April 26th, 2008
07:51 PM ET
7 years ago

Obama: 'I've been taking some hits'

CNN

Watch Obama explain why he sometimes takes political punches without firing back.

(CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama used a question during a campaign event Saturday to explain his unusual approach to politics.

“How do we get rid of that huge divisiveness in this country?,” a voter asked Obama in Anderson, Indiana.

“The president sets the tone,” the Illinois senator said before explaining the bipartisan approach he’d take if elected to the White House.

“But, I’m also going to try to show this during the course of the campaign,” he added. “Sometimes you take some hits. Even during this campaign, I’ve been taking some hits.”

“One of the things that I learned in the school yard was: the folks that are talking tough all the time, they’re not always that tough. If you’re really tough, you’re not always looking to try to start a fight. If you’re really tough, sometimes you just walk away. If you’re really tough, you just save it for when you really need it,” Obama said.

“I’m not interested in fighting people just for the sake of scoring political points.” “If I’m going to fight somebody it’s going to be fighting over the American people and what they need.”

Obama’s effort to explain his sometimes non-confrontational approach came on the same day that his rival Sen. Hillary Clinton proposed a Lincoln-Douglas style debate. Prior to Clinton’s challenge, Obama said in a television interview set to air Sunday that he would not agree to any more debates with Clinton before the May 6 primaries in North Carolina and Indiana. After learning of Clinton's proposal, the Obama campaign maintained that the Illinois senator would not participate in any more debates until after May 6.

Related: Clinton to Obama: Let's debate like Lincoln

soundoff (353 Responses)
  1. Susan MO

    Mr. Obama:
    I am now strongly for you.

    Obama 08

    April 26, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  2. vic nashville,Tn

    Is it setup question? Because Obama is a politician

    April 26, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  3. bitter_in_PA

    Well said Obama. No need to get in a meaningless exchange with this crazy lady.

    April 26, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  4. doris

    very smart.

    April 26, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  5. LuLy, Chi-town

    We could all learn something from that approach. Thanks for a new and honest approach to governing. WE NEED IT!!!

    Obama '08!!!!!!

    April 26, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  6. growing

    Many of us voters are resenting your tactics of dividing the party while preaching unity.

    Hypocritical liar.

    Being cocky and boastful and arrogant isn't helping you any, either.

    You have only your own actions to blame when you lose in Nov.

    April 26, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  7. Norm

    "If you’re really tough, you just save it for when you really need it,” kind of like saving the best for real debates?"If I’m going to fight somebody it’s going to be fighting over the American people and what they need.” Isn't that what debating is all about......... If your going to talk the talk, walk the walk!

    April 26, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  8. Carlos from PA

    Senator Obama,

    Thanks for listening to the people, and sticking to the issues that matter.

    Obama = true strength for America

    April 26, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  9. WH

    What I learned in the school yard was if you don't show up for a fight you are a coward. You can try to take the high road or take the beating like a man but you should at least show up.

    April 26, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  10. Nodak

    Words

    April 26, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  11. Tracy

    That is the Barack Obama we know and love.

    I love his school yard analogy. Hillary Clinton has been shoving him around, threatening to take his lunch money and over and over again Barack has shown the kind of maturity and integrity he has even at his young age by walking away and ignoring her empty threats.

    Way to go, Barack. Don't ever change.

    April 26, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  12. ss

    Still water runs deep, let the Hillary empty vessel make all the noise... Go Obama!

    April 26, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  13. Paulette, Cincinnati, Ohio

    HELLO OBAMA...This is not a school yard. This is the real thing and you are not a kid you are an adult. Start acting like one and quit whining like a kid.

    VOTE HILLIARY '08 OR MCCAIN '08

    April 26, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  14. Indy Fan

    NO MORE DEBATES PLEASE!
    Why not give each candidate a "presidential scenario" that may/may not take place @ 3 a.m. They propose how they'd handle the situation. This would be more relevant than "happy talk" we see in debates and stumping. Let's see what they're made of.

    April 26, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  15. Bill

    And sometimes people walk away... because they are chicken, like Obama. He is just trying to hide the fact that his campaign also goes negative at times and that he gets flustered in debates. His bid at sainthood has a tarnished halo.

    April 26, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  16. urgency

    The only fierce urgency of now is how to reclaim this disaster and get Hillary back into the game.

    She is the best candidate- and not smug about it either.

    April 26, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  17. annie

    Drop out of the race now obama. Your lies are starting to catch up with you. No one is picking on you but the truth does hurt. Now you and your 26 yr. old speech writer twist every truth that comes out on you into another lie.

    April 26, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  18. Edith Arkansas

    If you Barack Obama is going to do any more debates period it should be town hall style where as the public ask the questions after all they are the ones voting, enough of these rigged media debates. Actually there have been enough debates period, all Hillary Clinton wants to do is have more chances at bringing Obama down and set him up to lose to John McCAIN in the general election. She know that the only way she may be able to win which is slim chance is to use negativity attacks against Obama. I am fed up with this and call on the news media not to have any more debates they are destruction. The very thing Barack Obama is trying to change. He could of attacked Hillary with many true issues and have not done so. This is among many reasons why I have the utmost respect for him and none for Hillary. OBAMA 08.

    April 26, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  19. Audrey

    Very good Obama! You made a good point and I agree with you. I learn the same thing growing up. Keep going and fight the right fight for the people!!!!

    April 26, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  20. all wrapped up

    Even Wright said that as a politician, you will say and do whatever you need to do.

    That means you are insincere and will say whatever will get you the nomination.

    Who wants that?

    You need to feel a few more hits so that you lose some of that sense of entitlement.

    April 26, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  21. American

    ====Obama 2008=====

    April 26, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  22. LD

    Obama is right. The underdog must drop out and back up the front-runner instead of damaging the Democratic Party.

    If this game keeps going like this, McCain, the third term of Bush, will take place no matter what.

    April 26, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  23. ElySsha

    bECAUSE YOU ARE SCARED YOU ARE GOING TO GET CAUGHT IN ANOTHER LIE.

    April 26, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  24. Karen Poore

    I cannot understand why the democratic party is letting Clinton continue her insanity. Is it PMS at age 60????
    I see nothing but power hungry in her and old politically games.
    Quit it Hillary!!!!!! The US and the world has a whole lot more problems to solve than to spend time on you!!!!!
    Please exit now ...

    April 26, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  25. Stephanie

    This man is awesome...

    OBAMA 08

    April 26, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
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