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. Jack

    Are the GOP running a political campaign this cycle or are they running a 'Biography Channel' roadshow?

    September 5, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  2. anyonmous

    i didnt watch mcains speech last night but if i had it will be really boring i wouldnt want to watch his speech because if i did i would fall asleep

    September 5, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  3. Zeke

    I'm just amazed at how things have changed with the McCain camp! Now they speak of change.. This is not aboout the Candidate thinking about himself. Obama is about change for the American People. Seems to me that McCain is Country first. As if the Obama ticket does not care for their country.

    September 5, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  4. Franky

    Ohhh man, that was good...

    Sorry guys for the comments! I just had to bust out...

    September 5, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  5. Jason in AZ

    How can anyone believe McCain! He continues to tell lies about what he is going to do and have you heard the latest. He is now stealling Obama's idea and saying that he will bring change to Washington. Give me a break. There is no way that McCain is going to be president.

    Obama-Biden '08/'12

    September 5, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  6. Texico From Mexico

    I am a "white male veteran" and a former Republican and I can honestly say that what my fellow Veteran McCain has done over the last three days is without a doubt disgrace his country, his service and his nation. There was nothing at the RNC that remotley resembled anything American other than the flag that was flying on the screen.

    He has not talked about US the citizens at all! He has not discussed the issues that effect everyday Americans. No Obama does not have all the answers..nobody does but I can sure as heck tell sincerity when I see it, and I can tell when somone really cares about the country. John McCain has become in so many words...another Nixon. Nixon wanted the presidency so bad...for himself and so does McCain! This will be another Kennedy/Nixon race and i hope for the sake of our country and our Veterans that we may elect Obama to try and get us at least on the right train track....because if we dont we will end up a thrid world nation within the next 25 years.

    Veterans for Obama

    September 5, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  7. Pretjene

    Obama is lowering taxes for the middle and low income families.

    WRONG>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    UNLESS YOU LIVE OFF OF THE SYSTEM OBAMA WILL RAISE YOUR TAXES.............HE WILL MAKE AMERICA A WELFARE NATION, AND NO ONE WILL SUCCEED!

    Obama says everyone needs "just enough" to get by, that is not the future I want for me or my kids, to get by, I want to be SUCCESSFUL!

    IF you live on the system good luck to you, continue as you are!

    McCain will DOUBLE the CHILD tax credit! HE is going to cut spending and pork barrels (much of which Obama voted for) and STOP our DEPENDANCE on FOREIGN OIL!

    Obama will do EXACTLY what he did in the SENATE....NOTHING!

    September 5, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  8. McMary

    Is lipstick on a pit bull like lipstick on a pig? Both are animals wearing cosmetics. Oh yeah pigs are intelligent and clean while pit bulls are often vicious and owned by criminals. Remind you of anyone ?

    September 5, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  9. John Smith

    When has a Republican ever CONFESSED that he or she is wrong?

    They are always RIGHT when it comes to...

    –wagging wars
    –ignoring the poor and sick for the "rich and fanciful life"
    –when life begins, but not how it is lived, or how it ends
    –fear of raising taxes so that the poor cannot benefit from their wealth
    –giving us the worst leadership in the world
    –telling it the way it is!
    –putting people down
    –givings us rules and regulations that they enjoy breaking!!!

    September 5, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  10. Rodham Democrat

    I think the issue of GUNS is a very important issue to discuss. The fact that Sarah Palin loves guns so much may turn off a lot of women, especially mothers, who feel that guns may be a threat to their family's and children's safety.

    I think Sen. Biden should gage Sarah Palin on the issue of guns to divide women from her.

    September 5, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  11. Independent

    I think McCain's speech was successful in showing how much he had suffered in Vietnam. And he suffered a lot. However, it never really came close to offering solutions to the nation's problems. Touching personal history, but no strong vision of how to help struggling families or provide healthcare. I get the feeling that he cares much more about foreign policy than the economy.

    When I watched Palin's speech on the other hand, I was terrified. Truly the birth of a demagogue. She outright lied about her credentials (she was for the bridge to nowhere, not against it – she only reluctantly canceled it after Congress refused to pay for it) and did nothing to rebut claims that she tried to ban books in her town library, which is horrifying to me. And she did not blink as she did this. A truly immoral person.

