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. Douglas, Los Angeles California

    Obama, you are a very bright, intelligent, and thoughtful man. You've got my vote and let's change this country for the better.

    September 4, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  2. lynda

    After reviewing the biography of John McCain done on CNN "Revealed". If you watch carefully, you will see that he is an manipulater in all he has done in his earlier years. He has always managed to twisted things to make his situation accomendating for him. American Leader HE IS NOT!

    September 4, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  3. John

    You just did brag.... FYI>

    Ex-Democrat in Texas September 4th, 2008 6:16 pm ET
    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 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  4. ajoshua

    I am lost for words when it come to this whole Sarah Palin story. I think that the Republican are smart but dump at the same time. They are smart by using a mom with five kids one with down syndrome and the other with a 17 year old pregnant daughter. First I have to say that being a mother you can not contol your 17 year old at all time but, me as a mom of 3, I would have never put my daughter out like that. Now it is like this young man is doom to marry this girl. If you read his my space page it let you know that he is not happy with kids and do not want them. But, considering that little miss palin mom did not believe in birth control for her child, and who was out her having unprotected sex, and God know what else she was doing going by her website. Her mom have put her in harm way. Now the down syndrome child I would never take a high profile job of this statue with a special child, this is not cute or funny, this is a special case and this child need special care, from his mom. Not from a Nanny or a sister, or brother, but from his mom and dad. Also the Republican had to choose this women after Obama speech considering that she would be the only one who could go on national television and bash Obama, Biden,Michelle and the Media without any one really holding her responsible consider she is a women with a family and a special need child. The Democrates will be crazy to bash the women it will make them look foolish, no matter what she say about them. This will all come out in the wash later before election. Sarah Palin need to watch what she say and how she say it. She did not speak of the economy or health care nothing get reall people.

    September 4, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  5. Margaret

    I don't think there is any worse than to be called 'uncapable' to command a country. Obama must stop and smell the roses...he needs experience , period.

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

    Well according to her speech she has more experience then McCain too. They say that Obama hasn't run anything, but she is a governor so she has? Well then McCain hasn't run anything either. He was never mayor, he was never a governor, so I guess Palin was attacking John McCain in her speech too. She is horrible. Obama worked hard for the people of Chicago. I think that is a lot of responsiblity, trying to help those people who needed so much. Great Job Obama! Obama/Biden 2008

    September 4, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  7. Herman In LA

    That's ok Barack the people in Iowa think your just great and they are all white 95% to be exact. Keep doing what your doing taking the high road.

    September 4, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  8. Richard

    ERA? Equal rights for women or just in certain situations? Let's remember that, it was McCain who said, Chelsea Clinton is an ugly girl, because her real father is Janet Reno. But now for the Republicans it's hands off. And I agree it should be hands off. Hands off our country for the Repukes, as we can not afford them any longer.

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

    I am thrilled that the appropriate response to last night's smug, sarcastic driven tirades is happening. Direct the anger and concern over McCain's choice for VP to donating to the Obama camp and, if you don't have the money, volunteer some time in the community. If you don't have the time for anything more than a quick blog response, spread the word. Cheers to the Obama/ Biden supporters! Drown out this divisive nonsense that is at the top of the RNC agenda.

    September 4, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  10. sharon

    By the way Presidential Candiadate Obama runs with the real issue not minding their tactics. GOP what a waste of time and money! Really thet do not have an agenda thus they bring a pupet and try to divert the real agenda like the economy and the changde that the country needs. I admire what Sentor Obama said that he is running against MCSAME not with the speech actress/ model. Plus she has to firrst answer to the judges that will see her power abuse scandal first. JUstice if GOP trying to silence the head of the police in ALAska whom she fired we will SHOUT POWER ABUSE AND SCANDAL. First she has to stand trail before she is given any post at all. "she just delivered it. While her delivery was laudable, she was merely a shell — a puppet for the GOP. I am tired of negativity. Going negative repels me — I have taught my children to take the high ground and my candidate exemplifies this behavior. Do not be misled — this is "smoke and mirrors" that only reflects more of the same. Vote with me for change, diplomacy, and restored dignity. "Obama/Biden '08.

