May 16th, 2008
03:55 PM ET
6 years ago

Blitzer: Obama's learned - 'attack right back'

Blitzer: Obama hit back a day after Bush's speech.
Blitzer: Obama hit back a day after Bush's speech.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama came out swinging against both President Bush and John McCain. At issue: the allegation that those who are willing to sit down with terrorists are no different than those who sought to appease Adolph Hitler in the lead-up to World War II. A day after President Bush’s speech in Jerusalem, Obama gave a tough speech of his own defending his record and then followed up with a lengthy news conference.

Obama’s political strategy is clearly designed to prevent the accusation from gaining credibility. Republicans have successfully raised questions about Democrats national security credibility over the years. Obama and his supporters who fanned out across the television networks want to make sure that those charges don’t have time to resonate.

I remember covering the 1988 presidential race between then-Vice President George H.W. Bush and Mike Dukakis. The Democratic nominee was branded as weak on national security. He was ridiculed for wearing a helmet while on a tank. The picture clearly made him look silly. Even though he had emerged from the Democratic convention that summer way ahead of Bush in the national polls, he eventually lost the election in November.

Many Democrats learned an important lesson in the process. Once attacked, attack right back and don’t wait. Bill Clinton learned that lesson in 1992. It’s seems Obama has learned that lesson as well.


Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (209 Responses)
  1. fred

    OBAMA IS AN IDIOT AND DOESN'T EVEN NEED TO BE CLOSE TO THE WHITE HOUSE.

    HE SHOULD GET OUT NOW!!

    HE WILL NEVER WIN IN NOVEMBER....McCain will win by a LANDSLIDE!!!

    OBAMA IS ABOUT AS RADICAL AS THEY GET!!

    May 16, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  2. YOLA

    You guys have been underestimating Barack Obama; you mistook his kindess for weakness!

    He has been pretty easy on HRC; imagine if he, the sterotypical black man, was seen as beating up on the older white woman.

    Think about that!

    However, all bets are off when it comes to the older, senile man that he will have to beat in November.

    May 16, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. Alex

    All these Obama haters and Hillary lovers, why don't you enroll in the Republican Party? At least we'd know who our "friends" are before the election. If you feel that McCain would represent your interests better, hey, you live in a free country.

    May 16, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. Jaime

    GOP = Grossly Obsolete Party

    May 16, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. George

    I am a little concerned about CNN's coverage of our upcoming elections. Time over and again, I have found cnn news anchorers, specially Wolf Blitzer twisting subjects and painting certain perspective as oppose to providing news or something worth while educational. The twisting of news and propogation of specific narrow opinions is what ethical journalists refer to as "Propoganda". Just the other day, Mr. Blitzer showed a video from roughly 10 years ago, of Al Gore stating that he was behind the making of the internet. It was totally irrelavent at this point and time, and we have a million and one real issues, yet he choose to put on a lengthy video of Al Gore. I find CNN following the same path that Fox news has adopted and it is rather disturbing.

    May 16, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  6. Freedom

    Barack Obama has plenty to attack back with. He is new politics and John McCain and Bush is pathetic........and any of you that think that Americans is going to sit back and allow another Bush term is not living in a real world.

    Go Barack Obama Go!!!

    May 16, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. KE

    Genius is 1% inspiration and 99 perspiration.
    Hillary is it.

    Three men race, Hillary will win.

    Go, Kentucky, we need more cheer leaders in Oregon, Montana and south Dakota.

    May 16, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. Old Women from Minnesota for Barack

    Obama doesn't cower...Obama doesn't back down....Obama doesn't turn the other cheek.

    That is my president.

    Hope and change doesn't mean act weak. Be strong and show that you are not going to take republican nonsense lying down. Blow for blow. Bring it on GOP.

    Obama '08.

    May 16, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. lack of common sense with our government

    It's a simple answer... the USA does not talk to terrorists. We can talk with nations that house terrorists, but you do not to the group themselves...

    it's that simple.... stop making it black vs white, or republican vs democrat, or big oil vs the little people...

    SHUT UP... and use common sense....

    May 16, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  10. Chris from NY

    He knew from the begining to attack bac. H e just didn't want to do it with Mrs. Clinton. He's pretty much secured the nomination. The battle has just begun and all bets are off. He may not show to have the gloves on but he sure does know how to throw punches. I will love to see how this plays out. So much for McCain's claim to have foreign policy experience.

