September 4th, 2008
05:00 PM ET
6 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. Defining moment

    Disgusting hate-mongering speeches by the RNC all the way around. No solutions, no mention of the issues that matter to the American people.

    I have donated to Obama/Biden's campaign and will keep donating. We are taking our country back from these lunatics. God forbid McCain/Palin ever get less than a million miles from 1600 Pennsyvania Avenue. And you thought GW/DC were the worst in the history of this Nation.

    September 4, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  2. Oregon

    Choosing to be a community organizer rather than to be yet another greedy money grubber right out of college is an ADMIRABLE and HONORABLE quality worthy of praise and respect. Barack put the people of southside Chicago before his own interests. The people that spoke at the convention last night can't comprehend this because they themselves have never done it, so they poke fun.

    Well, guess what Rudy, Mittens and Alaska Barbie?

    Commuity organizing is what will elect Barack Obama the next president of ther United States!!!!!!!!!

    $10 MILLION BEFORE MCSAME SPEAKS TONIGHT!!!!! YES WE CAN!!!!!!

    September 4, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  3. I was against barak before I am for him

    I agree 100% Ex Republican

    September 4, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  4. Patti Zimmerman

    Not only did the Democrats unite under Barack Obama, but as a former Hillary supporter I heard specifics from Obama on how he will address the key issues facing the next President.

    What are the Republicans doing? Certainly not addressing how they plan to fix the mess they have created over the past eight years. With his first 'Presidential' decision, that is, choosing his vice presidential candidate, he has shown how reckless a maverick can be as the leader of the free world. This person cannot even manage her own family much less deal with the realities of the position. Who is going to care for her Down Syndrome baby, in itself a full time job for life. I don't want another Presidential team that thumbs their nose at anyone who does not agree with their agenda.

    September 4, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  5. Chris

    "No Way, No How, NObama September 4th, 2008 6:03 pm ET

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

    McCain/Palin '08!!!"

    ^Most racist comment i've ever heard...

    September 4, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  6. FlaDem

    Obama Rocks! He is not getting rattled by the petty remarks from the pit bull mom. Good for him!

    September 4, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  7. mike

    you get the best take on Palin from Comedy Central. CNN should follow John Stewarts lead. He showed the video of Karl Rove before the Joe Biden was named, belittling a possible democratic VP candidate who had only been mayor of a small city (200,000 people), governor of a small state (only 3,000,000 people) and few years of political experience.
    Then showed Rove explaining how "wonderful" Palin was for being mayor of a small city (9,000 people) and a large state (600,000 people) and 2 years as governor.
    Our country was fooled 8 years ago with little bush, now we are being caned by more little republicans. Lets not be stupid again.
    Save the country. Put Obama/Biden in charge.

    September 4, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  8. RAIDER NATION FOR OBAMA

    ONE WORD FOR THE REPUBLICANS ...
    K.A.R.M.A. !!!!
    THIS WILL BACKFIRE BIG TIME WATCH !!!

    September 4, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  9. Lynne to Collette

    I also THANK YOU and I hope OBAMA will receive what you wrote as well as the Republicans so MAYBE? they will give themselves something worthy to think about and vote FOR!!

    Changing is a Trip and Hope is the Inspiration.

    September 4, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  10. OBAMA&BIDEN 2008

    Keep ignoring Palin, Sen. Obama, she is No threat, she has No solutions, she "Doesn't Get It", ignore her as if she doesn't exist, take away her power.

    September 4, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  11. Cynthia

    I'm very glad and should have known that he is a professional and level headed person who would let it just roll off his back. Let your supporters do the talking with their financial support and on the blogs – we got yours and Biden's back.

    September 4, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  12. Dori in AZ

    Community organizers unite!

    Last night, Sarah Palin promised families of special needs children that she would be their advocate.

    During her first 20 months as Alaska's governor, Palin has CUT the budget for special needs children by 62%!!!

    With advocates like that, who needs enemies?

    September 4, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  13. Sun-angel

    One Nation one World.....Goooo our Modern Ghandi of the world.....Go Obamaa gooooo...You will defeat them with loyalty to your people , high integrity, honesty and sincerity......A good leader don't talk too much....a good leader do and say effective things......just sssssssst ....and keep doing your thing and keep motivating and inspiring people... God is behind you and also the whole world.......