    September 4, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  11. Vincent, Tampa, FL

    This man is an honorable man who was brought up extremely well by his mother and grandparents. I am looking forward to him being our next US President.

    September 4, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  12. Not Swaying anymore!

    What a man, what a leader!

    September 4, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  13. john

    I am a liberal DEM. But I support Palin/McCain this time .

    Regarding the donation issue: I've donated $800 to the Hillary Campgaign previously. So I do not have anything for McCain.

    But ... I wil be sure to cast my vote for him. It's that simple.

    September 4, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  14. Lisa

    Lets face it,you are a sexist if you ask Palin a question, even if it is just , How are you today? Stay strong Obama don't let those GOP Puppets bother you. They just want to keep making more money for you, they are so kind. I am giving money while grandpa McCain is giving his put me to sleep speech tonight!!!!Obama/Biden 08

    September 4, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  15. Tan

    Barack Obama, WILL be our next president. Ole Mr. Cain-Lin, are just biding their exit time

    September 4, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  16. Rich

    Clever response indeed. I was puzzled by the dismissal of community organizers in general, and especially that part of Obama's CV. That's honorable work for a man in his mid-20s to do before law school.

    September 4, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  17. Independent Thinker

    A Human Being for President

    September 4, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  18. Lori

    If I hear 1 republican scream "sexism"...I'll laugh my butt off! Did anyone notice the "Hottie VP" buttons...or was that just me?

    Last night was disgusting...and I am a for Obama/Biden!

    September 4, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  19. MK, Apex NC

    If Palin says that she knew that her youngest would have down syndrome yet brought her in this world, why did she get herself tested? It is not that anything she or her doctor could do after the test, that would have fixed the extra chromosome in the unborn.

    I suspect that Palin and/or her husband considered abortion when going in for the test but changed their mind later.

    September 4, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  20. Kaching

    Read her speech and see what she actually proposed. No thing. She propose no thing whatsoever. She said she's for smaller government, but what part of government is she going to reduce or eliminate? She says she's for lower taxes, but whose taxes will she cut? Exxon's? Halliburton's? T. Boone Pickens'? She says she wants the intrusive federal government out of our lives, but what intrusions is she referring to? Stop signs? Food purity regulations? Toy safety regulations?

    While everyone makes a big deal about her being a woman, what did she have to say about women? About children? About single moms? About education? About day care?

    She says she "stood up to big oil," but what oil company? How did she stand up to them?

    This lady is all bark and no bite.

    September 4, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  21. Fair Game?

    She did attack. But she didn't say he had a funny name, or needs to get them ears pinned, or that he's black. It's not about color, it's about character!

    She attacked his rhetoric and rightly so! He's so full of himself. I learned to day that his campaign financing is not going so well. I thought this showed his experience???!!!

    He needs to listen a bit better. In Jan 2009 the McCain/Palin energy plan will go into effect. How can a contender for the leader of the free world be so inept at listening and comprehending??

    Raising McCain!!!

    McCain/Palin 2008

    "Change is not a destination and hope is not a strategy!"

    September 4, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  22. tennisguypitt

    He's gracious. I respect that. He didn't pull out the race card.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 4, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  23. Dog Mom in MO

    They are digging up new dirt on Palin as we speak. McCain picked the wrong one.

    I am glad we are going to vote for somebody intelligent this time.

    Go Obama !!!!!!!!!!!!

    He actually wants to do something to help Americans and not just the wealthy.............

    September 4, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  24. Proud to be American

    McCain = Bush 3rd Term + WWIII

    The repugs are so out of touch .... they try to dictate our thoughts and feelings... and use fear to push their agenda .... No way, No how, No McCain..... EVER!

    Obama and Biden is for America all 100% of us..... not just the few, the rich, and the out of touch....

    Just say no to the reversal of Roe vs. Wade = McCain Agenda + WWIII

    Stick to the issues America and you will do the right thing.... Change you can grasp!

    Obama and Biden 2008

    September 4, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  25. David in Naperville, IL

    Who knew the real Obama bounce would come during the RNC.

    September 4, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
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