August 18th, 2008
05:30 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama tells supporter: 'You're wrong,' defends compromise


Watch Sen. Obama respond to veiled criticism from a supporter in New Mexico Monday.

(CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, took the opportunity Monday to answer many critiques leveled at him by his own supporters.

“As president, you set the agenda for this country,” Dallas Timmons, a local Democratic Party ward chair said to Obama in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Are you going to set an agenda of change or one of compromise with what the Republican minority is going to allow you to do in the Congress?“ Timmons asked Obama after specifically mentioning Obama’s support for a surveillance bill disliked by some of Obama left-of-center supporters.

“You’re feisty and I like that, but you’re wrong,” Obama responded to Timmons.

The Illinois senator gave Timmons and other supporters gathered at the New Mexico town hall event a detailed defense of his positions on Afghanistan and Iraq, on the compromise surveillance bill he recently supported, and on his approach to compromising with political adversaries more generally.

“Iraq was a fundamental error. I have never wavered from that. I have never wavered from the idea that we have to get our troops out of Iraq,” Obama told the crowd.

After explaining his vote on a compromise version of the surveillance bill, Obama told supporters, “I’m not going to be elected as monarch; I’m going to be elected as president. And, I’m going to have a Congress that’s I’ve got to deal with.”

“Even if we do well,” Obama continued, “there’s still gonna be almost half the country that votes for somebody else.”

“There’s nothing wrong with compromise as long as you understand what your core principles,” the presumptive Democratic nominee said. “And I will never waver from those principles even if I compromise on some issues.”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (185 Responses)
  1. Obama For President

    There is nothing wrong with compromising...we have for far too long dealt with presidents who stood steadfast and refused to give an inch, which has done nothing to push their agendas. We need a president who will listen to both sides and make decisions in the interest of Americans. Pig headedness will simply not work. McCain will only continue with the Bush dynasty. OBAMA CAN DO WHAT MCCAIN CAN'T AND WON'T DO.

    August 18, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  2. tcm

    He said she was wrong. She just asked a question, how could she be wrong? He's an idiot.

    August 18, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  3. Larry K.

    If Hillary had come out and said the same thing, none of the Hillary supporters would have found any faults with the statement.

    Same with McCain supporters.

    Point is, this isn't even newsworthy, much less something to debate over. His response was logical, truthful, and intelligent. If you find fault in it, either you are biased or dumb.

    Pick one. Either way, you should probably just be quiet.

    August 18, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  4. doug

    Any congress critter that votes a single cent for any thing is pro war. Obama is just as pro war as Bush or McCain or Hillary

    August 18, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  5. TN for Obama

    Moderator, the GOP can reach out and control CNN too????

    My, my.....I'm shocked they think they can control CNN like they do all the media. But then again, Ms. Brown seems to already be in their hands
    : – (

    Reverend said "he's in a cone of silence..." How sad the clergy are already telling lies for the GOP.

    August 18, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  6. John

    What the hell is wrong with some of you? sugar coated bs? "their foots already been shot and the bullet was Obama."

    I would love to see a single one of you say those things to his face instead of hiding behind your computer screens. Nothing you said was constructive. Nothing you said promotes anything but hostility and hate.

    This country is going down the toilet and all you can do is sucker punch the one candidate who is a vehicle for change. Sure. Vote McCain because you're bitter Hillary lost! Get over it! You're as hypocritcal as the candidate you claim to support.

    August 18, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  7. wilfred

    B.O. 's core principle is to get elected at all costs , He must of went to the Clinton school of BS .

    August 18, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  8. gaytexanexiled

    When Obama is ready to take on the megachurches' taxfree statuses, and when he's ready to take on big business and big banks who hold defacto ownership of America's citizens homes, and stop the exploitation of the working man by outsourcing to the cheapest bidders abroad rather than going for the better quality made locally, and when he's ready to advocate profit-sharing at work for each and every American worker, and when he truly understands that separation of church and state mean precisely that....then we'll see progress again in the USA.
    Give each man the right to own a place to call home lifelong that neither bank, nor tax collector, nor heavy bullies can seize, and then we'll have strong families again. Pay all workers their share of each companies' profits, and severely restrict stock market derivatives profiteering in the greatest casino game of all time, and then each family can live frugally, but sustainably and well. Then parents will have real time for family life again, and the snake oil salesmen won't be needed.
    I've got a compromise. Dump all politicians and practice local production and consumption, that'd save heaps of wasted fuels moving things afar that are needed close at hand.
    Give back to America but trust yourselves again and help one another, not the banks. Ever notice that in Henry Ford's day's a worker got $5 per day for 8 hours work, but he could buy one of his cars for $200 and build a house without banks at all for $1000. How come today everyone just pays pays pays and so many work work work and end up with nothing?
    best wishes America,

    August 18, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  9. Cecil


    Who's Been Running The Stupid and bous Attack Ads, over and over!
    Sen. McCain Can't Stand The Truth.

    If You Don't Like Sen. Obama Policies, That's Ok.

