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. ripped off democrat

    this coming from a guy who has no ideas at all. Instead he just spouts the word "Hope" incoherently between some lame talk about " are having a hard time. George Bush sucks. George Bush sucks." Bush Bush Bush. Hope Hope Hope. Vote Obama. Celebrity. That's all I hear and see.

    McCain 2008

    September 4, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  2. sloopd

    As someone from Iowa and a veteran of the U.S Army, after watching the speeches last night, a can't believe Obamas numbers aren't higher nationally. No wonder the rest of the world cringes at all the hate filled rhetoric. These are the people they want us to vote for to represent this country.

    September 4, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  3. Just a Mom

    Sen. Obama has the good sense to know he is running against Sen. McCain, not the unvetted surprise VP pick.

    September 4, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  4. Mike from Anchorage

    Folks, Alaska is littered with the bodies of politicians who underestimated Sarah Palin right until the shiv was sticking out of their back. She's nasty in a political fight.

    That being said:

    Jesus was a community organizer. Pilate was a governor. 😀

    September 4, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  5. Tom in MD

    Nice response, Barack. For a couple guys with no military experience to brag about, Barack and Joe are holding the moral high ground admirably well.

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

    > Not that they were doing a great job deal with McCain beforehand.

    Hey bunky, you may want to read a paper or look up some poll numbers sometime.

    September 4, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  7. Mack

    I just donated 100 to the Obama campaign, nice condesending devisive speech from this gimmick pick. Sara Palin you are no Hillary Clinton. What Is your partie's plan on helping real americans save there homes.

    September 4, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  8. Sue

    Obama doesn't have the support of his entire party, many are voting for McCain or not voting at all.

    McCain has the support of the entire Republican base, even the ones who don't like him, and they LOVE Palin. She made a huge hit last night.

    That's why McCain will win in November.

    September 4, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  9. ED FL

    I wonder where the rest of the GOP perverts were last night. the main one I saw was Guilliani who is the lead GOP On infidelity and adultery. He was kicked out of the Mayors mansion for bringing playmates into his home while he had minor children there. they have to many to list or they are in jailor in Larry Craig's office at the minneapolis Airport. It appears the new addition to this group is from the wilds of alaska. It won't be long before the dirt comes out on her . To bad she is an improvement in the looks department for GOP women. She might even get the ritght wing Men to think about sex again.

    September 4, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  10. Mikey

    So what did they expect. That they were going to nominate this dangerously unqualified right wing extremist who lied from one end of her speech to the other and she was not going to be scrutinized?

    Did they not vet enough to learn that first dude belonged to a party that wanted to succeed from the US? That her daughter was pregnant and the son-in-law-to-be is a self described "F-ing redneck" who wants to "kick azz"? That she solicited a lot of earmarks, really was for the bridge to nowhere, kept the funds, and left her small town in debt?

    Extreme pro-life views, extreme NRA views, global warming denier, against equal pay for equal work, and creationism in school proponent. I guess she is different than McCain because she is out totally out of touch with the American mainstream on a completely different set of issues than McCain.

    September 4, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  11. Rich

    Ex-Dem, both campaigns routinely release fundraising information. Especially when they're doing well. Note that the McCain camp "bragged" about breaking their fundraising record in August just this week.

    September 4, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  12. collette

    After last night's speech by Sarah Palin I am sure how to vote. I believe Sen. Obama is genuine in his desire to unite our country. I'm tired of the Republican politics of divide and conquer. I like how the stadium in Denver looked with all races, all faces, all cultures... I WANT to be part of THE great melting pot. We are interesting. We are multi-cultural and stronger, more beautiful, more wise because of it... Sen Obama wants us to JOIN as ONE COUNTRY to solve our problems, help our citizens, protect our children, care for the elderly and fragile among us. I NO longer wish to feel separate from my neighbor due to political party. I WANT the UNITED States. The Republican attacks turn my stomach. Their "bully – on – the-Playground" tactics win elections - But these tactics do not unite, nurture, and grow a country.

    Even when I'm at home screaming at the television, "How can this uneducated, unqualified, yet highly likable woman be cherry-picked to be a heartbeat from the presidency??? What was McCain thinking? How unfair to America!!! How unfair to accomplished, intelligent, educated Republican Candidates who would have enriched the ticket- possibly the country!!! How SEXIST & GIMMICKY of McCain to choose someone that goes against his main argument of America is in danger and needs a foreign policy expert!! This choice is such an insult on so many levels!!!"

