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. Donna A. Reuter, Bremerton, WA

    A community organizer gave Sen. Obama great experience as an elected official, the experience gained was that of customer service (yes boys and girls, some of the duties of a elected official is that of providing customer service).

    Sen. McCain touts his military service, however, his customer service skill do not exist. He has served on the Committee on Indian Affairs for numerous years and the Native Americans of this nation live in proverty, have no indoor plumbing, no running water, and hardly any utilities. I have personal experience with his customer service, I asked him to help my brother with so Federal Agencies program and he refused to help him.

    I want the press to dig deep into his customer service creditials, this is more important to Americans than any other issue.

    September 4, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  2. MikeH

    The man answers unscripted questions with ease, like he's still on the court.

    I dare McCain or Palin to do that.

    Hey CNN, post an article about Abramoff's sentencing and the Republican finance scandal on the ticker, like you were doing with that BLACK Democrat mayor found guilty of perjury., I dare you.

    September 4, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  3. Republicans For Obama

    There are so many words we could call Palin...

    Palin, the person that fires anyone that has slept with her sister.
    Palin, the person that fires people who read Harry Potter Books.
    Palin, the person that fires anyone that supports someone else.
    Palin, the person who hates Polar Bears.
    Palin, the person that wants Alaska to leave America.
    Palin, the person that tripled Oil Taxes.
    Palin, the person with a degree in Journalism.
    Palin, the person that left her hometown with $22 Million Debt.
    Palin, the person her hometown wanted removed as Mayor.
    Palin, the person her homestate is investigating for Abuse of Power.

    A person with a record like that could be called so many words!
    For now, we'll just call Palin A FOOL!!!

    September 4, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  4. john williams san diego, ca.

    What's so bad about being called a Presidential candidate ?? Is it above his pay grade...GO DUMBOCRATS..

    September 4, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  5. McKen's Barbie Collection

    You complain about your boss not doing his job. You notice he's only working to fatten his pockets with big oil payoffs. He fights all the time with the smaller companies instead of the bigger company that has hurt him the most . Your have not received a raise and you may lose your job because the boss is now outsourcing the jobs. You are about to lose your home. The boss has so many houses he can't count them. The company you work for has not turned a profit in years and has low approval ratings. The boss distributes a company wide memo that reads " I really don't know much about the economy." The boss threatens to release the pitbull on if you keep WHINING. You have put up with his bullying ways for eight long years. Finally your work contract is ending with your boss. As you think about your family's future you ask yourself "Should I continue working for this creep or should I CHANGE employers? ".

    It's that simple America. It's time for a change and YOU know it.

    ANCIENT PROVERB: Don't let your pitbulls run loose with the moose on the White House lawn.

    September 4, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  6. HOCKEY MOM MY..........

    I work with a woman who is from Alaska. She told me that Palin's blowhard, ad hominem attack's come from her days as a ruthless small-town mayor. This very intelligent woman also told me that Palin has more skeletons in her closet, so beware!

    No more Bush/McCain, no way, no how.


    September 4, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |



    September 4, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  8. Jane

    We thought she was smug with an air of superior complex. i.e she is a more superior being to Obama.
    Her tone sounded like she was referring to an office clerk that is of no consequence. As a black woman, I felt offended by her tone – no respect at all. Not the kind of person I would vote for.

    September 4, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  9. Alice in Coldstream

    When did a candidates mode of "attack" become more important than the issues? How many women would be flattered to be called a Pit Bull? Perhaps it is part of campaign rhetoric but it is no way to govern a country. The speculation on who can "attack" whom is getting ridiculous. The Dems don't want to destroy the opposition, they want to destroy their ideas and platforms. Personally, I wish Palin acted more like a gentleman, oops, lady.

    September 4, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  10. lol

    the republicans pointed out the truth, obama has a thin resume. every time a hillary supporter sees gov. palin, it puts salt in the wound and reminds us that hillary should have been on the ticket.

    September 4, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  11. Z


    Obama evidently hasn't heard what 50 million + has called him!

    McCain/Palin 2008

    September 4, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  12. Christine

    The one part of the sexism argument that bugs me the most is the Biden thing - they're getting all huffy because he said she was better looking than he was... I was watching her speech last night and everyone had buttons saying "hottest VP" and "hoosiers for the hot chick" - i'm sorry, but that is the worst hypocrisy.

    September 4, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  13. bo

    did you guys see mitt romney's speech last nigh? WHAT A TOTAL TOOL.

    September 4, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  14. Helena

    Obama, again you are being too gracious and kind. Sarah Palin (Caribou Barbie) is a horrid woman who certainly doesn't act like a Christian. She was rude and disrespectful last night.

    September 4, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  15. JustCheck

    Most of Palin's speech was written weeks ago by former Bush speech write Matt Scully... long before she was even a candidate. This illustrates that an apoplectic monkey could have given this speech.

    September 4, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  16. Lori


    You said it all...for so many of us! Thank you!

    September 4, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  17. New York

    At least Obama is "spouting something". McCain has said nothing about the issues and what a surprise his speech tonight is going to be guessed it being a POW.

    September 4, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  18. Ron Montanez

    McCain picked the wrong choice for VP on a number of fronts. First is the expeience factor. Gov. Palin has no global experience with other world leaders or any known knowledge of how to create jobs or halt the recession. Next is the fact that she is involved in a very serious ethics violation investigation that may result in her "impeachment" on Oct. 31. Now she is used as an "attack dog" according to most media and her own words spoke last night. An attack dog?? I thought she was lauded as a "hockey mom" and had "superior" family values. Rove doesn't it. It's over Rove, it's over.

    September 4, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  19. a d

    Palin was seen by 37 million on only 7 networks. Obama was seen by 38 million viewers on 10 networks. Palin's viewership numbers would be much higher if the Spanish networks were covering the speech, too. Plus Palin has a large online following who watched her speech online.

    September 4, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  20. Grace, NY

    You've been called worse because you are worse--or should I say "woos"–? Biggest pansy to ever run for President.

    McCain/Palin 08'

    Sarah Palin 12 & 16'

    September 4, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  21. Latinos for Obama/Biden

    The worst thing about all of this is not Palin (it is expected that she will be used as a GOP tool) but the people who think she is THE ONE!


    September 4, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  22. gbrown2


    September 4, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  23. real dem

    It seems that mostly everything the the repubs has accused O'bama of doing is basically what they have done the last 8 years. Not to mention the baby out of wedlock thingy with the Murphy Brown show. ( how can we forget that.) And the fact that Palins daughter is having a baby out of wedlock and it's ok now!!! For those that have voted for Bush and will now vote for McCain/Palin you really haven't learned from your mistakes ( voting bush twice?) have you? If name calling gets you in the white house then lets just talk about everyone in politics now....without holding back.

    O'Bama/Biden 08-16

    September 4, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  24. Texico From Mexico

    Whats this? Now we are hearing that Palin had an affair with her husbands business partner? Wow this just keeps getting better and better....whats next? Hmmm...was she vetted I wonder?

    September 4, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  25. Rayan

    This country needs a person with a strong educational back ground to run it. Barack attended the best schools in the land and learned from our best minds.He is very intelligent and respectful. It is very difficult for him to sling mud like Sarah Palin. He is very conscious about the needs of our nation and he will address our problems. We don't need war mongers in the white house. We need great decision makers in the white house.This nation needs it's brilliant minds to step up to the plate. Sarah Palin smiles will not cut it.

    September 4, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
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