September 5th, 2008
04:45 PM ET
5 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. Paris

    Obama I am so sick of you just go away.

    September 5, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  2. Michael Lasala

    McCain and Palin DO NOT FOCUS ON ISSUES... all they care about is moose dressing and hockey moms... OBAMA actually has a plan for america and your republicans just want to shoot it down with your semi automatics and your failed bush politics

    September 5, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  3. carlo

    If some of you Rethugs would just do some fact checking, even a little, you'd find out how accomplished Obama is. However, you won't, because you want to believe the worst about him. Obama has been held to the highest standard of any nominee in history. Even his pastor and colleague are connected to him! Isn't this the country that has turned our politics over to right wing "Christian" fundamentalists for the last 8 years?

    September 5, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  4. FreeNLovIt

    McCain has proven his leadership abiltites? I was watching Channel 11 and the anchormen asked this one McCain advisor or whatever a question " If Obama has no experience making an executive decision, what decision has McCain made?"

    She couldnt answer the question because for 26 years, McCain was a Senator making laws. There's no leadership in making laws. Laws are just laws.

    McCain score 0 Obama 0

    I think General Wesley Clark is the closes to making an executive decision. He was Supremet Nato Commander and made decisions.

    September 5, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  5. Paris

    Where were you guys to ask question from Obama.

    Why no one is asking about William Ayers?
    Why no one is asking about lack of Love Obama has shown for this country?

    Obama has gotten a free ride and our journalist should be ashamed for this tragedy.

    September 5, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  6. FreeNLovIt

    So if you look at the real truth, Obama is equal to McCain. They both made laws. One made more laws because he's older. This is the only difference.

    And about experience, I'm not too crazy about it. I need judgement and vision. Obama first opposed the war. McCain voted for the war. Where's the experience?

    McCain failed us. He did not protect us from lies. There are a few senators that voted against the war. They knew there was something wrong with rushing to war.

    September 5, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  7. Ex-GOP voting for Obama

    Republicans lie ..i can not vote for McCain. I will be voting for Obama. I watched both conventions...talk about day and night. all week at the RNC all you heard were stories about how great Mccain is..no issues...NOTHING! unlike the DNC where i heard plans voiced over and over through out the convention. Obama's speech has 29 talking points on the issues. ALL of them. Not a ONE except for the war..with the GOP

    THEY HAVE NO PLAN FOR AMERICA!

    and Palin? Does the GOP think Americans are completely STUPID?

    September 5, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  8. Irony

    10:1 million in donations....If you play the odds, Obama is the best bet!

    September 5, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  9. Laotian

    Talking about experience, what experience does Sarah Palin has? Foreign policies or National Security? God forbid if something were to happen to Jonh Mccain, DOES Palin ready to be our great nation's president? I don't think so.

    September 5, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  10. Lisa

    I would like to hear comments about how many former presidents were Governors vs. Senators, and then how long were they in each post prior to CAMPAIGNING. I have heard Obama use his campaigning as experience and that scared me away from him. I believe that McCain can differentiate between campaigning and governing.

    September 5, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  11. KG

    Once again, Obama lies. Republicans (plural) didn't say it. One Republican said it. The issues are being discussed daily and McCain has much better, more realistic plans. Obama spouts off utopian BS that cannot be funded or realized. Obama will do, say anything to keep the focus off his true self – a weak, inexperienced candidate whose only saving grace is he's being propped up by the liberal press. On every issue that has come up since he's started running for President, he's been wrong on, then had to change his mind, then had to change his mind again. He's an ameteur, and we don't need an ameteur in the White House.

    September 5, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  12. w.l. jones

    Most family members defended this country like my great Gran. father from the civil war to Desert storm,matter of fact one uncle were a prison of war in Germany.,but he never talk about it. We need to get away from military service and let our uniform service people do there job. Job Job and more Job so we can get this country back on it feet ,at the rate of borrowing we will have to patition a foriegn country just build a out house.

    September 5, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  13. Independent in NC

    Stacy,

    The USS Cole was attacked by Al-Qaeda under Clinton's watch. Clinton also had an opportunity to take out Bin Laden and didn't do it. Yes, 9/11 happened while Bush was in office, but in hindsight both parties had opportunities to prevent it. The Repubs point was that an attack has not occurred on US soil since 9/11.

    September 5, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  14. Cecil

    experience; You Need A Lot More Than Just Experience, I Wish It Was That Easy, It's Not!

    Axe2GrindI; I Don' t Think You Live In The U.S.A.

    I Quess You Haven't Been Reading The News The Last 8 Years.

    September 5, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  15. NC voter

    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.

    Apparently I was not listening either, all they did was talk crap!