    May 16, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  11. Frank

    I dislike Bush and his policies that have ruined us so badly. But, there is some truth to what he said in Israel, eventhough that was not the right time or place to say it! Obama is naive and doesn't understand the mentality of those who he would be talking with,i.e. the likes of Ahmadinejad! Just like we were naive in not knowing what will happen if we go into Iraq and let the various life time enemies get a chance to fight one another, Obama is naive in not understanding the fanatic ways people like Ahmadinejad and Hamas rulers think and try to justify their thinking. Obama's apparent foreign policies, for what little he has revealed, will be a disaster worse than what Bush has created. God help us all if he becomes the next President of the United States. CNN: please post my comment.

    May 16, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. Michael Kirksville, MO

    Yea, great to know our little boy is a quick study. You Obama nuts sure are in for a ride this Fall. Not that we had anyone else who already possessed tremendous experience and knew how to fight for all Americans. Hhmmm, could it be.......HILLARY CLINTON??!!

    May 16, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  13. zuki

    I am a Democrat. I dont know why Obama, attacked somebody, when somebody said the same thing that he had said. He was not trying to attack him, he was just repeating, what he had said. Also, his wife Michelle, is angry when someone says that she was proud of America for the first time, when she had said the same. Nobody, is attacking her, for something that she didnt say, but for what she did say. Obama, and Michelle need to stand up, for what they say, not blame somebody for what they had said themselves.

    May 16, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  14. gary

    OBAMA ATTACK BY READING A SPEECH.HE CANT DO ANYTHING WITHOUT BEING PRE DONE.OBAMA IS SUCH A JOKE. HRC HAS MORE GUTS AND MORE OF A FIGHTER FOR US THAN OBAMA WILL EVER BE. OBAMA IS ALL TALK. AMERICA WILL FIND OUT WHEN ITS TO LATE.THIS RACE HAS BEEN FIXED FROM THE BEGINING A,LL THESE SUPER DELIGATES GOING TO HIS SIDE. SHE WINS A STATE AND THE DELIGATES GO TO OBAMA. GIVE ME A BREAK. THIS IS A FREE RIDE FOR OBAMA. THIS COUNTRY IS JUST BIAS AGAINST A WOMAN PRESIDENT. ALL THE CHANGES O.B. HAS BROUGHT IS HATE, DIVISION AND RACIST. HE HAS TOOK OUR COUNTRY BACK 100 YRS, NOT FORWARD. A SMOOTH CON MAN FROM CHICAGO WITH A SLICK SPEECH. O.B. IS NOTHING WITHOUT PEOPLE TALKING FOR HIM.EVERYTIME SOMEONE ATTACKS O.B. AFTER BEING ATTACK BY HIM, HE PLAYS ON THE PEOPLE AND TURNS EVERYTHING AROUND ON THE CLINTONS.I DONT AGREE MUCH WITH BUSH ,BUT I AGREE ABOUT O.B. TALKING TO THE ENEMY'S IS IN SANE. O.B. IS NOT OR WILL BE FOR ALONG TIME ,READY TO RUN OUR COUNTRY. HRC IS OUR ONLY PRAYER. AFTER ALL THE HATE O.B. SUPPORTERS HAVE DONE TO THE CLINTONS, I WOULDN'T EVEN BACK O.B. WHAT COMES AROUND GOES AROUND. HE WILL LOOSE IN NOV. AMERICA WILL DESERVE WHAT THEY GET. NOSTRADAMUS THE CODE WORLD WAR 111 . READ IT AND THINK ABOUT IT.

    May 16, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. Tom(Texas)

    I've got something to say for these cowards who call themselves Republicans. You think Obama and democrats for that matter can't fight. The only way you idiots know how to fight is with guns. If you tried to use your amazing senses of humor you might come up with something like Huckabee, who joked that Obama was ducking a gun at a recent press conference. Me and my brother law( a 6' 250 pound bodybuilding democrat) would gladly take on any gun slinging hot shot Republican. One more thing hope McCain doesn't have a heart attack. Have a nice day Republicans. It's because of hot headed "tough guy" politics that got us into this mess in the world. So Republican's why don't you tell your struggling grandmother, or poor friend in that town down the road( because you all live in towns, the city is the devil, all those blacks and gays, and whites who accept them) that you are sorry the gas will be over 4 dollars by the end of the summer. I guess we shouldn't have voted for that big eared gun slinging president. Have a nice life sitting in church until god helps gas come down.

