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. Gary

    The Republicans really don't get it. It is not about you, it is about "All of us". They haven't seen that in a long, long time. They are trying to get you to jump down in to the mud with them. Now is the time to be a man and beat them with facts and ideas.

    September 4, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  2. Stacey

    Apparently tonight is when we hear about J.Mccain's vision for America.
    Lower taxes? Palin increased them by like 38%?
    No pork-barrel? Palin supported the bridge to nowhere before being against it. She's gobbled up handouts from Ted Stevens, she's built a sports complex rather than infrastructure.
    Big ideas? She's tried to ban books from the public library.
    Women's rights? Pro-life in issues of rape/incest. She's also abstinence only.
    Fiscal responsibility? Palin has taken a solvent economy and run it into a 22 million dollar deficit.

    How does this fit into J.Mccain's future?

    September 4, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  3. Ron

    I'm very disappointed with Gov. Palin. For someone with little quailfications she has a very sharp tongue. Also being a "Christian"'s a small piece of information....She and her daughter were both pregnant the same time. Her baby is 4 months old...her daughter is 5 months preg. What type of example of a "Christian" is that? We need to look into her background. She's not a "Christian" in my mind.

    Go Obama!

    September 4, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  4. gerri

    This is about ME,not whos running for office,go Obama.

    September 4, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  5. Nicole

    To Debbie Joyner

    Please let's not get into the "drug use" topic when Cindy McCain went as far as to steal drugs to feed her habit and I believe she might be faking that wrist sprain. Obama was a lost teenager when this happened and made a mistake just like Palin's 17 yr pregnant daughter. We all make mistakes when we are young but what was our next First Lady excuse. She was married with children, what a disgrace!

    September 4, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  6. 20 minutes of Palin

    OK, Palin was first time speaking to America.

    In just 20 minutes (maybe less) you expect her to tell everything about her family, about her goals, about her friends, abou ther state, about herself.. too much folks !!

    You don't even know Obama yet, who has been non-stop talking for ever.

    September 4, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  7. Rich

    "Fair Game," the Obama camps fundraising is going just fine. Check your sources. They've outpaced all their rivals since the primary season and continue to do so. Did you miss the news of $8 million raised just since the Palin speech? Expected to reach $10 by the time McCain speaks tonight.

    September 4, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  8. Shannon

    why is it when faced with a strong woman, the first thing my former party does is attack. I don't believe Obama supporters are Democrats, they have just taken over the party. All the insults toward working women, the shrill comments, the attacks on her parenting, it's the same kind of garbage that Hillary Clinton went through. I guess Obama and his supporters are really threatened by strong women, I can't understand how any woman would support this man. You don't have to you know, if you can't vote republican, vote third party, that's what I'm doing. Send a message to Mr Obama, he doesn't have the right to demean women.

    September 4, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  9. Lynne

    NOW you read what our future PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA said today!!! WE ARE NOT AFRAID of the REBUBLICAN
    CANDIDATES. WE SUPPORT OBAMA/BIDEN and the more the REPUBS talk the more they slip further away from the White House, and THAT IS A GOOD THING!! Someone wrote that Obama has been criticizing her. NOT!!!! More lies that won't work. All he has to do is BE HIMSELF and LET THEM HANG THEMSELVES, because they are doing one excellent job of it!! And THE SKIRTS for the SKIRTS have a very long way to go to find UNITY the way they are going about it. The intelligent people of America know you don't vote by gender. You vote for the PERSON who is "FOR THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE". That means ALL THE PEOPLE. Obama didn't demonize Hillary. Hillary demonized herself. THE PEOPLE ARE SPEAKING and ARE SAYING THEY ARE TIRED OF THE SAME OLD, SAME OLD!! And YES, YOU BET YOUR SWEET BIPPY, WE CAN AND WE ARE!!!

    September 4, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  10. Tempered

    Thank you, Obama! That's all you need to do. Keep your cool, and please stay out of this nasty, negative swarm of angry republicans that their convention seems to be creating. I cannot bring myself to watch ANY OF IT, I am so disgusted by the RNC's total disregard for the state of the country after 8 years of Bush. - Oh, that's right. I guess they are only concerned with the state of small town, white America. Everyone else is just a whiner, right?


    A Small Town, White Woman Who Is Not Falling for the Gender Bait of Sarah Palin

    September 4, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  11. amanda hamilton

    The height of irony-Palin denigrating community workers-many of whom are trying to repair the damage done by Republican politics to their neighbourhoods,theur jobs,their lives.

