June 4th, 2008
03:30 PM ET
7 years ago

Blitzer: As the race comes into focus, the gloves come off

CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer
CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

NEW YORK (CNN) – One of the most memorable lines of Barack Obama’s speech Tuesday night in St. Paul involved his opponent in the general election: John McCain, a man “who has served this country heroically.” Obama then pointedly added: “I honor that service, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine.”

It was consistent with Obama’s oft-stated praise of McCain’s military service, who was a POW during the Vietnam War. But it also included a polite dig.

McCain, for his part, pointedly noted that “the American people didn’t get to know me yesterday, as they are just getting to know Senator Obama.” It was his way of suggesting that the presumptive Democratic nominee is still a blank slate for a lot of Americans.

Just watching and listening to their respective speeches highlights their many differences including their backgrounds and age. Obama is 46 and McCain is 71.

Obama and McCain have offered near-daily criticism of each other since it became clear both would be their parties’ respective nominees, though I suspect the worst attacks of the campaign season will come from surrogates who in contrast will take off the gloves and hammer away, on personal and policy differences alike. The biographies of the two men could not be more different. And there are major policy differences between them on a whole host of foreign and domestic policy. They strongly disagree on Iraq, taxes, health care and a lot more.

I suspect all of us are about to learn quite bit about those differences, and that is good.

soundoff (240 Responses)
  1. Nija

    Obama did not make the rules but the D party. I am a big supporter of Obama and I can tell you Clinton supporters if Hilary would had won, I would still vote for Her regardless. I just want the Republicans out of the White House. Many of Obama and Clinton supporters fail to realize that they belong to D. Party. I heard a saying that "In Politics you do not have permanent friends nor permanent enemies". You guys should not be emotional about this this is how the media play with your mind and it is called DIVIDE AND RULE. Do not play into the hands of the Republicans. Wise up

    June 4, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  2. Uncle Sam

    What does Barack Obama believe?

    June 4, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  3. Reality Check

    Wolf, stop pushing Hillary as vice president on our throat. We don't want her.

    June 4, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  4. JJ

    I don't even need to comment on STAUNCH's foolish comments. I have the same feeling as the ones whose comments were directed to you. I just have one thing to say......DON'T GET SO EMOTIONAL AND STOP BEING BITTER FOR HEAVEN'S SAKES!!!!! DO YOU REALLY WANT 4 MORE YEARS OF THE SAME POLICIES? DO YOU REALLY WANT ROE vs WADE TO BE OVERTURNED. If a dem is not elected come Nov, don't whine and complain within a year when you see that we are right where we are now.

    and Wolffe: LET THE DEBATES BEGIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. Independent

    I feel very sorry for you, Wolf. Such a historic moment took place yesterday - America's first African-American Nominee for the presidency - and you were so busy trying to make the story about Hilary that you missed it.

    Jack Cafferty said it really well yesterday when, during the Situation Room, you spent five minutes talking about Bill Clinton, who was not even on the ballot, and then someone try to talk about Obama you decided thirty seconds were too long : "Are you kidding?!" The more you have tried to shove Hilary down people's throat, the more foolish you have look - especially since she keeps proving herself a deranged narcissistic brat.

    By the way, while you were busy trying to make the day about Hilary, I turned my tv to msnbc where rational people understood the historic significance of the day.

    June 4, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. H Martin

    Jon, and so called stanch supporter of Hillary,

    You do have to admit what they are saying is true. Count the Caucus states, and while you are at it count the many voters who could not vote as they would have wanted to this primary season. I am a republican and have only crossed over voting lines one other time; however, now that Obama is the nominee of the Dem party you bet your sweet butt I will be voting for him.

    It has nothing to do with wanting a black man in office but in knowing that he is not willing to send my only son or my two daughters into a war that we never should have been in in the first place. I want health care I can afford. I want my job to never be outsourced to another country (why I would never vote for Hillary) as my old job was because of the nice NAFTA agreement she was for.

    Go ahead and vote for McCain since your candidate did not make it so you can cry for another 4 years with him and maybe crying for all the young kids he will send to war only coming home in a body bag. It is your right, however; do not talk bad about others decisions. He won the vote fair and square. Why is your vote so much better than anyone elses? The votes were cast in ALL states (even caucauses) and she got votes given back to her in FL and MI when she broke the rules, how much fairer do things have to be for her?

    I am a white woman, single mom, 42 year old, semi-educated (AAS Degree) live in a Red state (ARIZONA) and I want what is best for the country.

