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. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Great come back, Barack. 22 months and still no one has produced a compelling reason to vote for John McCain. No plan, no ideas, no clue = No Way, No How, No McCain

    September 4, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  2. Blunt Trauma

    Don't sweat it Barack. Whatever they call you, on January 20th, it will have to be preceeded by President ______ Obama.

    September 4, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  3. Ex-Democrat in Texas

    By the way, people in my church donated money to McCain already. The only thing they did not do is bragging like Obamites did!

    September 4, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  4. Sammy

    Great line.

    September 4, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  5. Jackie

    What a difference...after listening to all the idiotic and negative junk from republicans it was great to hear from Obama again. He gives me so much hope for America.

    Obama / Biden '08!!!!

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

    Palin simply reminding us that she is an elitist.

    September 4, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  7. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    All I know is that the Obama headquarters in St. Paul were bombarded by people telephoning and coming in, some to simply make an unsolicited donation. Most commented on the Palin speech. . .and not positively.

    September 4, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  8. George

    The 3 main Networks are so biased to the dems it's almost funny.
    The Dems screwed up by not picking Hillary. Now the Clinton's see the truth about the liberals. They gave their life's to work for the democratic party, and now have been dropped like an old has been', and now you liberals that are supposed to be so caring, and loving, are turning your back on a a liberal Republican, that has chosen a women with a disabled baby, and you still stick to your politics.

    September 4, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  9. Biffington, Biff

    NEED TO START A CLOCK TICKING OFF HOW LONG IT HAS BEEN SINCE SHE WAS ANNOUNCED UNTIL SHE HAS HER FIRST PRESS CONFERENCE....

    September 4, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  10. ANAG LOS ANGELES, CA

    i love this guy.

    September 4, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  11. wow woman

    OBAMA needs to say stuff like this....

    Woman/PUMAs for OBAMA

    September 4, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  12. Frightened to Death Over Palin

    The Republicans continue to represent the very same ideology that has created the messes we have now. In fact, McCain/Palin are farther to the right than Bush/Cheney.

    If you want more of the same, they're it.

    What I see is a party that is mean and divisive, not a party ready to address issues.

    Enough! I want no more of this kind of leadership – or lack thereof.

    September 4, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  13. Jean

    Obama is now trying to make anyone out there who is naive believe that he is insulted because the republicans went after his "experience" as a Community Organizer?? HUH – is he kidding? He belittles Governor Palin's experience as the Mayor of a small town as if that counts for nothing but when he's called out on his experience as a "Community Organizer" (which is laughable to use as experience that qualifies you for the office of the President of the United States) he's insulted, this guy just doesn't get it in so many ways – it has been a long time since I have seen a politician so disengenuous and simply naive.

    Goodness, I could not be more frightened of an Obama presidency, luckily I have every confidence that McCain/Palin will win as Americans are not nearly as naive as Senator Obama is.

    September 4, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  14. kjb

    Palin's jab at Obama is being taken wrong. She was not belittling community organizers-She was saying that being a community organizer does not qualify you to be president. At least she has experience as a governor. What experience does Obama have? We all need to look deeply into the records of all the canidates. We need to base our final vote on who is the best man for the job? Who is more qualified? Not just vote for Obama because he is black, nor for McCain just because he is white–but look at who is more qualified to run our country.

    September 4, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  15. Portia, WA

    McCain has a bimbo wife, and now a bimbo VP–wonderful. Let's face it, he's not that great at picking women. He left his first wife and kids, had an affair with a beer beauty queen named Cindy Lou, and picked a cheereleader for VP, who won't breathe until he tells her to. Way to go America.

    BTW, we won't hear the real story from Cindy Lou tonight, how she stole drugs and had an affair with a married man. That story is not ready for prime time.

    September 4, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  16. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    What else we do not know about her!

    September 4, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  17. Katherine Dorset

    As a former community organizer, I took great offense to Palin's belittling this position. It is position that pays very little and those of us who do it tend to be well-educated and choose helping others instead of lining our own pockets. I expected someone like Rudi to belittle organizers. However, as this was my first impression of Ms. Palin, I can only say she she definitely alienated me. I still haven't heard on the networks where she went to college–I heard she went because "her husband waited for her..." but I would be interested in the details. Was she a good student? If she has a degree, what is it in? If she might be the leader of our country, I would like to know more than she is a member of the NRA, she's a hockey mom and/or that she wears lipstick. Has she ever held a private job before she became a Mayor? If so, who was the employer. These are the kinds of things I want to see on a VP resume. But, hey maybe I am just unique....

    September 4, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  18. FVB

    Gov. Palin can run, but she can not hide from answering the serious questions on the important issues. Palin has not conducted 1 serious interview (People Magazine only...no offense intended) since she has been tapped. Why? I think we are going to learn a great deal about her depth after she emerges from the protective McCain bubble and sits down with serious journalists on shows like Meet the Press and This Week. She is very divisive and came across as polarizing and negative. I am an Independant who has just moved firmly into the obama column. Bottom line: America can not move forward as a nation with politicians like Palin who rely on drawing the line between Americans.

    September 4, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  19. Debbie Joyner

    Keep blocking negative comments CNN – it just underscores my point – you're so biased you can't even let through legitimate well thought out criticism – I have never posted a profanity, innuendo or down right falsehoods (many of which you let through when they support your man BO) I have of course noticed that when I use actual FACTS to support where you've misled your readers – the use of the belittling comment in this article for example versus your coverage of the Obama camp's belittling of Governor Palin's record) I am of course moderated.

    September 4, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  20. Undecided women voter

    good for obama!! Palin shouldn't be treated differently because she's a women !

    September 4, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  21. KATHLEEN

    PLEASE, MY FRIENDS. DON'T BUY INTO THIS GARBAGE.

    MCCAIN COULD CARE LESS ABOUT THE GOOD AMERICAN
    WORKER.

    HE VOTED AGAINST MINIMUM WAGE 9 TIMES!!!! WAL MART JOBS WILL BE THE ONLY JOBS AVAILABLE TO US.

    McCain wants to "end" entitlements. That S.S., unemployment,
    MECICARE, HEALTHCARE. AND ALL HELP FROM THE GOVERNMENT. THAT IS WHAT THEY MEAN WHEN THEY
    SAY "NO BIG GOVERNMENT.

    YES, MIKE HUCKELBEE, AND RON PAUL TOO. THEY WILL
    FOOL YOU!!!!

    This man is a skrewball along with distainfully idiotic Fred Thompson,
    Mitt Romney,Guiliani, Huckelbuck, Bush, Cheney. THEY DO NOT CARE
    ABOUT YOU. THEY CARE ABOUT THEMSELVES!!!!!

    September 4, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  22. Peter of Oregon

    Obama's right, and the truth cuts deep, real deep! CNN report on the truth and do not let the Republicans intimidate you or threathen you!

    September 4, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  23. Tully

    When Obama is elected and taxing the hell out of americans then we will be calling him a lot worse!

    September 4, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  24. Nija

    McCain/Barbie Palin do no have anything to offer to the American people

    September 4, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  25. David, Silver Spring, MD

    I have to say Obama has comported himself with much more dignity than either McCain or Palin.

    Obama has said pretty emphatically that families are "off limits," and yet Palin has today criticized him for attacking her family. I think she figures that if no one checks up on what she says, she can get away with it.

    I think it's time to have a careful, knowledgeable, committed adult in the White House.

    Obama 08.

    September 4, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
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