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. Barb

    I was there and I heard his remarks and I heard the booing.
    The fact is, Governor Granholm is not very popular in Michigan right now, because there is a view that she could have done more about the depressed economy in the state.

    And this is the world headquarters of the UAW. That union has been decimated by what has happened to manufacturing in the U.S., and specifically the Automobile industry.

    It is also felt that Granholm and Carl Levin, did a lot to contribute to the mess in Michigan that prevented people from voting for Obama and Edwards in the first place. Just because the delegate issue is resolved doesn't make the feelings go away.

    Hillary and Bill are rightly blamed for NAFTA. It is a reality in Michigan. A fact. And it is based on what they did. They both campaigned very actively for NAFTA. The people aren't stupid. They might have to hold their noses and put up with Hillary, but most of them are frankly, very glad she is out of it.

    I sincerely hope he does not make the mistake of chosing her for VP. I found his comments a little too effusive. For example, I think his two daughters have a very effective role model in their own mother. They'd be better off emulating Michele then Hillary.

    There is some mistaken notion that without Hillary, Obama will lose the women's vote. That could not be further from the truth! They are flocking to him. With an alternative like John McCain, they'd have to!
    And McCain could chose the ghost of Bela Abzug for his VP and it still wouldn't matter. No one wants McCain in the White House. Especially not women.

    I would take Hillary up on her pledge to support him and I would use her very very specifically in Pennsylvania, in Ohio, and in West Virginia. I would send her to Florida, too. He can use her a bit in South Dakota and in Indiana, but really he will be fine. Especially if he picks a great running mate and if Edwards and Gore really do campaign their hearts out for him.

    June 17, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  2. proud american

    When Hillary Clinton nimbly offered congratulations to Senator Obama at her election night rallys, her supporters would rudely start booing. And Hillary would just stand there silently and not tell them to stop.

    Oh well, the nomination battle is done with, and we should put it behind us and work towards getting the Republicans out of the White House.

    June 17, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  3. Billy from NJ

    I think every person who votes for senator McCain should also have to enlist to fight for the war in Iraq. I for one would love to see all of the armchair keyboard patriots put some substance to their vote! Stand by your Candidate!

    June 17, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  4. Will in Richmond, VA

    Once again, Obama takes the highest possible road.

    Don't hate the man because of what you feel about his supporters. None of this venom, none of it came from him. He ran a more balanced campaign, driven by very dedicated competent people. It's not his fault that Clinton's campaign ignored caucus states, and caused her to come up a little short.

    No McCain in the fall. For any democrat, that would be a disaster. Think of your children.

    June 17, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  5. Deniece Graham, TX

    I just have to say that it's not the "negative Obama" supporters that are ruining the democratic party.

    It's the bitter, rabid Clinton supporters (who are actually thinking of voting for McBush) that are really weakening our party and could mess it up for everyone in November!

    For the life of me, I'll never understand why someone who wants universal health care, better education, an exit strategy in Iraq, equal rights for everyone, women's right to choose, etc. would actually vote for John McCain.

    It seems as though there are some that really need to reflect on what's important.

    June 17, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  6. Hazel

    Obama's rabid supporters are his worst enemies. They do more to hurt him than the right wing political attack machine ever could. There will be no unity without respect– that's a fact. Get hold of yourselves Obamaphiles, if you care at all about your candidate.

    June 17, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  7. Filipina

    Sir Obama you are so gracious, God Bless You and your beautiful family. Well done I cant wait when you are the President.

    June 17, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. Mark Webb

    Let's follow Obama's and Clinton's model of reconciliation.
    Enough bickering among Democrats!
    Enough pettiness!
    McBush is our common adversary.
    Let's unite and win in November.

    June 17, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  9. BO/AL

    Honour & respect for the Clintons?

    June 17, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  10. Chelle

    @ LIZ –

    If people vote against Obama because of overzealous supporters, then one would question whether they were going to vote for Obama in the first place. I'm so tired of seeing posts of people complaining about Obama supporters being negative and causing people to vote against him. At best that is a very juvenile approach – and likely only an excuse to not vote for him for other reasons. We should be voting FOR the candidate not AGAINST their supporters. And for that matter all of the candidates have "over the top" supporters. Doesn't mean that the candidates condone the behavior. These are people hiding behine the anonymity of computers on stupid blogs! Geesh!