    And the media concentrates on her ability to deliver a speech, not her numerous factual distortions and mischaracterizations (including of the opposition's policies). That made me even more scared. Does no one care about the truth anymore? Then maybe America deserves Palin.

    September 5, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  12. Silence Dogood

    "ALL WORDS FROM OBAMA'S MOUTH" thanks for having the courage to say that!

    When you have no opinion and pander to the crowd where you are, you have little to fall back on besides the race card.

    And those quotes are the tip of the iceberg. I was counting for a while and he had one whine or victim quote per day.

    No to ZerObama!

    September 5, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  13. Rich in Seattle

    A stupid friend of my sisters told her the other day that she didn't like Obama. When pressed as to why, she replied that she just couldn't get over the fact that he's a Muslim. So don't tell me it's not out there or not being used to scare those stupid enough to fall for this type of stuff. I doubt this person has any idea as to how raciest that is.

    September 5, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  14. Rodney

    “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,” I did not know McCain and Palin have been in the executive office alredady for 8 years. I love the democrat platform vote for us if you hate Bush. What a reason to vote for a President. Unfortunately people who act on emotion rather than logic, I.E. Liberals, will vote for Dr. Feel Good.

    September 5, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  15. SD Sam

    Sarah reminds me of the girl I took to the senior prom. She was a pain, too.

    September 5, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  16. TonyInKentucky

    It's beyond ridiculous that Republicans can actually look themselves in the mirror but more to the point that they can actually get on here and defend avoidance of the issues.

    September 5, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  17. A CANUCK

    I'm patiently waiting for the Democrats to stop taking the crap the republicans have been dishing out !! Enough of the "nice guy" stuff !! It's time to show the bullies they can't get away with this dirty politicking.

    September 5, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  18. Mike in Calgary

    Sorry Sarah – I did the fact check re your distortions and lies.

    Here's a NEWS FLASH for Sarah Palin:
    Americans don't want reasons that sound good. They want good sound reasons. Swing States break Democratic.

    Glad to know that Sarah found her place with Bush/McCain and their attack dogs. Now I know what you mean by biting, er I mean reaching across the aisle.

    September 5, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  19. joel

    McCain said /Change is on the way' and if you elect McCain, in the words of George H.W. walker Bush (funny irony) Change is all your going to have left. The code phrase for the GOP is "You know us..."

    September 5, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  20. Phillip

    I used to be a Republican. I'm so tired of their attacks. That's all they do. They don't want this election to be about issues because America doesn't agree with them. They want to demonize Obama and make you scared of him. It' so rediculous. Will the American people fall for it this time? Will we be dumb enough to reward this party with four more years. If we do then we know what we will get. We'll get a slow economy and if we're lucky another war in the middle east. Then in another 4 years the Republicans will tell us how evil and unpatriotic the democratic nominee is. They are playing us for fools. I only hope that people in Ohio and Colorado and all the swing states see through this. It's really in their hands.

    September 5, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  21. Rich Olmer

    Why all the coverage of Palin MaCane on the day after???

    September 5, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  22. susie

    Obama is the result of "Chicago Politics".

    September 5, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  23. Alexandra

    Although I have been a repbulican all of my life, the speech John McCain made at the convention confirmed my decison to vote for Obama since so much of it was lies. Palin is popular now but I still think she is the wrong choice for the ticket. Her snide comments about Obama truly showed how tacky she is as the average person could not have made those comments come through as snippy and snide as she did. That was Palin's true personalty.

    Senator Obama truly care about people; John McCain does not.

    A republican for OBAMA/BIDEN!

    September 5, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  24. RJL for CHANGE

    David M. Neal - "September 5th, 2008 5:44 pm ET

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

    Where's your tangiable proof? What is your source? Please don't reference Hannity of Faux News!!

    September 5, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  25. Gail

    Lets keep donating to Obama's campaign. Let's show the world how we feel!! YES WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE!!!!!

    September 5, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
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