September 5th, 2008
04:45 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama: 'Not about the issues' comment means making stuff up

DURYEA, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Barack Obama continued to hammer the McCain campaign on Friday for manager Rick Davis’s comments that the election would be more about the candidates’ personas, not the issues. The Illinois senator said he’s not running for president for his “pretty good personality” and that it’s a sign Republicans intend to scare voters away from him with false accusations of Muslim and radical connections.

Watch: "They're trying to run me down," Obama says

“When [the Republicans] say this isn’t about issues it’s about personalities what they’re really saying is “we’re going to try to scare people about Barack”,” he told a small gathering at a glass factory near Scranton. “'We’re going to say that you know, maybe he’s got Muslim connections or we’re going to say that, you know, he hangs out with radicals or he’s not patriotic.' Just making stuff up.”

“I mean I think I’ve got a pretty good personality! But that’s not why I am running for president,” Obama said, later adding, “If you want it to be about personalities, you know, we’ll go out for a beer sometime and we’ll talk but you know you don’t have time, you’d rather spend it with your family.”

Obama has repeatedly hit Republicans this week of for lacking substance at their convention in St. Paul and consistently brands the G0P as out of touch.

“If you’ve got the kind of record they’ve got over the last eight years then, of course, you don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about the issues,” said Obama. He blasted McCain on the economy, called his energy plan “made for TV” and accused the Arizona senator of having no education plan.

“Apparently Barack Obama was not listening when John McCain and Sarah Palin offered their plans to keep taxes low and create new jobs,” responded RNC spokesman Alex Conant. “On the other hand, Barack Obama’s economic policies would only raise taxes and eliminate jobs.”

Obama gave a lengthy defense during the Q&A portion of the event when a woman asked about rumors that he was going to take away their guns, an issue that has gotten him in some hot water in the past.

“I think this is a great question so I just want to clear it up,” he started. “The 2nd amendment is an individual right and it means something: that people have a right to bear arms. What I also believe is that there’s nothing wrong with some common sense gun safety measures.”

“The bottom line is this: if you’ve got a rifle, you’ve got a shotgun, you’ve got a gun in your house, I’m not taking it away,” he said, adding that even if he wanted to, he couldn’t get it through Congress.

“I hope I made that clear,” he wrapped up, “Is everybody clear back there in the back? ‘Cause I see a couple sportsmen back there. All right? Spread the word with your friends. I’m not going to take away your guns.”

soundoff (215 Responses)
  1. PUMA PALIN

    “If you’ve got the kind of record they’ve got over the last eight years then, of course, you don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about the issues,” said Obama."

    Well Senator.... you were there for the last two... you know... when it started going bad!

    What a tool...

    September 5, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. Debby

    Maybe Obama had a Bill Schnieder moment because it seems he didn't hear the issues either. CNN your ticker looks like the National Enquirer lately.

    September 5, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  3. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

    Are there issues besides god, guns and gays?... oh yeah, OIL.

    September 5, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  4. Anne

    McCain will say and do anything to attract a vote.
    GO OBAMA!

    September 5, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. Dexter

    GO Obama GO!!!!!!

    September 5, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  6. Hillary Supporter

    listening to the GOP is like getting into a argument with a 2 grader. No offense meant towards the 2 grade. Republicans lie over an over again.

    September 5, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  7. Mccain

    After viewing every speech at the Republican convention, the only thing i learned about Mccain, and his vision for the country is that he was a POW in Vietnam. That is all I learned, over, and over, and over, and over again.

    So everyone, i suppose we must vote for John Mccain because he was a POW.

    September 5, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  8. Angela

    McCain's speech was boring. The only excitement was seeing those protesters say the truth about McCain.

    It was so much about McCain and his war stories that I felt like I was watching the Military channel.

    McCain made it all about HIM!!!

    September 5, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. tired

    Obama fatique. Obama fatique.

    Why did people have Obama fatique? The medias cover his news too much.

    September 5, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  10. Hillary Supporter

    John needs to go home and take the beauty queen runner up with him.

    September 5, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. Nancy

    This is ridiculous. We HAVE to make this election about the issues, what else is there?? Who looks better in lipstick? This is insane!

