July 30th, 2008
12:19 PM ET
10 years ago

Republicans seize on Obama comments to House Democrats

Obama met with House Democratic leaders Tuesday.

Obama met with House Democratic leaders Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Republicans are attacking the "audacity" of recent comments Barack Obama reportedly made to Democratic congressional leaders Tuesday night in a closed-door meeting.

In comments first reported by the Washington Post and confirmed to CNN by a senior Democratic aide, while discussing his recent trip to Europe, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said, "This is the moment, as Nancy [Pelosi] noted, that the world has been waiting for.”

The Illinois senator, on Capitol Hill to give House Democrats a pep talk ahead of the November elections, also said he had "become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions."

The Democratic aide told CNN that comment was made in the context of "Americans struggling and demanding change." A House Democratic leadership aide who was in the room also told CNN Obama's point was the campaign is "NOT about him."

"The [Washington] Post left out the important first half of the sentence, which was something along the lines of: ‘It has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign, that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. It’s about America. I have just become a symbol…,'" the aide said.

The Republican National Committee circulated the comments to reporters under the banner, "Barack Obama audacity watch." John McCain's presidential campaign also forwarded the comments with the subject line, "wow."

Watch: Critics call Obama 'arrogant'

Obama and the Democratic leadership emerged from the meeting upbeat Tuesday evening after meeting behind closed doors for close to an hour. Speaking to reporters after the meeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Obama has the ability to transform the way Washington does business.

"If we do what I know is possible then I think we can shake up Washington and actually deliver for the American people and that's an exciting prospect," she said.

Also speaking at the press conference, Obama predicted the November election could be a transformative one.

Watch: Obama: 'We can change Washington'

"If the Democrats can make clear our vision, which is not for larger government but is for a responsive, efficient, and honest government that is listening to the voices of the American people, if the American people can feel confident that the institutions here in Washington are working for them and not on behalf of special interests, then I think this can be an incredible election," he said.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • House • Popular Posts
soundoff (358 Responses)
  1. Boston Dem

    I was Obama's student, and I worked on his Senate campaign, and while he is a visionary and an idealist, he is as far from arrogant as one can be. He is grounded, real, and has a profound love for this country that permeates everything he does. His family is the highest priority in his life, and his public service is second. The Republicans are spinning and their wheels are about to come off.
    Obama '08

    July 30, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  2. WestCoast

    So What!!! CNN try covering McCain's problem with getting his facts straight.

    July 30, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  3. David

    What he said sounds great to me. The republicans are idiots for attacking him on it considering most people I know feel we're in need of change and values. Obama is right!

    July 30, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  4. Emanuel Glantz

    McCain and the republicans are clearly desperate and at this point will distort and outright lie about anything to advance and discredit Sen. Obama.

    Furthermore I for one think that Sen. McCain is becoming mentally unstable and I question his cognitive functions. I think he would be very dangerous to have next to the "button".

    July 30, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  5. Marcus Allen

    Obama will be a "rubber stamp" for the WORST CONGRESS ever. The American people desperately want change for the better BUT what we don't want is to let this Congress run unchecked!

    Seriously, I like Obama and I'd vote for him in any other circumstances. He won't veto a darn thing this congress will do as seen is these "pep talks".

    July 30, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  6. larry from minnesota

    It's pretty interesting that the Republicans and John McCain's only message is reaction to Barack Obama. Have they no message at all this is their own?

    July 30, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  7. Joe

    CNN comment sections may as well be a DNC chat room. Obama has quite an ego for himself. I would not have an issue wtih him if he put forth any substance with respect to his "change" – to me he is nothing but a good speaker with no track record for getting anything done. He could make a good living going around the country and making speaches. I never liked Hillary Clinton but at least I know where she stood on the issues. This guy has taken no concrete stance on any position. When you are president you actually have to take a position on the issues – that in itself is going to be scary if this joker gets elected since we have no idea where he stands.

    July 30, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  8. Michigan for Obama

    As a former very supportive Republican....they (Republicans) need to wake up and get with the program...name calling is so immature and petty...truly silly! This election is about America returning to a respectful position within the world and with each United States of America citizen.

