September 4th, 2008
05:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama: 'I've been called worse on the basketball court'

Sen. Obama spoke with reporters Thursday about attacks leveled against at the GOP convention.

Sen. Obama spoke with reporters Thursday about attacks leveled against at the GOP convention.

YORK, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Barack Obama said Thursday that attacks on him at this week’s Republican National Convention were no big deal: “I’ve been called worse on the basketball court,” he told reporters at an afternoon press conference.

“What did you guys expect?” he asked, smiling, “This is what they do. They don't have an agenda to run on. They haven't offered a single concrete idea so far in two nights about how they would make the lives of middle class Americans better. They've spent the entire two nights attacking me or extolling John McCain's biography, which is fine. They can use their convention time any way they want.”

Watch: "I've been called worse," says Obama

Wednesday night on stage in St. Paul, both Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani belittled Obama’s work as a community organizer in Chicago in the 80s. Obama called the reaction “curious,” as if he were trying to jump from a post-college job to the presidency.

“The question I have for them is that why would that kind of work be ridiculous? Who are they fighting for?” he said. “I think maybe that's the problem – that's part of why they're out of touch and they don't get it because they haven’t spent much time working on behalf of those folks.”

Obama dismissed accusations from Republicans that comments and reports from Democrats and the media about Palin are sexist, saying that digging into her record can only be expected.

“I assume that she wants to be treated the same way that guys want to be treated, which means that their records are under scrutiny. I've been through this for 19 months. She's been through it, what, four days so far?”

But Obama isn’t treating Palin the same way he is McCain — he’s not going after her with nearly the same ferocity. Since the Alaska governor was tapped to be McCain’s running mate, Obama has only mentioned her twice in speeches - and only to criticize her for supporting McCain’s position on equal pay for women.

“I’m running against John McCain and as far as I can tell, I don’t get a sense that Governor Palin has ideas that are different from John McCain’s,” said Obama.

So if the Republicans blows are glancing off of him, what’s he used to being called on the basketball court? “You’d have to bleep it out.”

soundoff (258 Responses)
  1. patrick

    Palin should be ashamed and disgraced at taking cheap shots a community organizers, who by the way im many cases do good things in lower income communities.

    So Mrs Palin, who is REALLY out of touch here??

    September 4, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  2. RyanT

    'Community Organizing' was what the RNC's Monday night hurricane theme was all about (last minute, of course).

    You know, pulling together resources and volunteers to help hurricane victims. Why hasn't anyone pointed out how they contradicted their own convention???

    September 4, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |

    "This is what they do," eh? Barack Obama and the Chicago gang don't have a clue how to deal with the choice of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate. Not that they were doing a great job deal with McCain beforehand. The McSame slogan is nonsense and got old fast.

    Oh, well...


    September 4, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  4. 'Real' Hockey Moms are for Obama

    How cool this guy is! I'm glad Obama and Biden have taken the high road the whole time over all of the GOP dirt. Just goes to show why the GOP is a dying party. RIP GOP!

    September 4, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  5. wambui jr

    Yeah, it's funny how both the Democratic and Republican national convention are all about Obama.

    September 4, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  6. Debbie Joyner

    When Sara Palin contrasts her experience as mayor with Obama's as a community organizer she's "belittling" But when Obama was belittling her experience as mayor and GOVERNOR OF ALASKA it's "digging into her record" I call BS!!!!!! If CNN a "neutral" news organization didn't call the Obama camps response to her "belittling!!!!" then they should be ashamed of using this terminology today. How many news reports started with the "ex-beauty queen" well why weren't there any news reports on the "ex-drug user Obama????"

    September 4, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  7. No Way, No How, NObama

    Maybe he ought to stay on the basketball court and quit trying to act like the new messiah.

    McCain/Palin '08!!!