    September 5, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  16. FreeNLovIt

    McCain was a POW, but when you compare his experience to Kerry, Kerry was out on the swift boat, making decisions that will save or kill his men. Kerry executed bravery. He put his life on the line to save others. Kerry is a true HERO.

    September 5, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  17. TheTruthHurts

    Unless the economy improves dramatically before election day (not likely, even with the Bush manipulations) and national security doesn't get worse, Obama will be firmly on the high road. Count on it.

    September 5, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  18. Benoist

    "There is no replacement or nothing better than experience. All you youngsters relying on your degree to "set you free" better learn that quick."

    - You see, right here, there's an argument that in fact and history has no relevance whatsoever.

    Factually, Obama has been involved in Goverment, in some position or another, for more than 12 years. From Illinois' Senate to the US Senate. He is a sitting member on the International Relations Committee. He has been very active in legislation, including some pieces reaching across the isle (for instance with McCain on immigration – the Maverick can't say he didn't know...).

    Historically, some of the best Presidents of the United States have had the same amount of State "experience" as Obama currently has... or less. Among them, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, George Washington... and of course the most comparable of all, arguably one of best (if not the best) Presidents in US History, Abraham Lincoln himself!

    So I get kind of tired to see the pseudo-experience card played over and over again. Being President isn't so much about experience as it is about Vision and Integrity. You can ask whether Obama and McCain fulfill these criteria, but the whole experience thing is WAY overrated these days.

    September 5, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  19. Laura

    "Obama is back to the whinning card. How many times have we heard, " they are going to try and scare you about me." What a joke he is. How will he pay for cutting the majority of our taxes? When 95% of us pay 90% of the taxes? Big oil and big business won't make up for 100% of the taxes. He will do this and pay for college, medical insurance, and give us all $500.00 apiece? Does he think we all have STUPID tattooed on our foreheads?"

    To the person who wrote this comment:

    You obviously do not know how much the oil industry profits. Read up before you make a comment.

    Obama in 2008 and 2012.

    September 5, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  20. AVR

    Hey Franky,

    It was Cindy's father who created the wealth that she and McCain are living off of. He provided them the means to acquire 7 houses, Private Jets, and unlimited amount of $500 Italian shoes.

    This is the reason who they are out of touch with America. They don't know how the average american lives.

    She has such a jaded view of America that only goes overseas to help struggling people. Like her husband, she has no clue that people are struggling here also.

    September 5, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  21. w.l. jones

    Most family members defended this country like my great Gran. father from the civil war to Desert storm,matter of fact one uncle were a prison of war in Germany.,but he never talk about it. We need to get away from military service and let our uniform service people do there job. Job Job and more Job so we can get this country back on it feet ,at the rate of borrowing we will have to get premission from a foriegn country just build a out house.

    September 5, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  22. Mike M

    I honestly didn't hear one plausible solution to this country's many problems during the entire four days of the republican convention.

    McCain said:
    1. He's going to solve the energy crisis by drilling more. Even T Boone Pickens says that won't work.
    2. He's going to continue the Bush tax cuts for the rich. Isn't that what got us in the economic mess we're in now?
    3. He wants to tax the portion of health-care premiums that are paid by employers. For me that means my income would be tax at an additional $1200 annually. Thanks McCain!!
    4. I have no idea what his plan is for global warming and the environmental problems we face. Maybe John would like a do over? I think he forgot to mention that.

    The one thing I do agree with was his call for change, however, I don't think anyone told him Obama has been calling for that for almost 2 years now.

    Let's go with the real deal – Barack Obama. Not someone like John McCain that has changed his campaighn strategy no less than three times to attract votes.

    September 5, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  23. B

    I think Gov.Palin will be attractive to the Christian Evangelicals and Fundamentalists that love to hear Bible teaching which is perfectly ok.

    However, the curent family issues (pregnant daughter and new baby) with Sarah Pailn is sure to have a psychological impact on her and the family.

    It will depend in great on how America wants the country to go from the Bush / Cheney / Rove years.

    Hopefully, McCain, 72, will retire now.

    September 5, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  24. Speider

    "'Not about the issues' comment means making stuff up"

    ...and besides, I saw Obama dancing with the devil at the edge of the woods while drinking the blood of Christian Babies!

    InSane in 666

    September 5, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  25. Mike Kaplan

    Nonsense, Axe2Grind. Your question about Condi Rice just makes no sense at all. To say that McCain is too much like Bush means he voted to support him 90% of the time. And pretty much everyone admits that Bush has been a disaster. So it follows that McCain will be a similar disaster.

    Thankfully, he is going to lose.

    September 5, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9