    July 30, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  9. BarackforKingof theWorld

    I totally agree. I wish we could make his lord messiah Barack Obama King of all of the World for eternity. His deep messages of Hope and Change... and his detailed explanations of how this will happen. Don't those stupid republicans understand that 5 dedicated months as a Senator is plenty of experience to rule the world. Look at all the policies he's created already. And he was a communitiy organizer too. He was right on when he said the troops didn't have anything to do with the successes in Iraq. He was right when he voted against the troop surge because we can't afford to lose any more soldiers... Unless it's a troop surge in Afganistan, then we can afford to lose more soldiers and it makes sense. Who cares if I understand. He's the lord messiah Barach Obama. He knows what's better for me than I do. I can't wait to serve him and be a member of the New World Order. This is going to be great.

    July 30, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  10. brianh

    The "arrogant" description of Barrack is the high school equivalent of being called "stuck up".It is a tool that jealous people or those who see somebody as being a threat use to cause others to dislike their intended target. Then once the target does or says something in anyway that can be seen as being overconfident, they use that to cause the undecided who barely know the person to agree as well and then they sit back and say "See I told you so". That is the tactic used against Barrack as they can't find much fault in him and since so many love him, they try to use that in a negative light and cause the undecided to hate on him for no reason whatsoever. If America becomes more concerned with voting for a President that can best get the job done than one whom they could see themselves having a drink with then we would be much better off.

    July 30, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  11. Adam

    It is sad when the media, yes you CNN, covers up a million McCain gaffes and writes an entire article about comments Obama "reportedly" made in a closed session hearing...a sad day for journalism indeed

    July 30, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  12. Jamaal kansas


    July 30, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  13. Rick FL

    I don't understand the issue with Obama's positive message here.

    These Republicans along with McCain desperately appear to be followers of Obama's every move instead looking for ways to lead.

    Obama inspires people from all walks of life to want to do better for our country, which exemplifies the concept of strong leadership we need in our next president IMHO.

    Obama '08

    July 30, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  14. Rob

    I know I'm bracing myself for the Obama/Pelosi show. Four years of dropping our knickers for the rest of the world and blaming the previous administration for their shortcomings.

    Get real, clean out the dead weight in Washington and start over with real Americans intersted in making this nation great without the need for waving the banner of a particulr political party.

    Enough is enough.

    July 30, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  15. Ron

    You will be casting a vote for no change if you vote for obama, still why will he not wear an american flag on his lapel, is he ashamed of america , he is not for the people, he is for himself and is not good for us.. anybody who thinks that you have 250,000 dollars that you are rich is stupid, do not vote for this person , he is just sucking you in, there will be no change...we must dril for oil here......

    July 30, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  16. Rick

    Since when did the Republicans become linguists. Oh ... I forgot ... our current "leader" is a Republican ... and quite the linguist.

    July 30, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  17. Jabari Woods

    When the Republicans call him "arrogant" what I hear is "uppity".

    Is this 2008 or 1958? Shame.

    July 30, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  18. Freddy

    I see an arrogant, self absorbing, ego driven man who will stop at nothing to show the world that he is the end all to washington. That's what he will be....the end of washington. I want him to explain why he didn't go in to see the troops when he found out that he couldn't bring the press? I guess since there was no photo op for him then they weren't worth his time. That's not the type of President I want.

    I will be voting for McCain. He might not be the best speaker in the world but atleast he's honest and real. Not like the puppet Obama.

    July 30, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  19. Gary S

    So what? It's true. People do have hope in him... much more hope than McCain can dream of having from the people.

    And "northern lite", the dems in congress can do very little with a 51-49 "majority" in the Senate. Your republican bungholes have managed to make sure to that.

    July 30, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  20. Ndalio

    Republicans are desperate!

    July 30, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |


    July 30, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  22. MIA

    hahaha...the GOPers are afraid of a little competition. Get over it and grow a pair.

    July 30, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  23. Fordy

    This comment like so many others have been taken out of context.
    Obama throughout the primaries said he had confidence in the American people that they would not be side tracked by non-issues and that the old style politics would not work this time. I'm afraid he was wrong.
    Let's say(for argument) he was in fact arrogant, how does that detract from his capabilities? Are arrogant people bad people? Is arrogance the single issue on which one would make their voting decision? There are things about our best friends that we don't like. Are we saying then that we're only going to vote for someone we like absolutely everything about?

    July 30, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  24. Ndalio

    i dont see anything wrong in what he said.

    July 30, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  25. It Be Me

    I don't get it???? Whats wrong with what he said?

    "The truth shall set you free"!!!!! LOL

    American has been waiting for almost 8 years for a change....it's about time!

    July 30, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
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