April 14th, 2008
03:45 PM ET
7 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. HYPOCRACY 08

    Oh get off the cross... we need the wood!

    April 14, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  2. H

    OBAMA IS A DISGRACE. HE DOES NOT RESPECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. NOR DOES HE LOVE AMERICA. PLEASE GO AWAY OBAMA. YOU HAVE DONE ENOUGH DAMAGE TO OUR PARTY.

    April 14, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  3. Denise

    JCB, not all poeple who attend private schools are rich. In the US we have scholarships and loans that help the majority of us attend school. Your snobbery against the educated is probably what helped keep Bush in office for 2 terms.

    And I agree that if Hillary serves any purpose, it's to help prepare Obama for the crap that the Republicans will sling when he becomes the nominee. Either that or she is running to be McCain's VP.

    April 14, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  4. Mohammad, LA CA

    lol the democratic party is tearing itself apart...itsa too funny. and here us normal people will have to suffer under 8 more years of a bush (mccain) presidency...

    April 14, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  5. Mike

    Hey Dennis in Florida, get over yourself and leave Senator Clinton alone!

    She won your state, hey, and YOUR vote doesn't even count!!!!

    Hillary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 14, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  6. John

    The Obama's "Bitter" debacle,is no joke.I commented on the controversy,and pointed out that what he(Obama) termed a political flash is in minds of many,a political fireball!

    April 14, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  7. Barack Obama...Elitism and Insensitivity Toward Some Americans

    What a bunch of hooey! Obama needs to be "toughened up?" So, he really is trying to learn on-the-job ...even learning to be a candidate in an election. This man is so not ready to be President!!!

    April 14, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  8. Ravi

    When will Hillary Clinton supporters finally tire of the lies, half-truths and non-issues that her campaign is churning out? There are so many examples that only a real idiot could not see her for who she is – off the top these would have to include:

    – Her repeated "sniper fire" lie (which Bill Clinton attempted to defend recently);
    – the Clinton campaign's utter failure to address Geraldine Ferrarro's overt racism (not to mention Bill Clinton's);
    – Her alleged opposition to the US-Colombia FTA while her top adviser has lobbied for it and her husband has netted at least $800,000 for promoting;
    – Her NAFTA lies (how on earth can you really expect people to believe that one can have "serious reservations" about a trade deal that one lobbied so extensively for);
    – a civil lawsuit she is facing in California (Paul v Clinton); and
    – the unprecedented aggression towards a fellow Democratic candidate which reached its peak when she indicated that John McCain was better qualified than Barack Obama to be commander in chief (only to then contradict this argument by "offering" him the VP position)

    The list goes on.

    April 14, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  9. Donna

    OLD SAYING I'M SURE HE WOULDN'T APPRECIATE OR HE WOULD CALL ME RACIST FOR SAYING BUT HERE GOES;

    IF YOU GIVE HIM ENOUGH ROPE HE'LL HANG HIMSELF WITH IT!!!!

    JUST LET THIS CAMPAIGN GO ON AND MANY OF THOSE EARLY VOTERS WHO VOTED FOR OBAMA WILL BE WANTING TO TAKE THEIR VOTE BACK!!!!

    April 14, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  10. Sophia

    April 14th, 2008 6:02 pm ET

    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.
    ......................................................
    You don't get it either....New ARG poll shows Hillary up 20% today. So maybe, Obama ego got the better of him again & give more ammunition to the republicans!

    April 14, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  11. Dan

    Ever noticed that most positive comments for Hillary left here are from women. They need to look up a few of these names/terms. NAFTA, Vince Foster, Whitewater, Monica Lewinski, ie. impeachment), Frank Giustra, Filegate, Travelgate, Mark Penn, Jorge Cabrera, Peter Paul, Abdul Rehman Jinnah. I can go on and on! She was the FIRST FIRST LADY to come under criminal investigation, the FIRST FIRST LADY to almost be indicted according to special prosecutors. Hillary Clinton fundraisers convicted of, or pleading no contest to, crime: 5, NUMBER OF TIMES that Hillary Clinton, providing testimony to Congress, and said that she didn't remember, didn't know, or something similar: 250. NUMBER OF CLOSE BUSINESS partners of Hillary Clinton who ended up in prison: 3. Hillary Clinton was mentioned 35 times in the Whitewater indictment.

    Now do you really think that the republicans are going to sit on these stories in November. AND these are just a few of the criminal activities of Bill and Hillary. Obama has been a very clean competitor so far, I'm sure he is bitting his lip keeping all of these, (and many other stories from hitting the news stands). He could ruin the DNC and Clinton for Life!

