May 16th, 2008
03:55 PM ET
10 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. WhoCareswhatRepublicansGuythink

    It is very sad to respond to this stupid comments made by Bush, but he had to respond becasue some weak minded people might beleive what Bush has said. America we need a president who can lead us to the right direction give our country back. We have seen what republicans can do to this country for the last 8 years, time to wake up and say no to so called Republican conservatives (false Christians).

    May 16, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |

    Obama good job, McCain and Bush are both in trouble.

    May 16, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. Doyle - MI

    All would never think of Bush as being someone that would have tried to appease Hitler. But, then again I consider Bush to be the modern day Hitler.

    May 16, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. A.M. Saqib


    Thank you for your approval of 'Obama' handling the situation. What else you were expecting from a man who is naturally bestowed with a unique vision.

    United States will be lot safer, lot more respected and lot more propserous and economically strong in the years to come under the presidency of 'Barak Obama'.

    A.M. Saqib
    Houston, Texas

    May 16, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  5. Bluemoonstone

    Obama is the ballerina on the football field. They've been playing around him, but if the ballerina gets in their way, they are going to hit him hard, and he'll fall even harder.

    May 16, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. Sweetie


    How can you say "he attacked right back”?

    It took over 24 hours for the speech to be written for him!

    And even then all he did was confirm he is not ready to lead when it comes to the World Stage!

    I'm looking forward to the debate he proposes-I can just see him humming and stumbling and trying to remember what he had read in a book once!

    May 16, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. Schalaine Ellisor

    Bravo Obama!! Bravo Democrats!! Republicans fight dirty and sling lots of mud. Responding to them rationally and logically will probably not work, but good luck anyway!!! On the other hand, I have tremendous faith in the common sense of most Americans. I know they will not buy into the same old rhetoric and scare tactics of a GOP that is rapidly imploding.

    May 16, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. Debbie

    I pray that Hillary is our nominee. She has the backbone and the strength to take care of Bush, McCain and to be our President, Obama is weak. He has no experience, and at any job I was interviewed for, they always asked about my experience. Obama has done. CNN ruin things for Hillary, they gave all the air-time to Obama. I guess they got a lot of money from Obama for the air-time. By the way, just where does Obama get all his money–from the Republicans. OBAMA DOES NOT HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A PRESIDENT, OF ANY COUNTRY. The democrates will lose again and we will another 4 years of grap. Wake up out there, HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT.

    May 16, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. Go Get 'Em Barack!

    The Republicans are well known for name-calling and mud slinging.
    They have had about 8 years in power, where no one has really dared to throw mud back. Now that the Democrats have toe holds, and the American people have shown their distaste for this childish, rude, and crude rhetoric, the Republicans will get a good taste of their own medicine. The vital difference here is that usually the Republicans fire off half-truths and veiled accusations (being the honorable and righteous people they claim to be...sarcasm). Democrats like Obama, will fire back with full truth and the facts. Considering Bush's approval ratings right now (or lack of them), a "shot" of the same calibre as one he sent over will hurt him and his party a lot more.

    If I were McBush, I would be VERY wary of any advice to make veiled accusations and baseless "statements of fact." Just as in what just happened with Obama, this will backfire badly. McCain, you are not nearly intellectually agile enough to go toe to toe with either Clinton or Obama. Watch your manners, or you'll be stood in a corner!

    May 16, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. Peter

    Democratic this is only the beginning you will see from now on what the Republican will do to him.
    Poor Obama supporters, you are pathetic. You turn off all the Hillary supporters .You still beat on HILLARY, you never will understand or admit that she is the most qualified and prepared to be President your eyes are so close that you cannot see the really color of your Obama.
    Hillary is still in the race fighting and winning against the DNC, the establishment, the media, the pundit, you will see in the next remain contexts, people can speak for themselves, they do not need someone to tell or suggest who has to be the next President.
    By the way the only chance for the Democratic Party to be a winner in November is having HILLARY on the ticket.
    HILLARY 08

    May 16, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Alot of you McCain supporters need history lessons, we talked too some of the most evil murderess leaders in the world. The GOP has to really dumb things down for you to understand history.

