June 17th, 2008
02:15 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama defends Clinton at Michigan rally

Gore endorsed Obama Monday night in Michigan.

Gore endorsed Obama Monday night in Michigan.

DETROIT, Michigan (CNN) - Barack Obama defended Hillary Clinton at a Michigan unity rally Monday night that featured former Vice President Al Gore - and some off-message audience booing at the mention of the New York senator's name.

After joking about the extended Democratic primary season – “I was planning to run for the '08 election, not the 2012 election!" – Obama responded to some vocal Clinton critics in the crowd, who had reacted to praise for the senator from both the presumptive Democratic nominee and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a longtime Clinton supporter.

"I want everybody here to be absolutely clear - I want everybody here to be absolutely clear - Senator Clinton is one of the finest public servants we have in American life today," said Obama, noting her work on behalf of children's rights and universal health care.

"She has been on the right side of just about every battle that we have fought - she has, in her own words, shattered a glass ceiling into 18 million pieces. ….She is worthy of our respect, she is worthy of our honor.

“…And she's tough! That's why this race took so long. She's a fighter and we need fighters in the Democratic Party. Because we've got a lot to fight for. There's a lot worth fighting for.”

Gore, who remained neutral throughout the primary season, made his first campaign appearance for Obama at the Detroit rally. "Take it from me, elections matter," said the 2000 Democratic presidential nominee. "After the last eight years, even our dogs and cats have learned that elections matter."

He compared Republican criticism that Obama is unexperienced and naïve to Nixon's attacks on John Kennedy in 1960. "I know what [Kennedy's] inspiration meant to my generation, and I feel that same spirit in this auditorium here tonight, building all over this country this year," said Gore.

Filed under: Al Gore • Candidate Barack Obama • Popular Posts
soundoff (412 Responses)
  1. Character Content Examination

    What's with this? I see comments that are a mile long and my longer comments are not accepted?

    Is it because my comments are anti-Obama? Come on, CNN. This is outrageous!

    June 17, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  2. The Common Man

    The idea of McCain 08 for HRC 2012 is absurd. If the HRC supporters are willing to sacrifice the good of the Democratic Party so that HRC could have another shot to run in 2012, do they really think the Democratic Party will be in any shape at all to organize and rally behind a candidate in 2012? NO!! If HRC supporters sell out the Democratic Party in 2008 it would put us well behind the GOP for the next twenty years. It would split the party and cause irreparable damage. HRC supporters, your best bet is Obama winning and the Dem party controlling things. If HRC supporters hijack the party then HRC's political career is over AND the Dems will not recover. You guys ran a contested campaign and lost – that's all there is to it. It was a great campaign from both candidates.

    June 17, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  3. Ric

    Clinton Democrats unit for Mc Cain '08!

    June 17, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  4. james

    I can't believe these Clinton supporters. Obama is the bad guy now? After all the crap Hillary tried to pull! She is the reason people are so angry...dragging on a race that was over months ago, trying to get people angry at the DNC, bringing up sexism, not showing respect to Obama when he won, waiting four days to even acknowledge his winning, and then going into hiding. I am amazed that Obama can still say nice things about her, I couldn't.

    June 17, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  5. Character Content Examination

    Okay, I'll do this one paragraph at a time...

    The democratic primary has been a real eye-opener for me. I have never before witnessed what goes on in predominantly black churches. I had no idea that Black Liberation Theology existed and I certainly had no idea that white people were being ranted against as if there were still Jim Crow laws and "whites only" drinking fountains.

    June 17, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. Howard, Westport CT

    What a gracious man. I think Hillary and Bill played hard ball in the primaries. Would you expect anything less from the Clintons. Obama is the nominee, let's make sure that he get nominated. Keep your eyes on the prize, change in Washington, which is now a cesspool, and defeating McCain in November.
    If Obama is not elected, none of Hillary's ideas have chance of being implemented. Can Clinton supporters live with that on their conscience?
    As an Obama supporter ,if Clinton had won I would be behind her 100%. I realize we cannot afford to have another dangerous republican lunatic running the country into the ground for 4 more years!!!