    May 16, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  16. Frank

    I didn't originally support Obama because I thought Edwards would have been the stronger candidate in November. After Edwards dropped out, I supported Clinton for the same reason.

    But I hope that this is Obama's first step toward proving me wrong. I was afraid that he would allow his rhetoric about a new kind of politics and his hope that it was possible would play into the hands of those running the Republican fiction factory.

    Now I have some hopes that, as a well-spoken and relatively young man of mixed racial heritage, Obama may be perfectly positioned to show the Republicans up for the fear-mongering, hate-spewing racists that they have always been. McSame is showing himself to be no exception.

    May 16, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  17. Concerned

    You're right Wolfe, but what a lot of people failed to understand is that the reason he didn't come out swinging against Hillary is because she is one of him (a fellow democrat). Now that he doesn't have to deal with Hillary (a fellow democrat), he will definitely come out with gloves on against the GOP.

    Watch out!

    May 16, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. Susan, Seattle

    Why are the Repubs so unpatriotic? McSame refuses to sign the GI bill. He doesn't care that 4,000 of our troops have died, he wants another 4,000 to die in the next five years. He wants to double our already trillion dollar debt until we're completely beholden to the Chinese. The Repubs have left our troops to come home in sorry, sorry shape. And that's when they can come home, with all the stop losses. The Repubs are just a scandal-clad reckless spending bunch. True patriots vote Democrat.

    May 16, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. lexel

    Yes, indeed, he has learned his lesson well. Mr. Obama's response was proper but I hope he makes more emphasis on the impact the speech of Bush made to USA's strongest ally in the middle-east . It was improper and uncalled for specially on the given occasion. The repubulican party has stooped low and was willing to jeopardize USA's most valued foreign relation in the future (specially if Democrats win) . It shows how divided USA is (so much for our country to lead the world in maintaining peace). And, so much for Republicans bragging about their expertise in foreign relations. Yuck!

    May 16, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  20. Whiskey

    To all the

    "If not Hillary then McCain" fools...yes fools. You obviously are not Democrats in any way , shape, or form and must be a gluton for punishment under the failed Republican rule.

    and, even dumber.......
    "Hillary in 2012" morons

    You think that she will be entitled the nomination once again. WRONG. I hear many people write how they are bitter and will not support Obama and that he can not beat McCain w/o your support. Well, there is a possibility that the statement may be true. But to think that people will support Hillary in 2012 after many of you plan on turning your back on the Democratic party because your candidate lost, YES LOST, are greatly mistaken.

    Smarten up and grow as an enlightened person.

    -57 female, white, lesbian, veteran, farmer from WV

    May 16, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. American Girl

    Bush has created a Foreign Policy that is dark and evil. Even Bush's friends ignore him. The Saudi's are not even listening to him when he ask them to reduce prices.... Why becasue they too disagree with his foreign policy. So what will he do, attack them becasue guess what they are oil terrorist.........

    The reason Bush can not influence other nations is because he himself, by himself is Wrong and has led our country down this dark, hate filled path.

    Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction....The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
    – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    May 16, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. MCCAIN, HUCKABEE 08

    LOL You little democrats are so funny!!!!! You think you can beat us with your little change slogans and universal healthcare nonsense!

    But in reality, your all little kids wandering around-and fortunately for me half of you are so stubborn they with us!!!

    Why dont dems go back to pandering for healthcare and pandering to terrorists and allow McCain to win in iraq and kill the terrorists, and stop homosexuals and abortions from corrupting our country!!

    MCCAIN HUCKABEE 08'

    May 16, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  23. Heather

    I think Obama's learning. I was pleased to see him fire back against bush, both with his campaign statements directly after, and with this speech today. Equally, I was really glad to see his surrogates in the Democratic Party speak out against bush's ridiculous remarks as well. This is what we need, a strong stance and solidarity in the months ahead - this is just a taste of the race-baiting, ethnicity and religion-baiting, and fearmongering the GOP will use against Obama from now until November and we need to nip it in the bud whenever it comes up.

    We need to stand strong against it as Democrats and not be weak in our response when they try to swiftboat us - it's not just him, it's us - this election season.

    May 16, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. Chuck

    Way to go, Obama.

    May 16, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. Rob

    his stance on these issues has proven without a doubt that things can and will be done differently. that americas status in the world will be returned after the dark ages that have been instilled by bush/mccain. it's amazing the damage that has been wrought by the repubs and mccain is more then willing to continue on the same path.

    May 16, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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