June 5th, 2008
08:38 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama on Congress: 'I'll whup 'em'


Watch Sen. Obama receive an unusual gift in Virginia Thursday.

(CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential nominee, signaled Thursday that he really means business when it comes to health care reform.

An elderly African-American man presented Obama, the first African-American to secure the nomination of a major party, with a gift. Charles Edwards, who told Obama he was 95 years old, gave Obama a long maple walking stick.

WATCH Obama's reaction to the gift.

"It's beautiful," Obama told Edwards. "And, if members of Congress don't pass my health care bill, I'm ready," Obama said wielding the stick as supporters laughed and cheered.

"I'll whup 'em," he joked. "They better not mess with me. I'll have that stick."

Obama's remarks at the event in Bristol, Virginia focused on health care reform. But the Illinois senator began his speech by praising former rival Sen. Hillary Clinton. "I congratulate her on her great achievement and I know that I'm a better candidate because I ran against her." Obama also told the crowd Clinton was "tough." "She is just an outstanding candidate and a great public servant," he added. (Related video: Obama commends Clinton)

Obama also used the occasion to emphasize the fact that he had bested Clinton in a long, hard-fought battle for their party's nod. "I am here to report that my faith has paid off," Obama said, referring to his belief that the non-traditional messages of his candidacy would resonate with the public. "And, I stand before you as the Democratic nominee for president of the United States of America." (Related video: Obama claims nomination)

soundoff (289 Responses)
  1. Peter E

    "Ooo, I support Obama. And my opinion matters more because I've been a life-long . They are all against Obama, but I'm for him. And I'm demonstrating Obama's message of 'hope and change' by continuing my personal attacks against Hillary, who is the cause of all problems in the world, including my cat's cold."

    June 5, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  2. Chi4Obama

    Math Lesson:

    1) BUSH = MCCAIN.
    2) MCCAIN = BUSH
    3) MCCAIN OR BUSH = No slumping economy, Never ending war

    Hypothesis: – IF you have MCCAIN OR BUSH in office, THEN you have a recipe for disaster.

    June 5, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  3. Quincy

    For those of you that have no knowledge about Middle Eastern or African Culture, you may remember the ten commandments. The stick, or staff or Rod is a symbol of tribal leadership or within a family group, it symbolizes the leader of the family. It also symbolizes power.

    It was a powerful gift that he received. How many Presidential candidates every received such a gift from their constituency. History is neing made right before our eyes.

    By the way, Moses not only led the Jews from bondage in Egypt using the rod to free them and sustain them in the wilderness, prior to God giving him this immense task, Moses also was King of Ethiopia prior to his instructions at the burning bush.

    The rod , the stick, the staff is a powerful symbol. Let's see if Sen. McCain receives one.

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

    To the people saying this was not presidential behavior, I must disagree. A president need to be human and not just a puppet in a suit. Obama is the most presidential candidate I have ever seen.

    And, to the so-called Clinton supporters. You should not and can not call yourself a Clinton supporter and then vote for McCain. You would be voting against everything she believes in, including Barack Obama.

    A true Clinton supporter will vote for the candidate she supports - Barack Obama.

    I have a feeling most of the loud "I'll vote for McCain" whiners are Republicans anyway. There has been an active movement on the Republican side to make this look like more of a bitter brawl than it is.

    In the real world, all of the Clinton supporters I know are now backing Obama. They may not be thrilled that their choice lost, but they know McCain is in a completely different world than what their candidate stands for.

    June 5, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  5. MBFLA

    All of Congress needs to change especially the Democrats for whom we had such high expectations of the last election who have done so little (Pelosi, Reid, Conyers)!

    June 5, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  6. Cindy

    I'm sure this is yet another post CNN will ignore, but here goes anyway.

    Being a Democrat who chooses not to vote for Obama isn't being traitorous to the party. See, I am an American first and a Democrat second, and I don't think America can take four years of Obama. And with people comparing him to Moses and Jesus (I wish someone could tell me I imagined that but no, it's up there, I just checked again) it could be eight years. I love my country more than my party. Refusing to vote for Obama has nothing to do with the fact that I thought Hillary was the best candidate for the job, and everything to do with the fact that Obama falls far short on experience and judgment.

    God Bless America. We're going to need it.

    June 5, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  7. kelly WI

    He hasn't the nomination until the vote at the convention.
    Wait for the August Surprise.
    The dems would rather lose with obama than win with Clinton.

    June 5, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  8. Balance

    willie whyte June 5th, 2008 4:58 pm ET
    i think barack obama is going to have to withstand about 15% of hillary supporters voting for john mccain by the time november comes around. that is my opinion whether or not hillary is on the ticket. it is such a waste of democratic votes simply because of the "hate" feelings.
    however i believe barack can still win the presidency given that scenario.
    i truly believe my grandkids deserve the future that barack is trying to give them, rather than the future john mccain is looking to create.
    i'm a republican who will change sides for what i believe america deserves.

    LifeLongDemocrat June 5th, 2008 4:59 pm ET
    I'm a Hillary supporter and I am angry. he should have never entered the race as she was the first viable woman for the job. He could have run later and gotten more experience! So don't blame the Republicans…we are angry!

    Hmm maybe the Reps crossing over will counteract those 15% sore losers. First viable woman looses to first viable black man, wow that is history in the making.

    June 5, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  9. Chi4Obama

    Math Lesson:
    1) BUSH = MCCAIN.
    2) MCCAIN = BUSH
    3) MCCAIN OR BUSH = slumping economy, never ending war

    Hypothesis: – IF you have MCCAIN OR BUSH in office, THEN you have a recipe for disaster.

    June 5, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. Alex in MA

    I love Willis from Texas!

    June 5, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. Phil

    Obama appears to have low integrity. To say that he resigned from his church for the benefit of the churchgoers (and for the objective of maintaining their privacy) is ridiculous. He did it because he had no choice, too much racist rhetoric was coming from that Church. The problem is that he's not truthful as to his motives. Obviously his judgement isn't so great. As Wright himself pointed out, Obama is a politician and will do whatever he has to do to get elected. In other words, he'll lie.

    McCain has his own problems but is a better choice. Thus McCain's contributions are going up dramatically.

    You won't see Obama agree to town hall meetings. He's not good on his feet – it's because he doesn't have a command of the issues.

    June 5, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  12. 1926

    The poor ignorant people who sacrificed to send money to Obama should be pitied. Its a shame, and they will lose it. We will never let an ignorant racist like Michelle into the white house. I like my presidents and their wives patriotic and loving America. You are trash, Michelle. Go back to Chicago, with you silly fist bumping. At least, try to act dignigied. The Republicans will make you cry.

    June 5, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  13. NO Clintons

    We hope you take some time off to rest and enjoy your family you need rest.
    Then GET ALL FIRED UP start your engine and we will have a movement the likes they have never seen or dreamed of just mark my word they ain't seen nothing yet as to what they will see straight to the White House .
    We are behind you all the way .
    Its great to see Caroline K. she would make a great V.P.

    Obama 08/12

    June 5, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  14. J Moses

    Obama is a natural statesman. By getting the people of this country up off their complacent bottoms and involved in their government we'll be building a stronger nation for generations to come. I'm so proud of Obama and his campaign staff. And this old white gal would like to point out that Obama did NOT win Vermont by getting a huge turnout of black voters. He won by because he was the best candidate for the job.

    June 5, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
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