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. Robert

    Just like I learned. It's not the ones who talk tough that you have to watch. It's the ones who don't say anything until they are standing over your battered and bleeding body, and you're wondering what just happened.

    Go Obama '08

    April 26, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  2. john

    OBAMA 2008.

    'nuff said.

    April 26, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  3. gerry

    The stronger and tougher you are, the less you tell people about it.

    April 26, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  4. BERNIE MINGS

    HILLARY IN 08, OBAMA CAN SHUT THE GATE

    April 26, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  5. Arwa from AZ

    Oh, hurry up! get the kleenex out. Let's all cry together.
    ARE YOU SERIOUS? HE IS WHINING AGAIN!!!!
    MAYBE HE NEEDS TO GO TO THERAPY?
    BUT ONLY TYPICA, PEOPLE DO THAT, HE IS DIFFERENT, ABOVE THE REST

    April 26, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  6. janice

    Being from Canada without a vote just an opinion, I say keep up the good work Obama.

    The whole world needs someone who can they can look up to, someone who sets a new higher standard for world leaders and I really believe that would be you.

    Your patients toward your apponent shows a level headed leader, your ability to start from nowhere and end up being the number one in your party shows you have the talent to get things done.

    Please move to Canada after your 8 years in office, we will still need you.

    April 26, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  7. STOP THE MADDNESS!!!!

    YEAH!!!
    I agree wholeheartedly everybody knows those with the biggest mouths are the ones that back down first when it's time to prove what they are really made of. Hillary Rotten Clinton could no more care about half the stuff she peddles than a man on the moon does about Fish!! this WOMAN JUST OPENS HER MOUTH AND LET'S MOST ANYTHING FALL OUT!!! I AM CONVINCED SHE REALLY CAN'T REMEMBER HALF OF WHAT SHE SAYS.. OUT OF HER OWN MOUTH WHEN ASKED ABOUT THE HER LYING ABOUT THAT TRIP " I SAY MILLIONS OF WORDS A DAY I CAN'T REMEBER " WHICH BRINGS ME TO ANOTHER QUESTION IS THIS WOMAN IS ON THE VERGE DEMENGIA., WHY CAN'T SHE EVER REMEBER ANYTHING SHE SAID THAT DOES NOT BENEFIT HER????? BUT THE BIGGEST QUESTION IS WHY IS THIS ACCEPTABLE TO HER SUPPORTERS?? WHY DOES SHE EVEN HAVE SUPPORTERS, UNLESS THEY ARE JUST AS MORALLY DEPRIVED AS HILLARY???

    April 26, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  8. case

    Good answer, the deplorable state of American Politics is that of a school yard tit for tat. and the Clintons have shown that they like it that way... Im not impressed with Clintons politics for politics sake style. This have been this way under Guinrich, Rove, Cheney for so long that democrates and nation at large believe that is all there is or could be. I for one am sick of politics resembling a demolition derby.

    Some have brought up the confrontational style of the British house of Commons.... Listen to a session on CSPAN and tell me if you think someones church, lapel pin or heritage would ever come up there.. the comparison does not apply.

    April 26, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  9. AF

    Obama it's not necessary for you to get in the gutter with Hillary.

    April 26, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  10. Michael In SC

    What? He has no shortage of hitting back! He is just so elequent that its hard to pick it up. But once you recognize it, it's very obvious.

    April 26, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  11. George

    Sen. Obama is a man of integrity and I support his decision to not debate anyone until after May 6. The last "debate" was clearly aimed at making him look bad.

    He's right to be leery of the Clintons. HRC wants more than anything to cut him off at the knees, make him look weak and ineffective, anything at all to win more votes. She will never stick to the issues at hand.

    No amount of rules would be useful in a debate with a person like HRC. All she has to do is violate one or more of them with a damaging comment about Obama, then apologize for the oversight.

    The damage, however, would have been done because once the words are out, they cannot be recalled whether they are true or not - and people will remember them, even dwell on them.

    Honestly, knowing more about the real person shouldn't even be fodder for the debates; the debates should be about the real issues facing American citizens.

    If people really want to know more about the real person they need only turn to the people employed by them - that's where the real truth comes out, in how they treat those under them.

    Hopefully after May 6 there won't be a need for any more debates with HRC.

    April 26, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  12. Niel, NY

    Bush, clintion, Clinton, Bush, Bush

    Now its time for Clinton again. and then Jeb Bush and then Chelsea clinton.

    Go America.

    April 26, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  13. Kim in Pa

    Yet again, he stays above the fray. He makes me proud.

    April 26, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  14. Ex Hillary Supporter

    Let me Give some hits back step aside Sen O. I got ya back!!!
    Here for all those Hillary supporters:
    Hillary: Got $800,000.00 in 05 from Columbia for a 'trade speech'
    Hillary: Lied about sniper fire in Bosnia
    Hillary: Lied about her daughter joggin around the Towers when the planes hit
    Hillary: Lied about being named after Sir Edmund Hillary who scaled Mt. Everest 6 years AFTER she was born (gues she was nameless for 6 yrs had to put that in there some Hil supporters area bit slow)
    Hillary: Suppported NAFTA
    Hillary: Supported the War
    Hillary: Had the Rev Wright at the White House when her and Bill cigar Clinton were having marital problems with Monica!
    Hillary: Lied about losing paper work being saught by federal investigators only to surface 2 yrs later!
    Hillary: Lied about the death of a pregnant woman due to the LACK OF insurance...
    I'm running out of space so I think i'll just stop right here but as you can see Hillary is NO GOOD for the White House!

    April 26, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  15. Kristina, Seattle

    Smart man.

    April 26, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  16. laz

    Not non-confrontational... simply nothing substantive to say!

    April 26, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  17. Bubba

    When was the last time Hillary had a mental evaluation?

    April 26, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  18. Edward Lynn

    Barack Obama takes the high road, which is definately the road less traveled in American politics recently. What he's proving is that the high road is the road to the White House!

    VOTE OBAMA!

    April 26, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  19. Jason Brewer

    I don't understand why Obama won't debate. He says he wants to talk about the issues but I guess he just means as long as no one challenges what he says.
    I'm getting tired of him criticizing everyone and everything but then refusing to let us ask him questions!

    April 26, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  20. Beverly

    Senator Obama is a gentleman and a scholar: a good combination we should all try to emulate.

    April 26, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  21. Brenda

    Senator Obama ... that's a smart move as she will have a panel or some one to TRIP you up with questions that are NOT relevant! Smart Man ...

    OBAMA for President!

    April 26, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  22. matt

    he does always hit back, and I know im not the only one that agrees with that.

    April 26, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  23. Sharon Minnesota

    You've thrown a few of your own punches Mr. Nice guy. Obama should be embarrased about such downright lies coming from his camp.

    It's time to put this fellow's campaign to bed and get on with a real run for the white house with Hillary Clinton vs. John McCain.

    April 26, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  24. Fred

    Clinton did NOT propose a Lincoln-Douglas style debate. Her campaign announcement calls it that, but it is simply not true.

    She has actually proposed a quick succession of dozens of 2 minute sound bites. That's nothing like Lincoln-Douglas.

    Please stop parroting campaign rhetoric as if it was true when it is not.

    April 26, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  25. texican

    This is not a game where points are awarded for showmanship. If it was you would win hands down. This is an election for President of the United States and you do not even qualify for the finals.

    The only reason you got this far is because the Media failed to do its job.

    April 26, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.