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. James, Corpus Christi, TX

    Like the Republicans should be speaking of audacity. Obama is confident in his abilities to lead this country, while Bush has lined his pockets at the expense of this countries well being. If anyone should be lectured on audacity, it should be Bush and his clone McCain.

    July 30, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  2. Cole-Boston

    Someone is'nt listening to what the American people are looking for from this election....sweeping change! America is waking up & moving to horizons. Republicans will be left in the dust if they refuse to accept what is happening out here.

    July 30, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  3. jim - phila.

    What a crock!!!

    July 30, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  4. duh

    It's telling that these are the comments the GOP has to "seize" on.

    July 30, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  5. Richard

    Pelosi is a miserable failure, but she's found something successful to cling onto. What I don't like is that "this is the moment the world has been waiting for". Personally, I care less about the moment the world has been waiting for and more about the moment the US has been waiting for.

    July 30, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  6. Oz

    Ok..so..he said the world has been waiting for this moment.. And considering how the past 8 years have gone, I dont quite see the 'wow' in the John Mccain's point. Besides, the context is that America has finally come out of the shadows of racism and is ready to lead again.. So yes.. the world, which includes ALL of us, HAVE been waiting for this.

    July 30, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  7. Joe Average

    McCain by a landslide in November. The world is not ready for the liberal antics of BHO! The McCain voters will turn out in droves this November. BHO and pepsico are WAY TOO confident.

    July 30, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  8. Marie

    I wish the press would hold John McCain more accountable for his daily gafs. The man looks and sounds very very old and confused.

    John McCains speeches make my head spin.

    If Obama would agree to drill for oil in addition to all his other solutions to the energy crisis he would win this thing by 15 pts. or more. Drilling is the only thing McCain has been right to change his mind about.

    July 30, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  9. JB

    wow. wow is correct. THIS is what the GOP is reaching for now?


    tick, tock... Nov. 2nd is closing in and there really isn't anything but smear and fear the republicans can do about it.

    This race is.. OVER.

    July 30, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  10. chris (hartford, ct)

    I still haven't heard one reason why people should vote for McCain. Let's see him run a positive ad w/o mentioning his opponent.

    July 30, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  11. rapp

    They forgot to include the whole quote from the presumptuous one. The word "I".

    July 30, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  12. applecrispbetty

    It'll be interesting to see whether voters will prefer the candidate who acts like a winner or the candidate who acts like a loser.

    July 30, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  13. LisaL

    When a campaign run on culture and liking becomes boring, then Americans will realise that Sen. Obama have absolutely no Political and legislative backbone to make him President of the United States.

    July 30, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  14. DJ

    Keep the arrogant comments coming, Mr. Obama. By the time November rolls around, you'll have shown more of the complete spectrum of your true colors.

    I don't doubt his sincerity and hope for America. But he's too concerned with "making a mark" and being a big moment in history. He's way too concerned with HIS agenda and direction for America than what the American people truly want. He's NOT for small government, he and the Democrats are for total control and big government. They are not for our country being governed "by the People." They think they know what the people want. And they are so wrong!!!!

    July 30, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  15. Ontaya

    I'm confused I didn't see anything wrong with these comments. Desperation makes you do and reach for strange things I guess!

    July 30, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  16. Bob

    How can he keep a straight face when he says "not larger government" ? Has anyone heard his comments on creating a civilian force equal to the size and funding of our military. Oh and lets add health care in there, that will just run by itself I guess.

    July 30, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  17. Jim

    Keep running your smear campaigns republican trash, it didn't work for your house and senate seat's, it won't work this time. The less you say about why people should vote for your candidate and the more you focus on smear tactics, the better for the democrats because it just shows what bullies and what trash you are.

    July 30, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  18. Happily Independent

    Here we go again with using someone words to try to interpret what they mean. That is the reason why many talented people will not run for president. I guess the GOP is going to keep trying to make the arrogant label for Obama stick. Clearly, what Obama was saying was that Europeans see him as an agent of change. There hope is that if Obama should become president that he will not have the GO IT ALONE foreign policy of the Bush years. They do not see McCain much difference between McCain and Bush. Obama is right that the U.S. needs to partner with allies to combat terrorism, climate change, AIDS, genocide, poverty, fair traide human rights and many other issues. Otherwise, not utilitzing NATO troops will cause a greater use of the military and a huge cost to the taxpayers.

    July 30, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  19. Eddie Blake

    I can't belive you liberals don't see what Hussein is doing! This is the One World Government coming to be. If you're not scared, you should be!

    McCain/Jindal '08

    July 30, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  20. ET from OMAHA

    So the Republican party is reduced again this year to personal attacks, spins, sound bites, name calling, lies. The problem is there is some stupid americans who can not see any far than the buttom of their noses and are ready to vote for their party against the nations best interest. What is disturbing also is they called themselves the most patriotic americans. WHAT A SHAME

    July 30, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  21. Brian

    What is with Obama's "the world has been waiting for" and Pelosi's "I'm trying to save the planet". You aren't elected to run the world or have the rest of the world like you you are elected to do what is in the best interest of the citizens in The United Sates of America, You are Americans before you are citizens of the world.

    July 30, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  22. Kelly - WV

    this is just too funny......is this news?

    July 30, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  23. Jeff

    The Republicans are really digging at the bottom of the barrel. At this point they are now trying to construe the fact that Obama is an inspirational leader who is taking the reins as something negative. Obama is exactly what America and the world needs right now and the Republicans are just terrified of him.

    July 30, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  24. Thundercat

    Obama is all talk with no plan, no experience, and certainly no savior for the U.S. We don't need saving, we need strong leadership and Obama's only strong point is public speaking. Well whoopty doo!

    July 30, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  25. Braden

    Well, considering how they turned an everyday hand gesture made by millions and millions of American youth into a "terrorist fist jab", this is not suprising. Please, Senator Obama, don't try to counter this. It will only make it seem like a valid concern. When a reporter asks about it, just laugh.

    July 30, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
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