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. Steve

    Get a grip. If you took offense to that then you should should speak out on the hatchet job they are doing on her daughter. Right or wrong the issues need to be spoken on more specifically by both parties.

    September 4, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  2. Realistic

    Way to go Barack. Rise about the trash that has become the Repubs, and ignore Governor Wingnut and let the media vet her 20 and growing scandals.

    Keep your eye focused on the real truth

    -JOHN-MCCCAIN-MORE-OF-THE-SAME

    September 4, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  3. Billiam the Kid

    Lol....I see a lot of Obama haters in here....The best part is they aren';t even making sense....They've been attacking Obama for certain things for the last 20 months....Now they pick someone who is and never be an Obama and want the world to fall in line.....Ha!!!!

    September 4, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  4. Declan Morgan

    im a 21 yo white college student from the republic of ireland. i have managed to get addicted to the cnn coverage of the 2004 and 2008 primaries and elections. t

    o give an outside perspecive if i were able to vote in this election it would definitly be for obama/biden. i remember when clinton was president america was a global leader and well respected as a political power but because of bush/cheney america has alienated itself from the rest of the world and is seen as the school yard bully who no one likes,

    mccain/palin will do the same if not worse, america and the world not just america needs obama/biden to restore the global economy and improve global security.

    September 4, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  5. Ardnuas

    Sarah Palin attended 5 COLLEGES IN 6 YEARS.....she is a puppet of Karl Rove.....George Bush advisers are "TRAINING" her on foreign policy..... America deserves better then this.

    September 4, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  6. Floridian

    BRILLIANT!!! That cracks me up. Gotta love Obama....

    September 4, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  7. Steve - Wyoming

    Reminds me of a phrase the PM of Canada once said about Nixon: I've been called worse things by better people.

    September 4, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  8. I was a Republican....UNTIL LAST NIGHT....

    Last nights speech was nothing but pure rhetoric....

    And shameful....No substance........NO AGENDA...

    Who do they think they are kidding ???

    I will no longer be a part of this kiddie game.....

    I am sure the democrats will accept me and my family and my MONEY !!!

    September 4, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  9. LATINOVOTER

    Palin is clueless if she thinks that us Community Organizers are no leaders at all and get nothing done. Please she obviously does not know the fabric of the lower 48 states of the USA.

    September 4, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  10. KATHLEEN

    I love Obama!

    Now, Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Bush, Cheney,
    Guiliana.

    Toss them in the hat because I can't tell you which one is more distasteful to me.

    McCain voted AGAINST the MINUMUM WAGE 9 TIMES!!!!

    Wal-Mart jobs may be all we have left. They bring in Billions.
    Reagan, Bush, Cheney Politics are for Corporations not
    us!!!!!!

    September 4, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  11. Hillary Supporter

    Palin is not what this country needs. Everyone I have spoken to in my small town in Ohio was taken back at how negative that speech was.

    September 4, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  12. Redbug-OHIO for OBAMA

    Well SENATOR OBAMA. We know you have been called worse, but thanks to puppet palin you will be called PRESIDENT OBAMA IN NOVEMBER.

    GO OBAMA/BIDEN ALL THE WAY TO THE WHITE HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 4, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  13. DrMan

    I love how all nearly all of the comments are from those worshiping the Obamessiah. It's clear that CNN is in the libs back pocket. All this garbage about change from Obama and the lack of specifics from the Republicans is just that ,garbage. The only thing Obama will do is raise taxes on the "rich" and use the money for socialist programs. If you want that, move to Russia.

    September 4, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  14. Billiam the Kid

    And for the fools who say Obama is being sexist for examining her record, I wonder, does that mean that all the people who have been questionung Obama are racist?? Oh no, it couldn't be that could it?? Lol....Ridiculous...

    September 4, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  15. Larry from TX

    I want you all to continue digging into her history. The Republicans didn't leave no stone unturned when it came to investigating Obama. Their defense is to say that you are picking on her to prevent you from investigating her. I say since they didn't check her out then we should.

    September 4, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  16. Rich Minnick

    CNN..is owned by the Democrats that is why they only print what OB 1 wants... Watch out for SARAH.....she will get you..........

    September 4, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  17. Suzanne

    Seems to me that community organizing involves the people. In Sarah's bio, she has more than once put new folks on boards where she wanted a vote to go her way. That's even on Wiki. What's worse though, is that she has "no stance" listed on several areas at On the Issues, including "foreign policy" as recently as last week!! Now THAT is more than a paper thin bio! She has entered the lower 48 and she is going to need constant sequestering by the McCain operatives to get it right. Her cuteness, delivery, and mockery will not draw in small town Americans including those she dissed in "Nowhere". So she gave her convention speech. The commentators (5 of them) graded it with an A and the online votes (30,000) trumped them with a C. America's got a collective brain this time, thanks to a community organizer.

    September 4, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  18. Frank in Deerfield, IL.

    Sarah was right about pitbulls/lipstick as there is a lot of bullpit coming out of her mouth.

    September 4, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  19. Maya

    I just have to say that reading these comments (the majority of them, that is) I am SO inspired and proud of my fellow Americans. We are making this happen, people!!!! I am a young votr who was already starting to get cynical, but I am so full of hope right now that I cant stop smiling.

    Barack Obama is going to spend 8 years as president of this country, and we have ourselves to thank for it. and Sara Palin (he he)

    USA unite for change!!

    Hail to the Chief!!!!!!!!!!! (um, not the current one . . . the next one . . . you know what I mean).

    September 4, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  20. Jim

    Obama is cool, calm and brilliant under pressure. Few candidates have been scrutinized / attacked as much as he in this election . He is not distracted or thrown off balance by GOP cultural issues, pseudo-patriotism or name-calling. He keeps his eye on the ball and the issues! He is so right when he says “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,”

    I believe Palin stands lock-step with McCain, G.W. Bush and Cheney on practically every issue; can anyone tell me any issue they disagree on? Palin is to McCain as Spiro Agnew was to Nixon – except that Americans won't be fooled this time!

    September 4, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  21. luis r diaz, rockville, maryland

    You guys from the cnn political team are comparing the number of viewers during Palin's and Obama's speeches. That it is not a valid comparison since Obama spoke in front of an audience of 80000 people.
    Obama for president.

    September 4, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  22. KATHLEEN

    THE REPUBLICANS will have to stop with their raging bullheaded
    ideas
    real soon.

    OBAMA-BIDEN
    Stand tall for these good men.

    September 4, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  23. Laurie

    Don't get in the mud with them...they were so ugly and sarcastic last night. Sarah doesn't have a humble bone in her body. I really needed therapy last night, found it by donating to Obama campaign.
    YES WE CAN!!

    September 4, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  24. JfromNC

    Obama is only one in this race with true leadership skills – calm, measured, thoughtful, and never shows a temper. He is the one I want to answer the 3am phone call. Palin and McCain = More War!

    September 4, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  25. Kenneth Estes

    Obama has nothing to worry about. The choice of Plain for VP by McCain in 2008 makes Bush's pick in 1988 of Dan Quail for VP look outstanding.

    September 4, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
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