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

Republicans seize on Obama comments to House Democrats

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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. William Huggins

    Republican speak:
    Arrogant = uppity black
    We'll see if their hate speech works this time.

    July 30, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  2. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Obama has the ability to transform the way Washington does business.

    Isn't that what she said she had two years ago? Look at how that worked out.

    "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.

    Didn't happen when she promised that the first time. BTW congress makes laws not presidents, so what she is talking about has nothing to do with Obama.

    July 30, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  3. Sharon

    I am African American and liberal. I wanted to point out my background to show that I am not some right wing nut who just dislike Obama.

    If Obama loses this close election, this is the reason why. When I hear comments like this and see a "fake presidential seal", seeing him speak to 200k Germans it drives me crazy. This election is so much BIGGER than Obama, and him, his campaign and his supporters don't realize that. This election is about the American people. If you read the newspapers and see how much the American people are struggling, no one wants to hear about symbols and traditions. He is not the ONE. He was not born to be PRESIDENT. The American people can live and surive without him.

    What does this man believes in? What will keep him up at night? Is there anything regarding policy that he will fight for? His rhetoric is great but what is behind it?

    Obama and his supporters can be confident that he wins this election. Although he is leading in SOME polls, their is a reason he has not crack 50%. Comments like this will not help him at all.

    July 30, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  4. Irishspacemonk

    This is the moment we've all been waiting for. The other moment I'm waiting for is for McCain to check himself into the old folks home.

    July 30, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  5. ba

    it's always amazing how the republicans try to manipulate simple comments by twisting them into a tangled sliver of the original truth .... with big smiles on their faces they lie lie lie ... and they know it. i only hope it's as obvious to the country at large.

    July 30, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  6. James, Seattle

    "I'm the decider."

    Hmmm I would rather have the audacity of Hope than the audacity of Bush.
    At this time the Republican party owes the people this election.
    Yes I have been waiting for this time and so has the world if the Obama trip can be a gauge.

    July 30, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  7. Hildegarde Schildgen

    I don't know what surprises you. The republicans were never for the working people. they always considered themselves better than anyone else. Rich equals Republican. Democrats equal working men and women.

    I'm waiting until we can get bush and cheney out of the wh.

    GO OBAMA

    July 30, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  8. tim

    This guy has never had a real job, never done anything but shake down folks for cash and live off public money.
    I don't understand how any man who has worked a real job to
    support himself and his family could vote for this useless windbag.

    July 30, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  9. SaveTheDramaFoObamasMama

    obama is a pompous, self serving idiot.

    July 30, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  10. Scot

    It's time for McCain and the Republicans to come up with a viable strategy against Obama, but they won't.
    It's getting pathetic and making this race too easy for Obama.

    July 30, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  11. Veteran in Kansas

    It is the moment that the world has been waiting and waiting for the past 7+ years. Someone that world leaders can talk to and share opinions and ideas, rather than a narrow minded, arrogant, individual who is capable of open conversation unless it mirrors what he has already made his mind up on.

    Just imagine the possibility of an American President, that regains the respect of other world leaders, though the simple process of open discussions and an "equal" exchange of ideas. It's a radical concept, my god do you realise the implications if other nations actually worked with us as willing partners, it's mind bending.

    July 30, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  12. Rick S

    Of course the republicans yanked it out of context- What Obama said was that while traveling he realized that this was not about him, but about people yearning for America to lead again- Way to go Republicans- Stick to the issues

    July 30, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  13. BGIV in NC

    IT IS THE MOMENT THE WORLD HAS BEEN WAITING FOR! WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME WE SAW EUROPEAN WAVING AMERICAN FLAGS?

    July 30, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  14. denny smith

    it is amazing that bama keeps saying it is not political motivation, if he feels that way why is he letting the media follow him around everywhere? This isn't even an election, its a railroaded backwords coup. Keep thinking one guy can change it all, just keep telling yourselves that. And,I'm not a right winger, but I sure don't believe bama is going to deliver on anything. Selling dreams in the forms of words defies realism, and the reality is that this is a machine he is stepping into with certain gears that will never be changed...he has half the country thinking he can walk in and shape it like play-dough and let it dry. True Leadership does not work that way in our government, it never has.