    Go President Obama!

    June 4, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. Chi4Obama

    Quiet as kept,
    I think Hillary is currently a Closet Republican. She could have very easily taken a position to serve as Commander in Chief for Rush Limbaugh's "Operation CHAOS".

    What other rationale would she have for not conceding?

    June 4, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  8. backdeckjeff

    Staunch Clinton Supporter:
    If you count the popular vote, then count it only in SANCTIONED primaries and caucuses. Woops, there goes the lead. Woops, guess that 328,000 to NOTHING Michigan vote (rejected BY THE VERY PARTY TO WHICH SHE BELONGS on the grounds that the margin is clearly not "fair reflection") didn't "count anyway" afterall...Just like she said it would IN OCTOBER! (A penalty for which Harold Ickes voted.)

    Besides, it's delegates, delegates and more delegates...like the kind awarded in Iowa, Washington and Maine in which popular votes are not accrued in any fashion even remotely resembling fair reflection...Oh, but THOSE don't count either, I forgot...Funny caucuses and the structure of the nomination process was good enough for Bill (twice)...Seemed pretty fair then, huh?

    And finally, the junior NY Senator can now have anything she wants and she has earned it. Nothing is being taken from her. Everyone is bending over backwards for her and her supporters. She is not being persecuted and neither are they. She will be in possession of 45% of the delegates at the convention and will be taken care of. The notion that the standard-bearer of the party with a quarter-billion dollar warchest is somehow being deprived of something is completely specious. She had her chance and got out-politicked by someone with less experience...the kind of experience she claims to have.

    And if her supporters vote for McCain and the GOP–longtime friends to women on issues like equal pay, family leave and the like–I would submit they were Republicans to begin with. Good riddence.

    June 4, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    Now, I don't mind witnessing a smackdown between Obama and McCain. That would be par for the course.

    But Hillary shouldn't have done it.

    However, it wound up making Obama stronger. Notice how he's winning some, if not all, of the foreign policy battles with McCain. He'll cream McCain on the economy and other social issues!

    June 4, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. Rap Insomniac

    President Obama should keep the door open for whatever amount of Hillary supporters want to jump on board, then and tell Hillary and the rest who are threatening to go over to the Rupublicans, to shove off.

    As an adult, I never thought I would live to see the day when a candidate took her ball home because she didn't like the outcome of the game. What she is doing is not "fighting", she's holding the presidency hostage, until she gets a job for her and her husband. They need to be in the limelight. . As much as Hillary supporters tout the fact that Hillary has 17 million supporters, they need to remember that that the rookie Obama has just as many supporters, and more of those are independants. I like Obama's chances without her. He got this far without her, I think he can go all the way.

    June 4, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. To the Staunch Clinton Supporter

    Now you and other Clinton supporter have throw that card out there that you wouldn't vote for Obama if he got the nomination. Now your saying your only vote for him if he put Hillary on the ticket or you'd vote for McCain.

    My life is pretty good I'm not affect by the increasing cost of "everything" in this country these days but if you think a lot of people struggling now can afford it for another 4 or 8 years, then you make them suffer by voting for McCain.

    June 4, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. w.l. jones

    Our fine business men already started gears up to get this economy back on the road even before the general election. There are good thing coming to our country in the very near future. Bless all of our canidate for a job well done but now it time to move on in a new direction.

    June 4, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  13. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    GRANDSON HAS A 71 YEAR OLD GRANDFATHER, HE DOESN'T NEED ANOTHER ONE. AND BY THE WAY, HIS 71 YEAR OLD GRANDFATHER HAS EXPERIENCE IN TALKING ABOUT THE THINGS THEY WAY THEY USE TO BE, JUST LIKE JOHN MCCAIN. YOU KNOW JOHN MCCAIN IS SENILE WHEN HE SAYS OBAMA IS LIKE BUSH. JUST PLAIN SENILE.

    June 4, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  14. Roxy

    THESE ARE OBAMA'S WORDS ABOUT MCCAIN:
    John McCain, a man “who has served this country heroically.” Obama then pointedly added: “I honor that service, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine.”

    Well I guess the reason McCain along with the rest of America (including the Obama supporters) cannot point at his accomplishments is because WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE!!!!! All we know is that he has been a community organizer, and a friend of well documented terrorists, America haters, and a proud disciple of a Liberation Theology cult for 20 years.