    Palin has been a star athlete-has she ever even been to southside LA,or Chicago,never mind worked to help people in underprivileged areas?

    September 4, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  12. D&D

    The McCain camp was probably expecting Obama te overreact or something, but he just showed them that He is smart...and they are not!

    September 4, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  13. Tere for MI

    Here is what I cannot understand. If "executive experience" is the over arching qualifier for the presidency then Palin should be at the top of the ticket. What "executive experience" does McCain have? According to the GOP rhetoric he too is unqualified. By this same line of thinking G. W. Bush should have been a great president. He was the very "successful" governor of Texas and he was a great president -not.

    I am not buying it. She has equal or less experience then anyone else in this campaign.

    I use to have a lot of respect for McCain, Bush via Rove really took him down in the 2000 election, but then he decided to cozy up to them as if they werent the ones telling everyone he had a "black illegitimate child". McCain has lost his since of self respect. Not the earmark of a good leader.

    September 4, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  14. Obama

    It was also interesting hearing her promote her experience as mayor. They have a council-manager form of government. In this type of government, the city administrator is the city manager. The mayor is only the head of the city council and mayor in name only. Our "mayor" spends most of his time cutting ribbons and greeting people for photo shoots.

    Problem is that most Americans don't understand government and Republicans know this.....

    September 4, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  15. Smitty

    While she might be firing up the republican base, she has definately pissed off the democratic base. After watching the convention last night, I am 100% behind Obama/Biden and the message for change. I donated for the first time (many more to come) and I am signing up to help him win here in Virginia as we speak.

    Why wait?
    Obama/Biden '08

    September 4, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  16. Nathan

    The republicans talked a lot about taking care of your problems and not waiting for government to do it for you. That is exactly what community organizing is!!!!!!

    September 4, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  17. Mike in Manchester NH

    This election the real choice is between hope and fear, past and future, ideas and attacks. While the National Polls do give Obama the edge, the electoral college standings have him WAY AHEAD! It looks like it's finally time for the fear, fear, 9/11, fear method of vote garnering to be replaced by: here's the problems and here's the solutions. TOGETHER, YES WE CAN!!!

    September 4, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  18. FES

    I was thinking the same thing. I thought the remark about community organizing was belittling peope like most of us. It was proof that Republicans are only for the rich and not your average American.
    Anyway, I didn't thnk that governing polar bears and penguins counted anyway. At least OBAMA governs people.

    September 4, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |



    September 4, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  20. VB

    Abraham Lincoln in spinning in his grave on how his own party has divided the country...He fought so hard to unite North ans South and now his party has split the nation Right and Left..He was alive now he would change his party and vote Obama

    September 4, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  21. karen-phoenix

    Jesus was the first "community organizer" and Obama believes in the words of Jesus–"What you do to the least of these you do to me" and "I am my brothers(sisters) keeper". God Bless Obama/Biden!!!

    September 4, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  22. gene

    Obama worked face to face, one on one, with actual people who need help... and the repubs are putting him down for that? They describe him as the god to come down from Mt. Olympus... but these are the same people who have never come down from Mt. Olympus... because they've never come down into the communities are really work with the people who actually need the help... they just sit on capitol hill and bicker.

    Obama is the real deal because he's worked to help people on ALL levels... not just from the top of Mt. Olympus (Capitol Hill)

    The problem with repubs.. and by the way.. i was listening to Hannity as I was driving accross the country.,,. is that they consider actually working with the people they represent as being menial and unimportant... and they call Obama Elitist? I don't know how anyone can possibly call themselves a republican and still be able to look in the mirror.

    September 4, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  23. janine

    "I have witnessed incidents where he has used profanity at colleagues and exploded at colleagues," said former Senator Bob Smith, a New Hampshire Republican who served with McCain on the Senate Armed Services Committee and on Republican policy committees. "He would disagree about something and then explode. It was incidents of irrational behavior. We've all had incidents where we have gotten angry, but I've never seen anyone act like that."

    September 4, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  24. Kate Fergus

    Throughout his prmary campaign, Obama has taken the high road and tried to focus on the issues. I am happy that he will continue to focus on the issues. If he is critical of McCain and Palin, let's hope the public won't confuse criticism of policies with personal attacks. They are vastly different.

    September 4, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  25. PUMA's For PALIN

    Tool... poor simple minded vulgar tool

    September 4, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
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