    The Republican party has a very Nasty History That They Shouldn't Be Proud Of, But They Are.

    They Continue To Lie, Cheat, Tear Down, Divide.
    That's Why This Party Hasn't Grown. Still 95% White People Supported

    August 18, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  10. PGC

    Someone confident enough to say exactly what he thinks without worrying about ruffling the feathers of potential voters? Say, maybe I should rethink this whole campaign. One person talks straight and the other says what he thinks people want to hear. Hmmm.

    August 18, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  11. None of the Above 08

    Compromise is a necessity in a government like ours. It has always occurred. And will always occur. That is just how things get done.

    Both Clinton and McCain have reached across the aisle numerous times in their political lives.

    Obama saying he will compromise is not the same as action proving the same.

    But then this is the Messiah here and his words are more than "just words", right?

    August 18, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  12. A-Sun Truth

    "Obama is just as much a politician as every other."

    Nolan...when have you ever heard a political candidate speak of compromise.

    Have you ever compromised with a person you loved? I really hope so.

    August 18, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  13. Andrew

    Obama could tell his supporters they are mindless idiots and they'd say, "Oh you know what, i think he's kind of right. We are.." I suppose it is good to compromise; albeit they have already compromised their intelligence by voting for such a silver tongue. Oh well.

    August 18, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  14. NYminute52

    Obama worked the primary crowds telling them exactly what they wanted to hear. Now, with the nomination in hand, he has and will continue to change his mind faster and more often than he changes his underwear. Can anyone say Jimmy Carter? Another president who was going to change the country.........right. Truth is, there is much, much more to politics and the way Washington works than most even know. Change isn't a word that's very popular and it can take YEARS to make any that are substantial. He won't change much, that is, IF he actually wins the White House!

    August 18, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  15. Patrick

    He is losing his most ardent supporters!


    August 18, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  16. Barack O'Blah Blah

    Barack has a lot of sound bytes and stump speech gotcha's but when you peel it all the way – he is nothing more than a lip syncer uttering the words written by others. The junior senator has no substance and no experience that qualifies him to be president

    August 18, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  17. Phyllis

    Similiar to hilodave, I got it as well. What a good description of Obama , " If you are to the right of Obama time to take the blinders off and realize that finally their is a candidate who is more forthright and less scripted and less controlled by special interests for the first time in 30 years."

    August 18, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  18. will nyc

    Hey RJ,,, that book of lies you recommend would make good toilet wipe.

    August 18, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  19. Irene

    I have yet to hear what GOOD "changes" Obama plans on making and I am an educated woman keeping up with the news. I've heard alot of talk, but that's all it is. What makes him qualified to be our President? He may be young with a good voice and make people "feel" like he's giving them hope. Lots of good sounding, well intentioned people claim to know what is good for another. But what real, solid facts has he presented to the American people to show us that he has accomplished good policies of any kind? What real experience does he have? Forget the divide of Democrats, Republicans, Independants -forget how he answers people's questions – get past the words that can come out of anyone's mouth – what has Obama accomplished in the past to show Americans he is the best chioce for President??

    August 18, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  20. Doesn't like Kool-aid

    Straight talker? He couldn't speak real well when he didn't have a telemprompter or soft-ball questions thrown his way the other night...hahaha. Ya, he's real smooth!!!
    I like how all you Obamaphiles call McCain a murderer and warmonger when Obama signed a bill that allowed for babies who were born to be killed!!!!
    Go ahead CNN, I know you won't post this.

    August 18, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  21. Heather

    Yes, what are your core principles Obama?

    I thought the enviroment was a core principle? Your back peddling on that. I thought being against spying on Americans was your core principle. Your back peddling on that. I thought Campaign Fianinace reform was your core principle. You back peddled on that too.

    So yes! Please do tell us all what your core principles are! I would love to see them!

    August 18, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  22. pekopper

    I think the best thing to do is elect Progressives to Congress at every opportunity. Barack will follow the will of the "people" then. I hope.

    Vote Progressive and nominate Caroline Kennedy as VP.

    Paul in Cleveland

    August 18, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  23. Rick from Pa

    Don't forget Reverend Wright:
    I can no longer leave Reverend Wright than I could leave the black community.

    August 18, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  24. poggi11

    Someone please ask him what he would do if Iraq slides back into chaos. Would he keep his definitive promise to pull out of Iraq and leave that country to rot? Or, would he roll back on his "core principle" thing and compromise as any would-be leader in the White House would likely do? At the end of the day, pragmatism defines the moment and big promises are simply all about getting elected.

    August 18, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  25. Cindy

    He's saying he doesn't mind discourse, he doesn't want a sheep constituency. Question, challenge him. And, he's not going to back down and pander either.

    All the candidates get questions from disengenuous audiences... even Chelsea got them. She didn't let them take over the convesation, she answered back. Obama does the same, and with respect... without backing off of his position. Is that not what you want from a president? Bravo, Mr. President.

    August 18, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
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