April 17th, 2008
03:13 PM ET
7 years ago

Obama brushes Clinton off his shoulders—literally

,
CNN

Listen to Obama’s remarks on Clinton Thursday.

RALEIGH, North Carolina (CNN)-–Democrat Barack Obama said Thursday that rival Hillary Clinton was "in her element" at Wednesday night's debate, telling a North Carolina crowd she "took every opportunity to get a dig in."

He used his hands to motion brushing his shoulders off. "That's her right to kind of twist the knife in a little bit," he said, before adding that he understands why she's using what he calls the tactics of the GOP.

"That’s the lesson that she learned when the Republicans were doing that same thing to her back in the 1990s. ...So, I understand it," Obama continued.

"When you're running for the presidency then you’ve gotta expect it and you know you’ve just gotta kinda let it—" He paused, brushing his shoulders off with his hands before doing the same to his knees and pant legs.

"You know, it's what you gotta do," he said, to wild cheers from the Raleigh audience.

Obama's attacks echo a theme his campaign has been hammering, as well.

In a conference call with reporters Thursday morning, campaign manager David Plouffe said Clinton's recent negative ads in Pennsylvania are part of a "relentlessly negative campaign."

But before Obama directly took on Clinton, the Illinois senator took a swipe at the debate itself, sarcastically calling the back-and-forths the two have been having lately "inspiring events." He added that Wednesday's set a new record in his book.

"It took us 45 minutes before we even started talking about a single issue that matters to the American people."

All this at a time when it remains unclear whether Obama will commit to an April 27 debate in North Carolina. Coincidentally, an audience member asked him why he hasn't committed to that one yet.

Obama, as he has in the past, downplayed the relevance of recent broadcasts.

"I’ll be honest with you," Obama started, "you know we now had 21, and look, I mean the previous three, you know, we did very well, so its not as if we don’t know how to do these things."

soundoff (431 Responses)
  1. Kathy Corey

    The debate allowed both candidates to address issues that were swirling around the campaigns. Instead of offering Senator Obama a pillow...Charlie, George and some video taped citizens asked some tough questions. Questions it turns out that Senator Obama was less than prepared to answer. When both candidates share 95%+ of the same philosophies....this is bound to happen. Senator Obama is right...in the previous issue debates...he said many times...I agree with Senator Clinton. Senator Obama should watch some of the Republican debates....John McCain will give him no quarter.

    April 17, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  2. Sean S

    Get ..Billary..off out shoulder LOL Go Obama. I gotta see the video

    April 17, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  3. Andrew

    Who doesn't want to have a beer with this guy?

    April 17, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  4. TJ IN LA

    BARACK OBAMA...2008!
    INTEGRITY MATTERS!

    April 17, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. JJ

    There you go Obama get the dirt of your shoulders and move on.

    April 17, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. Cape Cod

    What arrogance!!! Last night's debate was by far the hardest one for Obama thusfar. He was asked pointed questions about things that have surfaced about him since the last debate, I would have liked to have heard more questions about issues and how either candidate would take on McCain in the General Election but you can't have everything.
    With the news stories that have come out shows a side of Obama that voters haven't seen yet this primary season & they touched on his character (which is important). Voters were already duped by one candidate that appealed to the beer drinkers so much so you voted him TWICE, you believed his speeches when he said he was going to go Washington and change how things are done. Well he sure changed things & not for the better.
    What I am most concerned about is the "open mouth insert foot" syndrome that Obama seems to suffer from. How many times now has the media broke a story about some demeaning comment he made and his response is "well it was not what I meant to say" or "they misunderstood my intentions" (I'm paraphrasing). HELLO!!! with the state of unrest in the world at this time with so many crazy zealots waiting for any excuse to unleash their weapons on us or our Allies we can't afford to have a Commander in Chief who cannot speak what he means & mean what he speaks–it is too dangerous. What happens if he has a meeting with Iran or North Korea and he says something stupid?
    I am glad to see that the kid gloves are coming off some the news media where Obama is concerned I'm just afraid it is too late to make a difference in this primary.

    April 17, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. slinkymalinky

    Obama gets stomped in the debate and he carelessly brushes it off like sand from the playground.

    I wonder if he has the same idea for America when we get stomped out of the Middle East under his leadership??

    April 17, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. Jean

    Har! Great! Go Get her OBAMA!!!! Don't back off just give them all you got.

    April 17, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. Bayou Joe

    The Republicans will have the last laugh in November. You can shrug and shake all you want , but you have been exposed and the Republicans will have no reservations using your own words to show that you are not fit to be President. Hillary is still trying to be nice and polite so as not to offend the Democrats that put food on her table.

    April 17, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  10. paulie_nj

    He made that comment about the first 45 minutes because, ooops, it was not in his favor. Nana boo boo Obama. He continues to say he won't play the same dirty politics of going negative but he made it a point to do just that. And, oh yeah, he also said last night that he disowned Rev. Wright, was I dreaming?

