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. roger clisper

    McCain is like the dirty Santa Claus that has been working at the shopping mall for decades. An old tyrant ho ho hoing about another season and what gifts he can bring us. Without the backdrop and the publicity, he is another tired old man that believes in fairy tales. There are alot of war heroes and this should not even be a deciding issue. The deciding issue is a candidate that is working to represent the people's interest and not some old "sleigh using the same Republican reighndeer again and again."

    June 4, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. noemi of reason, latina for obama!

    Obama for America 08

    June 4, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  3. randy

    Mcain becareful for what you wish for because you gonna get it.

    June 4, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  4. Ennis, LA

    What do we know about McCain? A maverick...a former POW...
    a flip-flopper who changes with the way the breeze flows.
    Please, McCain, try to practice whatever it is you preach.

    June 4, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  5. Carrie from Chicago

    to: STAUNCH CLINTON SUPPORTER

    First of all, the primary is decided by delegates, which are based on the popular vote. Second of all, Hillary's argument that she won the popular vote discounts caucuses and includes Michigan with Obama getting 0 votes. I don't see how this is representative of all 50 states and not disenfranchising those who voted in the caucuses.
    But again, the primary is determined by delegates, not by popular votes, just as the presidency is determined by elecotral votes and not the popular vote.
    The fact is Hillary lost fair and square. It is time to move on and focus on beating John McCain, which should be in the interest of all democrats.

    June 4, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  6. RETIRED PROFESSIONAL W/WOMAN

    TO STAUNCH HILLARY SUPPORTER

    I AM SICK OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU THAT CAN'T SEE THRU THE
    CLINTONS, BONNIE AND CLYDE TYPE ACTIVITIES. PLEASE,
    YOU ARE SOUNDING JUST LIKE HILLARY. PLEASE GO HOME.

    June 4, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  7. Tony Cesnik Concord, California

    ATTN: Hilary Supporters
    Get over it. She lost. It's finished. I used to respect the Clintons,
    but they are acting like Deranged Narcissists. Hilary congratuated Obama on his primary victory, but not on becoming the Democratic Nominee. Why would anyone want her as VP? She may end
    up being a Supreme Court Nominee or Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. Hilary and her supporters need to stop whinging. Barack Obama won because the DNC was not about to punish Obama for playing by the rules, and reward Clinton for breaking the rules. That is the reason he is the nominee.

    June 4, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  8. Jonwinagan

    I question your political integrity of Clinton supporters that say they will not vote for Obama. I'm shocked at how they can so easily transfer their vote from democrat to republican, when the policy differences between them are so extreme. Surely the policies are far more important than the person selected to pursue them (especially since the Clinton / Obama contest ended in a virtual tie). Anyone capable of such a dramatic flip-flop needs to take a moment for personal reflection and figure out what they stand for. You either support the policies of the democratic party or you don't. It really is that simple.

    June 4, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  9. Val

    Wolf, question if McSane was in todays society and was looking for a job would they hire him at 71 years old? But he want people to hire him to run this country one of the biggest jobs in the world and he's very unintelligent, he's not smart at all, just listen to him speak, he talks like a 71 year old (slow) and he moves like one too.

    June 4, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  10. Minority Too

    Hillary, please go ahead to run as an independent candidate for the general election. Democratic party has started to rotten. It contains full of splitters and consiprators rather than a party for the people. You will make a history and win the highest percentage in the general election in America as an independent candidate. Obama is just a little puppit of the Democratic leftest wing.

    June 4, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  11. Cindi

    I wish Hillary, was a Independent she would win the race!
    She has been short changed the whole time yes, thats right!
    By the media,and her party. I don't want to see her on the Obama ticket she should not carry him, let him fight his own battle , He knows so much, show me!!!!

    Cindi
    Palm Coast ,FL

    June 4, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  12. Julie

    I love Obama's dig – he's used others similar in nature before. I bet it took McSame a minute or two to catch it. He can subtly take you out at the knees without you even realizing it – and he does it with no anger or venom, just calm composure. I'm looking forward to more of that in the future. He's already calling out the gop on their scare tactics – I love that he's callin' them on their attempts to trick the voters. McCain is gonna get his clock cleaned by the young punk with the funny name. We'll see if Gramps is laughin' after the first debate – my bet is that he won't be.

    June 4, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  13. dave

    Further -and CNN ignores that this convicted Felon was the Obama contributor that purchased the land next to Obama's home in Chicago and then re sold the lot to Obama for less than market value.
    Obama thus participated in an illegal transaction – it is called taking a bribe for political influence.
    This is another example of Chicago Democratic politics – the MOST CORRUPT political machine in the USA.

    June 4, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  14. Damon Boch

    I've heard enough threats from "Mrs. Clintons staunch supporters". Go ahead & vote McSame. Once he gets finished with the supreme court you won't even have the right to post in a blog anyway!!!

    June 4, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  15. Brian Knoxville, TN

    Sorry, Barry, but your lack of service or accomplishments is not a state of John McCain's mind.

    As an American who loves his country, I'll be proud to vote against you in Nov.