    September 4, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  8. mel from Ohio

    Her divisive, shrill, nasty remarks have only shown what a non-Christian she is. Real Christians don't slam people in such a nasty way...but I forgot, she's the Christian who thinks God wants us over in Iraq destroying their country and killing innocent women and children. God help us all!!

    September 4, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  9. Al

    Republicans want small government meaning they expect people to work unpaid as community organizers and such, but when someone does this, they belittle them saying they aren't doing "real" work.

    They also extoll women as mothers but turn around and say it's not a real job.

    September 4, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  10. Get a Grip

    At least he still speaks to the press.
    McCain and his new running mate run the other way from those meanies (the press) who "pick on them"
    I guess asking them what they plan to do to help our country and what qualification they have to do so is being rude, sexist and picking on her.

    September 4, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  11. Fazio

    This truly demonstrates character here..... After such barrage of criticism from the prominent Republican speakers, Barack Obama refuses to stoop to their low level and reciprocate with the vile and vitriol that Palin and Guilliani have unleashed.

    This shows integrity, honor and noble character from Barack Obama. I have more respect for him each day... I hope America can see this – we need him.

    September 4, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  12. Real Change

    Last night was little discouraging, but then as soon as hear Barack Obama, I'm fully back....YES WE CAN!

    Is it just me or have the speeched from Saint Paul sounded more like good-ole Karl Rove than change? Obama's exactly right, not one word about policy or proposals, just the same ole nasty, red meat, Republican politics that we all want to change.

    September 4, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  13. Krissy

    His judgement is always so sound, even under pressure. His policy ideas are brilliant, and I look forward to voting for him!

    If the Republicans were right on the issues, they would be talking about them! McCain's plan for our economy is just to continue what they are already doing.

    September 4, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. Bill Spizzirri

    McCain's selection of Palin is an insult to the intellegence of the American public. Is there any doubt, regardless of what the republicans say, that she was picked because they were desperate to get the Hillary vote? They were hoping that people would blindly vote based on gender only – that's insulting. By the way, it also exposes the republicans own feeling about their chances and their platform, both are empty.

    September 4, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  15. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    What is her record on every issue! We have the right to know to decide!

    September 4, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  16. Big D

    Obama is so calm and cool and mature ... especially in comparison to the spitefulness of Palin and Guiliani at the RNC last night. McCain comes across as either crabby, boring, confused, or smarmy, or some combination. But Obama is generally thoughtful and respectful. I'm so impressed with how he's managed to keep to the high road, when he's attacked on every side (sometimes appropriately, but usually inappropriately). He consistently shows strength and leadership qualities. His speech at the DNC last week as light year's ahead of Palin's divisive screed last night. Let's see if McCain can get himself off the RNC's low road tonight.

    September 4, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  17. Ali


    McCain/Palin 08

    September 4, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  18. Cindy from NC

    OMG... That is why I love this man and can't wait for him to be the next president. He is not falling in their tit for tat trap. He is sticking to the issues that the ALL AMERICAN people want to hear.

    That may have worked in 200/2004 BUT NOT ANY MORE....

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08/12

    September 4, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  19. zina

    This is a good man, folks.

    Thanks for taking it in stride, Barack.

    September 4, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  20. Brown

    who does good for the community should not be mocked. Good idea Sarah – hide from the media so you don't have to face any questions. I'm sure the questiosn would be "sexist" anyway. The GOP has turned into a joke. I'm glad I'm done with them.

    September 4, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  21. Marilyn, Powell, OH

    Palin won't take questions from reporters on the trail. Why? She probably could not answer anything of importance to the American people.

    September 4, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  22. Jay

    Obama is 100% correct! Keep it up O.

    September 4, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  23. Truth Hurts from Liberty Island ; )

    O0oh! TOUCHé!

    gO DEMS

    September 4, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  24. jhyslop

    Obama only talks to the press because he is a "celebrity". haha. Looks like McCain is going to do another nose dive.

    September 4, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  25. Maggie

    You're right – The mccain camp just doesn't get it.

    September 4, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
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