April 26th, 2008
07:51 PM ET
6 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. African American woman- pA

    Ha Ha

    Obama is trying to explain why he does not want to debate Hillary.
    He cant win so he does not want to take the hit. He would get bashed to death in Washington this just shows his inexperience.

    Hillary – McCain '08

    April 26, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  2. Kyle

    What a BIG man you are, Obama.
    By the way, you're starting to trail the next and first female president.
    Keep takin' those hits!

    April 26, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  3. PAM

    This is what I'm voting for you! We love you Obama!

    April 26, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  4. CR

    I like that answer. Shows real thoughtfulness, restraint and a calm demeanor.

    April 26, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  5. Tom

    ANGRY UNEDUCATED RESPONSE FROM THICK-HEADED HILLARY SUPPORTER ALL IN UPPER CASE

    April 26, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  6. Bob

    And by 'not fighting people' he naturally means 'not answering relevant objections, questions or comments about his policies, speeches or stances on issues.'

    What a great guy.

    April 26, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  7. Florida voter

    Hillary has taken more in my opinion. I mean, her campaign was basically dead about 3 or 4 times but she always came straight back up.

    April 26, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  8. bakersfield

    ? are you just being a politician

    April 26, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  9. The Truth

    That's right do what Jesus would do!

    April 26, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  10. Tanksleyd

    Leadership: The Best Campaign

    April 26, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  11. Darryl

    If Hillary want more free press why don't she just go on the street corner and get a blow horn.

    She need to stick to the issue and tlak to the voters.

    April 26, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  12. Marie in California

    Excuses, excuses, excuses.

    I wonder if he'd have the huevos to hit back at terrorists.

    Hillary or McCain – 2008

    April 26, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  13. Hayden

    Obama is weak and a girlie man!

    Go Hillary 08

    April 26, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  14. Patty

    Please no more debates.

    April 26, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  15. JoeNC

    Obama you will definitely need to be tough to handle the republican attacks, especially since you cannot handle the pressure of democratic debates. Go Hillary!

    April 26, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  16. Ridgeway

    Hey, they could debate this " Who's done more in Congress?" Hmmm? Nah. Too short, nothing to debate.
    Clinton should never mention her or Obama's names in a sentence with Lincoln.

    April 26, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  17. Kay Pittmon

    Stick to your principals, Obama. Let Hillary debate with BILL. Her favorite words are "I will fight". Just stick with the issues, that is what we all want to know about.

    Kay
    Nacogdoches, Tx

    April 26, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  18. From New York

    ...and I would like to add :

    "who always need to scream and accuse someone else of his/her mistakes is a very insicure person unable to take any responsability. "

    Obama doesn't need to have any other debates with the avversary....please, we already know what she is planning to do : put mud over her own party.

    April 26, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  19. Young Voter

    Well said Mr. President!

    April 26, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  20. John in Iowa

    Obama is simply afraid of getting body-slammed by Hillary, just like he did on the WWE!

    Hillary or McCain '08-NEVER OBAMA!!!

    April 26, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  21. honkey white guy from cali

    He Sure has Carl Rove would be crazy to get a glimpse at Sen Clinton's play book . At the begining I would have voted for who ever the Dem nominee was but now I will stay home if it is her.

    Go Obama 08 Yes We Can

    April 26, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  22. gerald strother

    Obama “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, G0 OBAMA

    CLINTON SHE HAS NO SHAME.

    April 26, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  23. Blayze Kohime

    Hilary has become outright childish, she has said things about Obama that even McCain and Huckabee said were nonsense.

    April 26, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  24. murphy

    take the hits,don't play her game ,she like to lead and want you to follow, your not a follower-your a leader

    April 26, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  25. Bitter Allen Hussein, Visalia CA

    Without a doubt Obama is one one to lead this nation. He is heads and shoulders over the mean spirited schizophrenic Billary.

    April 26, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
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