    June 17, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  7. Nick

    Booing Hillary is completely disrespectful. This is just a testiment to the fact that Obama's appeal is largely emotional. His supporters simply over look Hillary's lifetime or sacrifice and accomplishments for this country. They boo her, while thier candidate hasn't done anything for this country, only tells us whats wrong with it. I will vote for Obama because his policies are just about carbon copies of Hillary's, except for heath care. Real universal heathcare is change I believe in, but I guess thats not what Obama was talking about. If there was ever "politics as usual" its being afraid to have a universal heathcare plan. Wake up Barack, the right is going to call you a socialist, pinko, commi, marxist anyway. This country needs everyone covered so we can control costs and avoid a disaster in the industry. Adopt Hillary's plan either now, or after you get elected (if you think that's safer). We need it, and you know we do too. Just like you know we need all of Hillary's other policies.

    June 17, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  8. Paige

    By the way, its not that 18 million people who previously supported Hillary won't vote. We will vote! Of course we will. We will either vote for John McCain or we will just vote for Hillary Clinton as a write in candidate-the latter of which sounds like a great idea to me.

    June 17, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  9. Joann

    To all of you people who continue to hate Hillary or say the only reason she is a Senator or ran for POTUS is becuase of Bill, get a CLUE and WAKE up!! Hillary was voted by the people of NY on her platform and then re-elected. To me this is becasue of the job SHE has done in the Senate. If she was doing a bad job she would not have won re-election. Also, believe or not Hillary being a woman and running for President was more difficult for her as a female. Why don't you ALL just admit it, especially some of the sexist men that have posted on this boord. If it was Hillary or some other female you would still be as nasty. To the rest of you, why don't you keep your little fingers off the keyboard with all the negatives about Hillary until you investigate her accomplishements long before she married Bill. She has fought hard for the people of this country before and after she was a Clinton. How many of you can say that as you sit back and NEVER try to better yourself, your country or others. YES, she does deserve RESPECT and maybe if you all had a mind of your own, rather then relying on the media and media hosts who hate her for whatever reason you can be your own judge!

    June 17, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  10. AKP

    I am sick and tired of reading what these hard-core HRC supporters have to say. You are all so bitter and naive; the fact that many of you will not support the democratic party in November makes you all look childish and immature; like a little toddler that is stomping his feet and throwing a fit because they did not get their way.

    The fact is, the war and the economy are the biggest issues our nation faces right now, and if McCain becomes president, none of that will change. And in 4-8 years from now, when nothing has changed, I at least hope you all will have the courage enough to admit to yourselves that it was your fault that another republican is president because you were so immature.

    It's time for people to vote for ISSUES they believe in and not for someone who didn't make it.

    Everyone criticizes Obama's experience; but it is no secret that Obama is smart enough and self aware enough that he will surround him self with plenty of experienced and brilliant minds, and more importantly, he will actually listen to them.

    Obama is a courageous and honest leader, and I believe McCain is too, but their policies are apples and oranges; so the question is, do you want an apple or do you want an orange?

    Democrat in Office ’08!

    June 17, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. Danny

    I feel sorry for you HM. Please grow a brain.

    Tim Stevens said it – "Hearing Clinton supporters bashing Obama is a travesty."

    I really think that if this nation allows McCain into office for the next 4 years, I will seriously hate this effin country.

    June 17, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  12. Hillary

    Obama supporters bashed Hillary all through the entire camaign. I guess that was ok. I will not vote for Obama no matter who endorses him. Hillary supporters do not like or want Obama and hopefully he will not get in. Hillary does not need Obama's phoney praise of her. By the way, Hillary supporters that will vote for McCain are REAL, has nothing to do with the Republicans, so stop trying to spread your lies. BOOOOO to Obama, how do you like that. HIllary puts rings around Obama and we all know why he is the nominee and not her. If he gets in he will be the worst President ever. No Obama!!

