowhand from the Rio Grande
    And I learned to ride before I learned to stand
    I'm a ridin' fool who is up to date
    I know every trail in the Lone Star State
    'Cause I ride the range in a Ford V-8
    Yippee i oh ti-ay! Yippee i oh ti-ay!

    -Lyrics by Bing Crosby

    April 14, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  15. vic nashville,Tn

    Obama Don’t act like an idiot

    April 14, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  16. JCB

    "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." What a liar! You made negative comments about her drinkling a whiskey today - and you already owned up to drugs and drank in public during this election campaign. Hillary has the right to campaign and call the shots as she sees them. That is not negative, that is just being honest. She is not hurting the democratic party - you are, Obama. You should drop out of the race now. You and your reps are keeping the Florida and Michigan ballots out of the count. You know that if they were counted, Hilllary would be leading. What a sham you are. Hillary 2008

    April 14, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  17. MMASH in NC

    Uh..Sorry folks, speaking truth about bitterness does not come anywhere close to Clintons outright lies about Bosnia or McSames "Bomb Iran" jokes. It's absurd the standard by which Obama is judged. Luckily though,he always manages to meet or exceed it.

    April 14, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  18. Desiree

    This man is full of himself. I don't think the White House is big enough for his ego.

    April 14, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  19. Ken, LA California

    Hillary will not exercise constraint because she knows she is loosing the nomination, I think we should visit the republican dump truck and pick up just one dossier about the clintons. The republicans were so ready for her and now they dodnt know what to do with Obama.

    April 14, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  20. Tyler

    Dear Lynn D,
    What about Hillary's campaign finance fraud in the case vs Peter Paul, that is way worse than anything on Obama.

    April 14, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  21. Allan

    Senators Obama and Clinton have chosen to take on the most thankless task in the US by running for President. Too bad so few of you appreciate the sacrifices they and their families are making.

    That being said, one has rallied more people.

    One has gained more contributors.

    One has won more votes.

    One has won more delegates.

    One has won more states.

    If that one were Hillary Clinton, who here would not encourage Obama to step aside for the good of the Party?

    I continue to be inspired by the grace and elan with which Senator Obama rises, and rises, and rises. And disappointed with the gracelessness and bitterness with which Senator Clinton falls, and falls, and falls.

    April 14, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  22. NickSanDiego

    Job at the

    General Store?

    General Foods?

    General Retail?

    Hillary you will only see the General ELECTION from the stands cheering for our next President. President Obama. If you pout and stay home I will personally move to NY just like YOU did and do EVERYTHING In my power to get you voted out. OH the Biggest difference between you and I is I ACTUALLY HAVE FAMILY IN NEW YORK YOU POSER!!

    April 14, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  23. Elisabeth

    My old aunt FLORENCE in FLORIDA is angry. She says that some bad FAT guys and an academic elitist snob from Chicago don´t want that her vote for Hillary Clinton is being counted. For the same reason my old aunt MICHELLE in MICHIGAN is utterly furiuos. It´s absolutely unbelievable. A Generation of Cowards and an elitist sniper. No wonder my aunts are biDDer.

    April 14, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  24. Hillary Is The Sham

    Hillary is the sham JCB, and someday you'll find that out.

    Obama 08

    April 14, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  25. nina


    The media has been putting him on a pedestal he thinks he is above every body else.

    April 14, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
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