    June 17, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  11. End Game

    DNC selected Obama and the Clinton supporters know it, and are NOT accepting it. Lack of experience will not prevail come November, DNC picked the wrong nominee, plain and simple

    June 17, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  12. Carlos in fla

    I applaud Obama this is what we need in our country.
    Let the Republicans continue their divisive messages.
    Just remember "United we stand, divided we fall" Is time to work at uniting our country.
    Obama has my vote in 08.

    June 17, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  13. Becky in Indiana

    What a stand up guy.

    Although I'm not a big fan of Clinton, she deserves kudos for her hard work.

    June 17, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  14. James

    Unite the party...defeat McSame

    June 17, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  15. lars

    It's nice that he's trying to unify the party
    but those cranky huffy supporters of Bill's baby mama
    will just see it as yet another conspiracy.

    June 17, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  16. Empty suit, empty promises

    You go Prime Minister Obama, I mean President Obama.

    I can't wait till you visit all 57 states, I mean 50.

    Sorry "sweetie" if I sound "bitter and clinging to guns and religion", but I just recently became "for the first time in my adult life, really proud of my country" and the change message with no substance behind them makes me feel "like a typical white person" who isn't buying the BS you are selling.

    Clinton was twice the candidate you are, she FORGOT more than you know and the people have every right and reason to boo you, empty vessel with empty substance.

    Show some seeds and do the town halls with McCain, but you know when your away from your teleprompter, speech writers and IN THE TANK PUNDITS, you are not as "articulate".

    A supposed voice of the people will not answer questions from the people, hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

    Sorry, I am BITTER.

    June 17, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  17. PC

    The problem is the image and message that the Clinton camp has given off, both implicitly and explicitly. While Obama's actions supporting and praising Clinton have seem less timed and planned, therefore more genuine, Clinton's have seemed the opposite. Of course, this could also be completely the reverse of reality, and I suspect that Obama is still as much a politician as the next guy. The thing is, he has sensed the mood of the country and is playing the right cards NOW. The opportunistic and flexible nature of his campaign/politics has got him to this point. The question is, will he deliver? Or is it just politics as usual, with the only difference being Obama being more skilled at making his politics seem like they're not just posturing to play to the crowd, and therefore 'bringing change' or 'being different?'

    June 17, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  18. Cory in Little Rock

    It makes me laugh when people call Obama arrogant... don't they really mean "uppity"?


    June 17, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  19. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    All this none constructive negativity with soon be over and we will be focusing on the real issues. So keep your blood pressure down, life is an uphill climb now, thanks to the Bush administration.

    June 17, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  20. Tommy

    LIZ: "Obama supporters being so negative" ???

    What about HIllary herself and her negativity toward Obama and all of his supporters? Hope this clears up something for you!

    Hope you will be happy sometime...

    June 17, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  21. Michelle

    Please. Hillary's kitchen sink was mild. Extremely mild. That was the baby kitchen sink in the toy kitchen.

    And she deserves respect. She's earned respect. She's spent her entire adult life fighting for rights and the American public pays her back by making her out to be a monster.

    June 17, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  22. Canadianbabe

    Oh Please, all you hilary's supporters should stop making such a fuss. Hilary was nothing but hateful to obama during the primaries and still he was so humble enough not to retaliate. However, he showed more maturity by commending hilary. What more do you want.
    You are just so hateful and you have no good or solid reason to hate Obama. You are just very angry that Clinton did not win. Obama won fair and square and you are having a hard time dealing with it. Suck it up and grow up!!!!!!

    June 17, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  23. Jennifer

    Rudyard Kipling said it best:


    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
    But make allowance for their doubting too,
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
    And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
    If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
    If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breath a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
    If all men count with you, but none too much,
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
    And–which is more–you'll be a Man, my son!

    YES WE CAN!!!!!

    June 17, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  24. Brian

    This will solve the problem and end any Democratic party division (from the mind of an Independent voter, by the way)...

    President: Barack Obama

    Vice President: Al Gore (perfect platform for his environmental stance)

    Secretary of State: Hillary Clinton (loved by other world leaders, she would bring back a sense of respect and authority to the position)

    What ya think?

    June 17, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  25. Bdiddy from Chicago


    That's why he is the nominee. Whether you agree with him or not he has had nothing but respect for everyone including McCain. He 's a stand up guy.

    He's going to make a wonderful President.

    June 17, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
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