    April 14, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  12. fran

    His comments about her have the same effect. He cannot get away with saying whatever he wants to say about Hillary, then turn it around as if he's some kind of a victim. He's just as guilty. This is why so many of us in this party have a hard time supporting him. He says one thing, then does another. Double talk. If he's so concerned about the party, then get out of the race

    April 14, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  13. dems for mccain

    OH MY GOD! IS HE KIDDING US. IF HE THINKS HILLARY HAS BEEN SO TOUGH ON HIM, IF HE IS THE NOMINEE, HE WILL BE TORN APART IN THE GENERAL ELECTION BY ROVE AND THE REPUBLICAN MACHINE. SHE HAS STAYED OFF SO MANY OF HIS CONTROVERSIAL REMARKS TO KEEP FROM ALIENATING SOME OF THE KEY DEMOCRATIC VOTERS LIKE THE BLACK VOTE AND THE ULTRA LIBERAL VOTE THAT OBAMA HAS BACKING HIM. ITS KINDA SAD TO THINK THAT HE REALLY SEES THIS AS BEING TOUGH AND HILLARY GOUGING SO HARD AT HIM. MOST OF EVERYTHING THAT HAS COME OUT NEGATIVE ABOUT HIM IS SELF INFLICTED AND SHE HAS HIT ON A FEW KEY NOTES ABOUT IT BUT HASNT REALLY DRIVEN THE POINT ABOUT ANY OF THEM... HE JSUT WONT BE ABLE TO STAY THE COURSE IN NOVEMBER, SO IM GOING CLINTON, OR JUST MAYBE IF SHE ISNT THE EVENTUAL NOMINEE THAT MCCAIN IS DIFFERENT ENOUGH FROM BUCH AND IS ENOUGH OF A MAVERICK TO GET MY VOTE IN NOVEMBER.

    April 14, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  14. MAR

    Finally, the press is reporting what the public is saying instead of reporting what the press is saying. Most folks understood what Barack was saying. My gosh. A mis-speak for Obama is being treated like a federal offense. What about McCain not being able to get the groups right in Iraq (on several occasions)? Now, that is arrogant . . . not taking the time to learn about the folks he wants to impose his foreign policy on.

    April 14, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  15. ds

    You know, I really haven't heard Obama say things that aren't true. I have definitely heard him speak truths that are taboo, though. Unfortunately, most of us would rather scream foul than to ask ourselves "why does this offend?" It's tough to look in the mirror.

    April 14, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  16. America For Americans

    I'm just curious as to how Both senator's Clinton and Obama are not B\both equally electable. I mean i read these statements and people are are claiming that Senator Obama is not electable; what exactly does that mean. Senator Obama is up 700,000 popular votes, he has 150 more delegates, and more than tend states won. Also, lets not forget the Senator has raised three times as much money over the internet from private donors than both Senator's Clinton and McCain. Consequently, can anyone explain why he is intrinsically "un-Electable!" Or is this just a cute buzzword people or using to try to make a silly argument for the candidate they support. Oh and by the way the republican machine will try to dismantle both candidates?

    April 14, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  17. Andy

    The treatment of Barack Obama by the Clinton campaign is restrained. If he thinks the treatment he is getting right now is harsh, just wait until he faced McCain. Barack Obama will be destroyed. He has no credentials that can compare him, ON ANY LEVEL, with John McCain. If Barack Obama wins, I am 100% convinced that he will be destoyed by the Republicans. Trust me: they are just getting warmed up and his favourables are already falling.

    And don't even get me started on the Clinton campaign being more negative than the Obama campaign. They are both negative. Barack likes to pretend he is above it all, but I'm not fooled.

    April 14, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  18. rhenry101

    Candidates aren't perfect. Obama will make mistakes. He needs to learn how to address the issues, admit any mistakes that were made, and move on. He fell short in his response to the Wright controversy, and he's doing the same with his remarks about small-town voters in Pennsylvania. All of this is leading to a sense of deja-vu amongst the voters. We've had a president for 8 years that has never made a mistake and never taken the blame for anything. Look where that's gotten us.

    April 14, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  19. Dani

    Whatever, he won't win the general election anyway. Let him run his mouth and yet pat himself on the back again, and again, and again. He's pretty good at that. He wasn't able to even come close to winning the predominantly red states, which means he won't win the general election. Beat up Hillary all you want, she has a better shot against McCain in the general election than Obama does.

    April 14, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  20. ltd1974

    Keep up the Good work Obama. Carter and Gore is about to step in and endorse you and tell Hillary to hang it up. Game Over!

    April 14, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  21. Lisa

    Why does Obama need Clinton to toughen him up, shouldn't that be Michelle's job?

    April 14, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  22. Geri

    God help America if Obama becomes president.

    April 14, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  23. Connor, Philadelphia

    Obama will never be strong enough or tough enough to withstand the Republican smear machine. They will swift boat his fancy, high-falootin' tail into submission. He does not have what it takes to withstand such an attack. Better men than he have tried and failed. So get ready to say hello to President McCain.

    April 14, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  24. Newman

    Abandon all hope ye who enter here. We are due for a grim era if Hillary is the nominee. It's time to send a message and stop evil before it spreads. Barack Obama the hero has his armor now and will defeat both Hillary and John. The true savior will set us free.

    April 14, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  25. TN

    I FIND IT REALLY FUNNY THAT PEOPLE THINK THAT MCCAIN IS GOING TO BE HARD TO BEAT IN THE GENERAL...

    PICTURE HIM IN A DEBATE W/ OBAMA OR CLINTON... HE'S GOING TO SUCK...

    BUT TRUE OBAMA CAN DEF. SAY I BE THE TOUGHEST POLITICAN IN WASHINGTON!!!

    KEEP GOING OBAMA, IT'S WILL MAKE YOU EVEN STRONGER DURING THE GENERAL!!!

    OBAMA 08

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