    McCain Democrat '08

    June 4, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  16. PITA, NC

    Obama has little or no experience and he criticizes McCain for stating the obvious. The reality is that the news media acts as if Obama's statements trying to derail accurate criticisms are true.
    It's time for Obama to stand up for what he wants to do and how he wants to do it..
    No more mystery man. Who is Barack Obama anyway ? We've seen his surrogates and long term friends act up. Time for some explainations. Answer some questions Barack.

    June 4, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  17. kim

    I'm totaly disapointed this afternoon hearing that Obama would not have Hillary as VP. If he does not we will not vote for him! I'm 53 and have always voted but this year I'm not sure. As far as her speech last not people read to much into things. Not one of the other canidates conceded on the day they lost. The way we vote sucks. It schould not be up to the super delegates.

    June 4, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  18. david in seattle

    It amazes me that McCaine can actually stand there and say that we have had nuclear powered warships for fifty years and there has never been an incident.....Remember the Thresher? How about the Scorpion? Does he not know or not remember or is he just lying through his teeth?

    I dont trust the military or politicians with nukes.....I remember watching my girlfriend die of cancer at 16 years old back in 1968....Her identical twin sister was who was raised by her mother here in Seattle is sitll alive today and cancer free her whole life. Unfortunately my girlfriend grew up in Hanford and used to play in the "snow" in the summer....thats right, politicians and the military decided to test radioave fallout on a disposable community....

    NO nukes McCaine....GOT THAT??? NO nukes!

    June 4, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  19. Andy (Las Vegas)

    To all the Hillary supporters who say they'll vote for McCain instead:

    I cannot fathom the vile hatred many of you are spewing at the moment. Yes, I'm an Obama supporter. Yes, I'm happy he won. But let me tell you something...if Obama lost, I'd immediately throw my support to Hillary...and guess what. I DON'T LIKE HER ONE BIT...not at all. But, would you REALLY vote for McCain....would you really vote to continue this war, to watch our sons and daughers die in vain....would you really vote for continuing an economic downslide that has EVERYONE losing any resemblance to what was supposed to be the American dream...would you really vote to continue to let our sick and dying suffer without healthcare...would you really vote for $6-$8 gasoline, $500 groccery bills for TWO people for a month, for $300 electricity bills...would you really –and this is a big one–would you really vote to continue destroying our environment to the point where our children have ZERO chance of survival? If you really feel that way, then vote for McCain...and may whatever god you pray to have mercy on your souls.

    Please think about this before responsding. Now is not the time to fight with each other...it's time to unite for a BETTER purpose.

    June 4, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  20. Geoff

    STAUNCH CLINTON SUPPORTER – you are what BO's supporters hate – a self interested thought to be persecuted person exercising your self created isolation hatred on to the public. Vote for the best representative of your country and values. By saying you'll vote McCain you could be killing your own children...or your family's children...or your neighbor's children for "false wars" like Iraq. Don't vote then...but don't send my children to war you selfish jerk.

    June 4, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  21. pam Eugene OR

    Wolf, I sure won't miss your one sided view of everything. All your comments about Hillary were so biased. It will be interesting now to see if you are capable of delivering FAIR and HONEST accounts of the news.
    Now that "your girl" is out of please try to show Obama the respect he deserves and has won.
    Obama 08
    Good luck Senator Clinton with what ever you decide to do with your future.

    June 4, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  22. RETIRED PROFESSIONAL W/WOMAN

    Cindi,
    Too late. Too late for the trickster to win. It is over for Hillary.
    And we don't want to see the liar and her husband on TV for
    8 years. CNN would go out of business.

    June 4, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  23. DNC

    GO VOTE FOR MCcAIN BUT SHUT UP FOR THE NEXT 4 YRS WHEN WE PAYING 8 BUCKS FOR GAS AND OUR ECONOMY IS WAY WORSE THAN NOW

    June 4, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  24. Kick Hillary to the Curb

    Hillary is a loser the only winner in her family is Bill. I still like Bill but I will never vote for Hillary. AND PLEASE UNDERSTAND EVERYONE SHE DID NOT WIN THE POP VOTE THAT IS MADE UP BY THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN. 400,000 VOTES WERE CASTED BY REPUBLICANS URGED TO MESS UP THE RACE BY RUSH LIMBAUGH'S "OPERATION CHAOS". SHE DID NOT WIN! RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOULD BE ARRESTED FOR RIGGING THE ELECTION.

    please post, thanks

    June 4, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  25. Dealt

    Yes, Obama and McCain disagree on many issues. And for anybody who might have missed how their frame of mind differ so much, McCain's speech on Tuesday made that so clear... beyond the jabs and self-praise.

    Attacking Obama's policies on relief to those who can't afford health care or education for their children. McCain said "government shouldn't take our resources and decisions for us".

    Some attacks later he also said "that would be extravagant spending on business that are not government's concern."

    Yet, McCain vehmently believes invading other countries without justification, spending billions of dollars on war and killing directly and indirectly thousands of citizens of other countries (a lot of them civilians) and getting america's young men and women killed is not "extravagant spending of resources and money on business that are not government's concern".

    Do americans want a government that won't help them with health and education and that considers those expenditures extravagant and not a government's business but which, on the other hand, will consider cheap the respources of their country and the lives its young men and women in wars that it is saying are government's business?

    June 4, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
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