    June 17, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  13. karen

    United we win–divided we fall!!!! Old saying but true!!! Let the women of Hillary take a look at what McBush does not want for women and they too will unite with Obama!!!

    June 17, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  14. Karen T, Cedar Hill, Texas

    Jennifer the poem from Rudyard Kipling "IF" is awesome and says it all!

    All Democrats lets unite and defeat McSame!

    Yes, we Can!

    Obama 2008-2016!

    June 17, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  15. JonPeter, Hartford, CT

    Obama, HRC and Gore are certainly showing teamwork and leadership skills. Too bad some of their spoil sport supporters can't do the same.

    People, it is Obama, HRC, Gore and others who will lead us in elected and appointed positions. It is not these vocal critics we should be following.

    Let's get on the same page for the good of the country. What HRC and Obama decide between themselves is important. What a few of you want to decide for them is irrelevant.

    June 17, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. Mary Fournier

    I am a northern neighbour and never have I been so enthusiastic and hopeful of the opportunity for America to alter the course of its destiny. I grew up with the magic of the Kennedy era and cried when Camelot was broken. Now, through Senator Obama and the force of his vision and integrity, I see America about to be once again transformed to the home of the brave and the land of the free. As a Canadian with two children living and working as professionals in the state of Texas and Illonois, we very much have a vested interest in America's future as do all Canadians. The endorsement last night from Al Gore is a crowning achievement for Senator Obama and indiciates a moment in American history where the dream never dies and is only months away from reality. God bless America and this once in a century opportunity to change it's destiny.

    Mary Fournier
    Elmvale, ON Canada

    June 17, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  17. Wade Hollenbach

    Thank you, Mr.Obama for your graciousness. I agree with you totally. Mrs. Clinton is a tough fighter who will stand by what she beliees in. I would like to ask all of us here to be both gracious and tough fighters. Our candidate and our party has a tremendous task in front of us. We all need to support our candidate and try to convert Republicans who can see the light of reason. We can MAKE history, not just watch it unfold. Be active, be patient and reasonable in our statements, and be supportive. We all need each other and Mr. Obama needs us all.

    June 17, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  18. NWindependent

    I will never vote for BHO. He's inexperienced with no substance. I will vote JSM so HRC can take the helm in 2012!

    June 17, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  19. Character Content Examination

    I didn't get a free ride to college-no trust fund, no needs-based grants, no race-based scholarships-and had to work full time and go to school at night to get my degree. I worked my tail off and sacrificed so I could get ahead. I delayed getting married to establish my career and delayed having children until I was old enough and stable enough to provide for them.

    June 17, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  20. Fishers, Indiana

    Al Gore lost the election.

    Barack Hussein Obama will never be elected President of the USA – this about it.

    Us, Dems, were stupid in not elevating Clinton.

    June 17, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  21. Jeff

    He's being nice. My personal opinion is that he's a horrible, ego driven, vindictive, do anything to grab power politician who I'm glad will never be president.

    June 17, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  22. Lynn in NM

    If she's the best this country has to offer, we are in big trouble. No wonder nothing gets done!

    June 17, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  23. Democrat

    Please, please folks vote the Democratic ticket and get us out of this mess we are in. I have never seen anything like it. Thank you.

    June 17, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  24. Rohit

    As a staunch Democrat and former Senator Clinton supporter that is now supporting the Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, I am appalled that Obama supporters would boo Senator Clinton. This does nothing to bring about unity and only gives McCain more of an opportunity to pick up votes from disillusioned Clinton supporters.

    Obama supporters at the Michigan rally should be appalled with their behavior.

    June 17, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  25. Kenneth M

    Mariann Pepitone, THAT IS SO FUNNY! YESTERDAY YOU WROTE: I don't know why History, I mean, Hillary is not running as an independent. Don’t you get it? History, I mean, Hillary does not have the money to run to the corner store to buy staples, glue and poster board. How is she going to run for an independent bid? The fat lady has sung. The song was “I will now support Obama”. I think it is nice that she is encouraging her staff to work for him. It shows her staff is making good on her word to work for his election.

    June 17, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
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