    Even when I'm home screaming... Barack Obama takes the high road responding to attacks with information instead of returning personal attacks. With all of my heart, I'm voting Obama-Biden. This country belongs to ALL of us. It's not a sports game where one team wins and one loses. I don't want HALF or this country to LOSE. I want us to JOIN together and make PROGRESS. I haven't heard that intention from McCain or Palin.

    September 4, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  13. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Obama is taking the right stance because he like millions of others expected the same from the Republicans. There was nothing new just more of the same and it just kept getting uglier, that's all.

    September 4, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  14. Linda Cralle from KC

    It just blows my mind how everyone was so taken with Palin. She's a pretty woman who READ A TELEPROMPTER! FYI, America isnt all small towns. We have issues facing our big cities everyday that need to be dealt with too. Maybe this week she'll have the opportunity to meet a black person on her trip to the states.

    September 4, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  15. Sherry, Atlanta are the best! Just what America needs. REPUBLICAN'S is what AMERICA DON'T NEED, OR WANT. We truly see why DYSFUNCTIONAL BEHAVIOR is so common!

    Obama/Biden '08-'12

    September 4, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  16. devon

    That's why Obama has my vote, right there. He actually makes sense when he speaks instead the usual spin that you get with almot all politicians, (including Biden, I think he is a politician to his very bones and not exempt from that comment just because he is running with Obama). His statements hit the nail right on the head.

    What kind of person would mind belittle community work???!!!

    It is one thing for the McSame party to suggest Obama has no experience, but to belittle community organization that helped thousands of people? Even if that kind of work would have not been successful (which it was, and very much so), How does a Human Being create a speech to suggest that kind of work is a negative thing? Worse, what does it say of our society when we have very large group of people out there that would buy into this message?

    September 4, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  17. voter

    Debbie Joyner

    As a woman, I am tired of other woman saying we can't ask questions to Palin because it is sexist. Well, she is running for vp. Why can't she be asked questions about her record like any other candidate? Isn't that what women have been fighting for, equality? the truth is Palin has no record. she is no maverick when a small town mayor left her town $20 million in debt, she took millions in earmarks, under investigation for abuse of power and supported the bridge to no where. There is serious questions that she has to answer. it is not sexist to ask it so stop playing the sympathy card. she is a grown up; she can take it.

    September 4, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  18. Stacy

    Sarah Palin just proved yesterday that she is quite comfortable lying to the American people about her record. Sarah Palin lied with a straight face, even knowing that most people are well aware of the truth that she actually supported the building of the "Bridge to Nowhere", and about her record of hiring lobbyists to lobby Washington for money. Isn;t she supposed to be against earmarks I guess that's just a bunch of talk.
    Sarah Palin claims she is against earmarks, BUT THE TRUTH IS, in the short tme she was governor (20 months), she requested earmarks totalling $750 million dollars from the federal government (the largest amount per-capita request in the nation).

    Sadly of all is that Sarah Palin claims that families with children with disabilities will have her as a champion in the White House, BUT the fact is in Alaska those same parents had NO champion in Sarah, who actually CUT by 60% funding to programs which helped children with disabilities in her state.
    Sarah Palin also CUT funding to programs which help HOMELESS pregnant teens, have a place to sleep while pregnant.
    Hypocrically, of all is that Sarah Palin boldly sites an ethics bill in Alaska, it seems she has forgotten that she herself is RIGHT NOW under investigation for ethics violation. Sarah Palin is ALREADY participating in the same type of behaviour that we have seen in the White House over the past 8 years, the coverups, and lies to try keep that behaviour, of ethics violation, from the public.

    September 4, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  19. bruja

    Christians: No family values, going to war fo god, killing animals as a sport and for fun, telling lies, banning books.....
    Is this a Christian? I did not know that. Maybe I should change religion....

    September 4, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  20. Rob in North Carolina

    How are these anaylsts swooning over Palin? The speech was contrived and pugnacious especially from the party that is responsible for our dire times. I hope she could pull a good speech off after cramming. Let's see how she does with impromptu and unscripted arenas.

    September 4, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  21. KC

    Obama is so humble and down to earth. Even when people talk about him he still takes it with stride. That is truly a Christian... There is a different regarding to Christians: 1. Christians by religion and 2. Christian by having a relationship with God.

    Thank you Obama for being real and honest and showing us you can be a real gentlemen.

    September 4, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  22. Bob

    Obama and Biden have been so cool during these Rovian nasty GOP attacks. I love it.

    September 4, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  23. AMY


    September 4, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  24. Katrina

    I think in one of these CO jobs, Obama led a drive that registered more than 600,000 voters - isn't that about the population of Alaska? Lol.

    September 4, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  25. Bianca



    September 4, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
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