    Like FDR taled to Stalin to defeat Hitler.

    May 16, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  12. Obama 08

    I have to chuckle at the comments that state that Obama can't take the Republican attacks.( He did respond immediately when the comment was made YESTERDAY!!)

    Laughable too are the comments from those who states "politics" as usual; the same people would be saying he lacked backbone if he didn't respond.

    He will not be swiftboated; he is not going to wait until something that is thrown at him becomes overblown!! He is going to strike back with thoughtful measured comments. A sign of leadership.

    May 16, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  13. Marc

    Sad as it may be, I think Obama (and the Democratic Party) need to attack back rather than getting on the defensive. Otherwise all the talk around election time is going to be about things like gay marriage and xenophobia than real issues like the economy and the war. The whole idea of saying that because supposedly Hamas wants Obama to win, we should vote for McCain is ridiculous. That'd be like the Democrats saying that the KKK wants McCain to win.

    May 16, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. goodcitizen

    Attack Back? Just by looking at him, he is so slow, it's like he has to think a perfect word for 5 mintutes to against back. This is just the beginning, he just doesn't have that kind of "tigher spirit". On the other hand, Hillay Clinton is so fast, so tough, and very experenced to deal with that kind of "heat", as we all have seen that.

    Now is the moment, American people must open their eyes, support a real deal candidate, NOT an ACTOR!


    May 16, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  15. Lori

    BO is a total hypocrite. I believe, without question, that he practices "the same old politics" every time, but claims to be above it all. Fake, liar, phony.

    If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck. Or a double-talking hypocrite conning himself into the White House.

    Of course, the people who support him won't believe this–until it's too late.

    May 16, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  16. I did not know

    that to attack back with such heart and energy... that you had to do so while reading a prepared speech written by someone behind the scenes...

    May 16, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  17. KE

    I don't understand all this fuss between the leaders of the parties.
    Bush was speaking to many audiences because somebody was making threatening comments. Guess who responded so quickly.

    Rest of the world is fighting for their life right now and don't really care about those dispute among leaders or who's right.

    Remeber it is always poor people who suffer the most in the disasters and the war. Becasue of the leaders's stubborness to change and work with others.

    May 16, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |

    Hey Sweetie, "Can I get a telepromter so I will know how to respond back to the Republicans."

    A day late and a dollar short Obama. Every other Democrat responded on this yesterday.

    Hillary 08

    May 16, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  19. Susan

    But why has it taken him so long?

    Lack of experience.

    May 16, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  20. Obama Supporter

    Anybody who looks at the blog archives and compares my post with the others can see that I am an Obama supporter!

    So come on and join the Obama campaign!

    Hate Hate Hate 2008
    Hate Hate Hate 2008
    Hate Hate Hate 2008

    Hate Bill Clinton!
    Hate Hillary Clinton!
    Hate George Bush!
    Hate John McCain!

    Hate Hate Hate

    Obama ‘08

    May 16, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  21. Venus

    Way to go BAM!

    Tell the American and the world the truth about those dirty pigs-Repugs!

    Yes – Wolf – you let them throw the first punch – and then BAM!

    Go Obama!

    May 16, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  22. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Again everyone wants underestimates Obama he is born to lead. Go ahead and predict his down fall like the Clintons did. God put this man here for a reason if you cannot see that you are blind.

    Obama 08

    May 16, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  23. Stacy Clarks


    May 16, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  24. jonny

    it is SHOCKING that so many people can believe blatant lies, and believe it so strongly that they wont even listen to anything that contradicts what they believe. The lies are few and far between out there, but certain groups of people just grab them up and run with them, like it is the most important thing they have ever heard. I guess that is why the republican style of politics works so well for their supporters. I just hope that the majority of Americans are more intelligent that that.

    May 16, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. SCC

    mt said: "it took him 2 days, this is no swing, this is slow motion."

    Actually, it only took him one. Get your facts straight.

    So typical...

    May 16, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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