    WHOLE world for OBAMA
    Your victory is in our prayers!

    I just gave my donation too (130.000 +1+1) LOL

    Greetings from the Caribbean :o)

    September 4, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  14. Honeybee58

    I'm quite sure Obama's been called worse on the basketball court and for good reason. Did he try to buy those games as he's trying to buy the presidency? (Although Oprah is helping a lot with his attempted political purchase.) Every time we hear something good about/from the Republicans, Obama's people talk about how much money they're raising. Is money all Democrats consider important? Apparently so. Well, if that's true, they picked the right "community organizer." He appears to have his hands in all kinds of pockets all the time.

    September 4, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  15. Obama/Biden

    Let us see how much more money we will raise after the Mr. McCain's speech..

    Bring it on – Obama/Bedin skin is thick!

    September 4, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  16. stacy

    Obama is a joke to mankind period.

    September 4, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  17. Ann

    So much for supporting a so-called "moderate Republican" (one year ago was considering voting for McCain).

    In the last week I have realized that the McCain/Palin ticket are very far right, and do not represent the majority of voters.

    Americans are tired of the nasty PR tactics of Bush/Cheney administration. Unfortunatly for John McCain he is no longer able to run on his character because he sold out to the advisors who are turning things ugly.

    While I do think Obama overly polulist, at least his campaign is transparent–he is running based on issues that are important to the majority of Americans and he isn't caught up in dirty tricks, and media manipulation.

    September 4, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  18. Ann

    So much for supporting a so-called "moderate Republican" (one year ago was considering voting for McCain).

    In the last week I have realized that the McCain/Palin ticket are very far right, and do not represent the majority of voters.

    Americans are tired of the nasty PR tactics of Bush/Cheney administration. Unfortunatly for John McCain he is no longer able to run on his character because he sold out to the advisors who are turning things ugly.

    While I do think Obama is overly populist, at least his campaign is transparent–he is running based on issues that are important to the majority of Americans and he isn't caught up in dirty tricks, and media manipulation.

    September 4, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  19. Don

    Last night Palin and Rudy demonstrated that people (just like sharks) can go into a feeding frenzy. I saw nothing but the same thing I have seen from the Bush administration. Lies, deceit, and hate mongering. Last night was about nothing but hate. I kept expecting to see saliva start slinging from the mouths of both speakers as they acted more like pit bulls than humans.

    Time for Palin to face the media without a team of advisors and speech witers there to protect her, and I don't mean a scripted interview in George W's living room.

    September 4, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  20. Joe, Chicago

    Well said, Senator Obama. In the same statement he also said that he was running against Senator McCan't and not Governor Palin and so did not have to respond to her obvious attempts to bait him. It's refreshing to see a Christian act like a Christian and not just pimping their religion like the Republican's have done. I guess "community organizing" isn't a big deal to Palin because it involves "those people", you know, the one's that are conspicuously missing from the Republican Convention.

    September 4, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  21. Irene Newlon

    I am puzzled and disappointed that everyone, including the media) seems to think Palin gave a great speech. What I saw was a sarcastic and arragant person. She is a self -proclaimed "pitbull with lipstick". There will be no bi-partisanship on crutial issues with this attitude if they are in office.

    September 4, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  22. Jeff an Independent

    That's why I love this guy! Strength of character, strength of leadership.

    September 4, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  23. Rin

    "But Obama isn’t treating Palin the same way he is McCain — he’s not going after her with nearly the same ferocity. "

    This is the stupidest example I have ever seen...

    HE'S RUNNING AGAINST MCCAIN! NOT PALIN!!

    The GOP has no faith in their candidate, so it's trying to center this election around Palin, and you twits are going for it. This is not about Palin, this is about the issues and the presidential candidates. What we are seeing here are the same 'divide and conquer,' culture based identity politics we saw back in '04. For God sakes, America, don't fall for it.

    September 4, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  24. Sally from Cali

    Sarah lied last night. God did not tell Sarah to lie. McShame did.

    Sarah is not a Christian. She is an opportunist.

    September 4, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  25. judy, Wisconsin

    Calm, cool, collected-just the change we need!

    September 4, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
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