    I just read now that Palin will not be granting ANY/NADA interviews to the press at least for the next few weeks. This is WRONG. We have the right as Americans to know her beliefs and philosophies and to hear her speak outside of her reading a speech she did not write!

    I think CNN and every news organization should stop covering McCain and Palin period until they agree to let her to do some interviews. My God, what are they hiding!!??

    September 5, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. Mccain was a POW so we must vote for him

    After viewing every speech at the Republican convention the only thing i learned about Mccain and his vision for the country is that he was a POW in Vietnam. That is the only thing I learned over, and over, and over, and over again.

    So everyone, i suppose we must vote for mccain because he was a POW.

    September 5, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  13. J.L.

    Apparently Alex Conant was not listening when John McCain and Sarah Palin offered their plans to keep taxes low and create new jobs either... because didn't hear anything about a plan of any type during the Republican convention. All I heard was.. be scared of the Democratic Party and their presidential nominee. Bad-mouth the other side so people don't take a nice hard look at yours... Avoid the issues and just slam the character/personality/etc... of the other side's nominee...

    September 5, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  14. David M. Neal

    He does have ties to radicals of all sorts. So this is NOT made up.

    Quit the lies and get a life.

    September 5, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  15. Rodger

    McCain's change is that he is no longer a maverick, he is now on the extreme right! All the Republicans can do is lie and not talk about the issues, let alone have any answers. John McCain doesn't get it!

    September 5, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  16. DeGee

    I would imagine Obama was probably listening. I know I was. I heard him say it, but until I hear plans to back it up, it means absolutely nothing.

    Even I could make a statement like that but I don't know how I'd make it happen.

    September 5, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  17. michael

    Here goes Obama with the victim card again. What a total jerk.
    The persona difference is McCain's life experience, proven leadership and proven accomplishments vs Obama's short resume of no real meanfull accomplisment.
    It is not about scaring people with false accuations of Muslim and radical connections. Last time he said it they were going to scare people about his race. Never happened.
    Obama is too insecure to be running for President.

    September 5, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  18. Disgusted

    Go Barack! You have won this former republican vote!

    I am so excited that a man of your caliber has stepped up to the plate to be our next leader!

    I heard nothing but bitterness and anger from the McCain camp! No solutions just HOT air!

    September 5, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  19. CM

    I hear you Barack. But some of the other clowns here believe anything the GOP tells them even if they see the contradictions with their own eyes.

    I'll be willing to be a lot that very few of the McCain supporters can outline what his plans are for the country and why he suddenly is about 'change' when he was part of the broken system. He couldn't even win a primary 8 years ago against GWB who will go down in history as the worst president. That is, unless McCain is elected, then he might take that crown as well.

    You people ever wonder why they don't answer any more media questions and only read from flash cards? The GOP handlers are afraid of McCain's true ambitions coming out.

    September 5, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  20. NoMcSame No ReThuglicans

    Where is her baby? What about the poor baby? Does anybody care?

    September 5, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  21. Yasriel

    If I were Obama's campaign, all I have to do is juxtapose Bush's convention speech of 2000 and that of McCain of 2008. I would show the economic destruction the Repubs have caused in that time frame. And I will play the tape of McCain saying he doesnt really understand economy.
    Then I would ask a simple question: "Can we really trust them again?"

    September 5, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  22. Michael Lasala

    I want to hear about the issues not about the republicans false promises

    September 5, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  23. Pope on a Pogo Stick

    Can someone tell me where he's going to find the money for $600 billion more in entitlement spending, above and beyond our current budget, WITHOUT raising taxes on every man, woman, child and household pet?

    Those who refuse to learn economics
    are destined to vote Democrat.

    September 5, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  24. Cynthia

    I love the picture of Senator and Mrs. Obama out on this web-sight. Very elegant yet understated even with the reddish dress. I would like to see if more often in the media. It is perfect!!!!!!

    September 5, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  25. katiec

    All the republicans can do is attack, as they certainly do not
    have any accomplishments to run on.
    And, their policies will not doubt be a continuation of
    Bush's diasters, which they supported 90% of the time,
    so now it is personalties. What a bunch of nothingness.
    Anyone that falls for this scam being touted by the
    pubs need their head examined.
    ENOUGH!!

    September 5, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
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