    July 30, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  15. Obama

    He is also arrogant if he thinks he can win without the Clinton Democrats. If Hillary is not the VP then I will vote for McCain.

    July 30, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  16. Ryan

    "This is the moment, as Nancy [Pelosi] noted, that the world has been waiting for.”

    It most certainly is not. Obama is just more of the same old politics as usual, he just knows how to cover it up with well-crafted speeches. Besides, just what exactly has he accomplished? Change, change, change, change, that's all that we ever hear coming out of his mouth. I haven't been able to find anything that he's done that would indicate that he's going to "change" Washington. I want to know, anything at all, of substance that he's actually done aside from inflate himself and put himself on a pedestal higher than anybody else in Washington. Now, I'm not saying that McCain is the answer, because he's not. I don't see either candidate as someone who is going to be able to change politics in Washington. We all lose no matter who is elected this November.

    July 30, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  17. Dee New Jersey

    Give me a break!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    All you hear from the McCain camp is negative talk about Obama.

    Last week every time he had a chance to take a shot he did. Now
    his camp is doing the same thing this week.

    I do have a question about McCain. Why is his wife always walking behind him. He never holds her hand. They were boarding an airplane the other day and he walked in front of her and went into the cabin first she followed after. It seems she is always following behind like a good little puppy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 30, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  18. Sick and Tired

    What is this, the Obama network. Wise up people. He is a socialist wolf in sheeps clothing. Pelosi and Crew have done nothing while in power. All he proposes is more of the same. Of course, he has been a "community organizer". And you mention Ted Stevens...can you say Ted Kennedy.

    July 30, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  19. DEBBY, NJ

    Obama is truly shaking up the Republican Party
    They will try to trounch on his every word
    BARACK OBAMA...WHO WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR...AMERICA GET IT RIGHT THIS TIME...BARACK THE VOTE !!!

    July 30, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  20. Martin

    How is this inflammatory? Obama is absolutely right.

    Sorry if the GOP is offended– I guess i'd be sensitive too if I had raked my nation's reputation and traditions of excellence and leadership through the mud for the past eight years.

    July 30, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  21. Monica, Texas

    It was also reported the the message has a different meaning when heard in full context.....I think the new Republican theme should be "...Chasing Obama" mean while what is McCain plans on the economy, gas, unemployment, affordable healthcare,?????

    July 30, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  22. Felice Judkins

    The Repubs are exhibiting stupidity. Wow! This borders on juvenile behavior. At least Obama understands that not only America needs a change and real leadership but the world is watching to see what the last super power is going to do to reverse the dismal failure of the current administration. i don't care if you are democrat, republican, independent or any other lable you want to use, we All HAVE TO ADMIT that we need a real change of direction for our nation and the world. I implore everyone to stop silly bickering and focus on what candidate is talking about the issues that will affect us, who is showing leadership and a grip on reality, who is motivating and getting people to be concerned about this great nation. It certainly is not the guy running who running a silly negative and childish campaign. The Repubs have become a cariccature of itself. It's sad and shameful.

    July 30, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  23. Advisor to Sen. McLost

    "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."

    That has got to be the most AUDACIOUS statement in the history of the universe. What a terrible idea! Please John McCain, save us from such revolutionary, heretical rhetoric!

    July 30, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  24. Vicki

    All you liberals are so happy that Obama keeps preaching to "change" Washington. But have any of you asked yourself what kind of change? The kind of changes he wants are NOT good for this country.

    1) Higher taxes
    2) Appeasing & kissing the rear ends of our enemies
    3) Socialized Medicine (ruining the BEST health care in the world)
    4) Getting rid of the Patriot Act & making it easier for terrorists to plot against us
    5) Appointing VERY liberal judges to the supreme court so we get more horrible decisions like the one last month giving rights to the TERRORISTS at Gitmo

    We don't need those kind of changes. What we need is someone to stop government wasteful spending like all those earmarks & lower taxes to put more money into the hands of the American people who will then put it back into our economy. Open up the health care system to the free market & let it work.

    More government intervention is NOT the answer. NO BAMA!!

    July 30, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  25. Lili, FL

    Arrogant! Where is the "Change"??? BO is the same old political roach!

    Shame on you Obama!

    July 30, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
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