    April 17, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  11. Venus

    Thanks Hillary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Go Obama! Great way to tell ABC that 45 minutes was wasted on old news! As a supporter I really want to say thanks to Hillary and her family and friends and her supporters----- This train is still rolling and picking up steam! Hillary only makes herself look bad!
    I love the video Obama!

    April 17, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  12. Rick from NJ

    Senator Clinton is the best qualified for the positiion of President.
    When are Obama supporters going to start seeing this.
    If Obama is the Democratic candidate, the Democrats will lose the election.
    There is no way that McCain is going to ignore:
    Reverend Wright's remarks about "typical white" people of God D..America
    Michelle Obama's not being proud of our country
    Obama acting like an "elitist"
    Ties to Rezko and underground weatherman radical, William Ayers

    Please wake up Democrats.
    Please wake up!

    April 17, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  13. Kristen Ingram

    I didn't see a debate, I saw a debacle. Stephanopoulos and Gibson, a pair of disappointments, played Let's Get Barack for 51 minutes, and Hillary showed the depth of her nastiness. Someone should start questioning her "thirty-five years of experience." Obama won by being upright at the end.

    April 17, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  14. Time to move on

    YES WE CAN
    OBAMA '08

    April 17, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  15. a democrat from nebraksa

    Yikes...watch this clip. He's getting dangerously close to Wright-like delivery with an audience that looks increasingly boisterous. I don't understand how this type of frivolous rhetoric is going to help him. Maybe I'm wrong and this type of delivery is what America wants. I hope I'm wrong...I'm just worried.

    April 17, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  16. karry

    lol i want to see this again ,see you their doing the jay-z dance,show them how to do it.

    April 17, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  17. paulie_nj

    He made that comment about the first 45 minutes because, ooops, it was not in his favor. Nana boo boo Obama. He continues to say he won't play the same dirty politics of going negative but he made it a point to do just that – HYPOCRITE! And, oh yeah, he also said last night that he disowned Rev. Wright, was I dreaming?

    April 17, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  18. Kimberly in Texas

    For the record, he was brushing off the "gotcha" attacks and not Senator Clinton.

    CNN, we have had enough of your and the other media outlets political games...report the facts, not your opinions.

    Obama 2008!

    April 17, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  19. rezagui1@hotmail.com

    Obama is brilliant, entertaining, thoughtful, sincere, and yes, imperfect. He will be known as one of our greatest presidents.

    April 17, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  20. Adrian in TX

    For being a Jay- Z fan, and all of this big gangsta talk , Obama sure is scurr'd of being on the stage debating her again! Way to put him in his place Hillary!
    If you cant take the fire, get outta the streets! HIllary is the real OG.
    Hillary '08-'16!!!!

    April 17, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  21. nick

    The fact is Barack can't handle it!
    I'm a republican, but i now am thinking of switching to vote for Hillary. I did notice that she was running a some what negative campaign, and i honored Obama for not. But, now she is the one with a good campaign, all that comes out of Barack and his Campaign, is nonsense.
    Barack Obama is now OVER the edge with the negativity, if i could meet him right now i would say "Knock it off." America wants a change and what Obama is going to bring is a horrible change!

    But, it stinks for Hillary, because now she can't have debates with him, because he doesn't want to have them.

    April 17, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  22. TC - South Beach

    Is it me or do these two resemble the Road Runner and Wiley Coyote!
    Barack (the road runner) is running from state to state and Clinton (Wiley coyote) is doing everything to try to stop him! She orders her recent supplies of sinks and other equipment from ACME to get the Road Runner. But in the end it all back fires and winds up landing on top of her!

    Think about it! Beep Beep!

    April 17, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  23. Shawna

    Join the Obama train and see how much more positive you feel about going to vote, it's a movement the right direction. How depressing it must be to vote against change, or against positive campaigning. The other day I saw on CNN a 60 year old women who said she wouldn't vote for Obama because she doesn't believe that things in Washington can change, it was so sad that people who have lived through enormous changes in America have lost hope. Obama is trying to change that, he has said he isn't perfect but that the campaign is about changing Washington not personal attacks or gottcha politics. The political system is supposed to empower the people and bridging the divisons that have been created in Washington to stop people from getting things done.

    April 17, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  24. Delta Dave

    How many times do we have to put up with these alleged debates. They have turned into nothing more than shooting galleries. You have to bear in mind that, with Clinton's rapidly diminishing financial support, the tv debate is an excellent way for her to reach an audience.
    Obama is right in wanting to get down to actually campaigning, meeting people, explaining his views face-to-face. Clinton's "fighter" stance on tv is so patently put on that it is comical. One can almost hear the sniper fire.
    No more debates, please!

    April 17, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. Celia Ann in Michigan

    It's time to get to the issues that are going to put money in our pockets, food on the table or gas in the tank!!!

    Maybe we can come and live with the media, they are the ony ones making any money selling ad time!!!

    April 17, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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