    Mr Obama, what are your accomplishments? America wants to know!!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. Glenn

    Wolf, why are all the other news media reporting Obama's delegate/superdelegate count at 2160-2165 and CCNN shows 2157 still? What up with Clinton News Newtwork (CNN)?

    June 4, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. Terrell

    I disagree with McCain. did he see the record number of people that have registered. Those people don't know you McCain. Your a blank slate to them also.

    June 4, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. Hillary Supporters

    How dare the Hillary supporters say that then only thing people are obsessed with is getting a black man into the white house. Forget the fact that he is an intelligent man who fought to get where he is and didn't get there by bill's coat tail. Obama won the Nomination fair and square, race had nothing to do with it.

    Then have the audacity to say he will get stomped by McCain. First off the only thing that McCain has to offer is foreign policy experience and he already telling you based off his experience that he is willing to stay there 100 year. (yea that’s smart). He has no regard to how bad the economy is and if your stubbornness allows you to vote for him in the GE go ahead; because with or without your vote Obama will come out on top by the people who have the common sense to look past their own selfishness and support him. My suggestion to you is to get on the winning team

    Obama '08

    June 4, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  18. Debbie,NJ

    STAUNCH CLINTON SUPPORTER. What planet are you on. You guys are still trying. Since she can't get popular vote (count all the votes remember, that includes the caucus votes), and she didn't get the total delegates, now you're playing with words, elected delegates. Don't forget their are more delegates holding out for your scumbag games who will take him where he needs to go. You people are low life.

    June 4, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  19. Debbie,NJ

    Travis (in the real world. You are right about Blitzer. People were whining about CNN being biased. They were but they were on Hillary's side. I bet even tonights news, just like last nights, was more about Hillary than Obama. The CNN team made me change to MSNBC during the primary's. At least MSNBC had reporters who supported both candidates.

    June 4, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. Debby

    Slimesista that name surely fits you.

    June 4, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  21. ryand

    I find it hilarious that the only thing the Anti-Obama people can muster up as a reason not to vote for him is FEAR.

    Using words like "risk" etc.

    That is ALL the old-style politicians have in this era : FEAR to control us.

    MY GENERATION WILL NOT STAND FOR IT.

    OBAMA 08' – THE FUTURE, NOT THE PAST.

    June 4, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  22. Jeff D, South Bend, IN

    Here we go Wolf, just listen to the Clinton Crazies threaten to go vote for McCain or not vote now, giving up Roe vs Wade, giving up on balance on the Supreme Court, giving up on ending the Iraq War, giving up on borrowering money from China, giving up on Universal Health Care – for what? To show the "Democratic party", of which their candidate is a senior leader, you can act like a foolish child – and be completely oblivious to the fact that Clinton acted very nasty in this campaign towards Obama, towards her own party, even towards the voters themselves (gas tax holiday anyone? hard working white americans) and paid the price by choking on getting this nomination.

    You Clinton supporters crying about going to vote for McCain are pathetic whiners, pouting in the corner because your candidate did not win. Boo hoo. Go vote for McCain, so I can sit back and laugh at you watching all that women have fought for, turned back generations.

    June 4, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. Debbie,NJ

    Debby, I bet the familes of the 4000+ dead soldiers would disagree with you about McCain.

    June 4, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. Caryn, WDC

    Hillary's dillusional supporters are really starting to get on my nerves. You don't get to change the rules to suit your interests.

    The person with the most delegates wins end of story.

    You don't get to come up with these ridiculous claims of winning the popular vote because your math is shoddy at best.

    "Count ALL of the votes" but not the ones in caucus states because they don't favor us.

    PLEASE STOP.

    June 4, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. Susie

    CONGRATULATION TO ALL AMERICAN PEOPLE TO HAVE SENATOR OBAMA SOON TO BE YOUR PRESIDENT. AS A CANADIAN WE BELIEVE THAT USA IS ONE OF THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. I USED TO WONDER WHAT WOULD BE LIKE TO LIVE IN AMERICA AND EXPERIENCE THE AMERICAN DREAMS THAT MOST AMERICAN USED TO SAY ABOUT THEIR COUNTRY. BUT THAT DREAMS SEEM TO FADE FOR A WHILE UNTIL NOW. WATCHING SENATOR OBAMAS' CAMPAIGN AND FOR HIS BELIEVE I AM VERY CONVINCE THAT HE IS THE RIGTH PERSON TO LEAD YOUR GREAT COUNTRY BACK TO BEING THE GREATEST COUNTRY ON EARTH.
    CANADA FOR OBAMA

    June 4, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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