September 10th, 2008
06:07 PM ET
6 years ago

Graham calls on Obama to denounce 'abortion' comment

Sen. Graham, center, has been one of Sen. McCain's most ardent supporters and outspoken surrogates throughout the election season.
Sen. Graham, center, has been one of Sen. McCain's most ardent supporters and outspoken surrogates throughout the election season.

(CNN) - South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham – a major McCain surrogate – called on Barack Obama to condemn a comment by the chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party that suggested Sarah Palin’s decision not to have an abortion led to her selection as the Republican VP nominee.

Earlier in the day, Carol Fowler told a Politico reporter that Palin’s addition to the ticket would not help John McCain attract women voters, and that he had picked a running mate "whose primary qualification seems to be that she hasn’t had an abortion.”

Graham told reporters on a campaign conference call organized by the new “Palin Truth Squad” that only “only blinded partisan people” could fail to appreciate Palin’s qualifications, and said Obama needed to denounce Fowler’s remark.

Listen: Graham holds conference call with reporters

"I hope he will take this opportunity to step out and get this campaign back on track and reject this really outrageous, demeaning statement of someone who’s accomplished a lot in her life," said Graham.

The Obama campaign quickly moved to distance itself from Fowler’s comment. "Carol Fowler was speaking for herself. Her comments do not reflect our views in any way," said spokesman Hari Sevugan.

Fowler herself apologized late Wednesday, and said her remark had been misinterpreted. "I personally admire and respect the difficult choices that women make everyday, and I apologize to anyone who finds my comment offensive. I clumsily was making a point about people in South Carolina who may vote based on a single issue. Whether it’s the environment, the economy, the war or a woman’s right to choose, there are people who will cast their vote based on a single issue. That was the only point I was attempting to make."

The conference call was part of a sustained McCain campaign effort to paint Palin as the victim of attacks connected to the Obama campaign. Earlier in the day, they released a Web ad that repeated their claim that Barack Obama’s lipstick comment had been aimed at the Alaska governor, even though he used it in reference to John McCain’s policies, not Palin.

But the campaign was forced to pull the ad from YouTube after CBS objected to its use of a clip of Katie Couric commenting on Hillary Clinton’s presidential run. That distinction was not made in the ad, which implied that Couric was criticizing attacks aimed at Sarah Palin.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (478 Responses)
  1. Lawrence for barack

    Lindsey Graham go seat somewhere, you dont have anything better to do with ur time, she only got pick because of that sooooooooooooo

    September 10, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  2. Cynthia

    The same way McCain can't control his surrogates & the people who run his campaign why would they expect Senator Obama to do so. Tell Graham to mind his own business.

    September 10, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  3. Gimmick FIRST

    <b.LIEing McCain can't talk about the issues. He would rather stick with his Gimmick First campaign

    September 10, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  4. Will H.

    Enough is Enough!!

    September 10, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  5. Gracie

    Oh, geez, how many times is the McCain camp going to cry the blues about their "pitt bull" with lipstick. I mean if Sarah Palin is going to PRAISE her teenage daughter for getting pregnant at 17, then the McCain camp has NO REASON TO BALK when the medicine they have been dishing out comes back and BITES them in their butts!! I mean, give us a break. Sarah is going to preach "PRO-LIFE" and every Republican ignores the fact that this woman has a TEENAGE DAUGHTER PREGNANT and her own mother cut funding supporting teen mother with infants and medically challenge children. WHAT?

    I mean, Sen. Graham needs to get off his "holier than thou" pedestal and tell his KARL ROWE buddy John McCain to "CLEAN UP HIS ACT" when it comes to how they "pander" Gov. Palin. They can't have it both ways. GET REAL.

    September 10, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  6. Kimberly

    Obama, if you do, you will lose my vote. After that disgusting ad McCain put out on you and Sex Ed for Kindergartner children??? Are you kidding me? They didn't apologize for that, don't you dare apologize for a remark that seems like very straight talk!!!!!

    September 10, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  7. dustin

    I'm just glad at the very least the dems will get the 60 votes needed to keep mccain and palin from doing anything too crazy

    fyi: former press secretary of mccain has a book called lipstick on a pig, also he has used the term numerous times, even directing it at hillary clinton....hypocrite

    September 10, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  8. Baze

    awww, the G.O.P. is upset because people are taking shots back at them. boo hoo

    ONE NATION

    September 10, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  9. mike

    THIS IS WHY THE OBAMA CAMP IS GOING TO SHAKE THINGS UP,THEY SENT OUT A STRONG SIGNAL TODAY SUGGESTING JOE BIDEN MAY DROP OUT SO HE CAN BE REPLACED BY CLINTON,BECAUSE THE MCCAIN CAMP WILL CONTINUE TO PLAY THIS SEXISM CHARGE,SO LOOK FOR A ANNOUNCEMENT BY NEXT WEEK.OBAMA IS MEETING WITH BILL CLINTON TOMMOROW IN GUESS WHAT YOU THINK THEY WILL BE TALKING ABOUT.THE MCCAIN CAMP IS GOING TO FLIP OUT,BUT THEY HAVE NOBODY BUT TO BLAME EXCEPT THEMSELVES,BECAUSE OBAMA COULDNT DO SAY ANYTHING ABOUT PALIN WITHOUT BEING CALLED SEXIST,IF THE OBAMA CAMP GETS HILLARY THAT MEANS THIS RACE IS REALLY OVER NOW,BUT IN MY OPINION HE REALLY DONT NEED HER,BUT OBAMA IS JUST TIRED OF THE MCCAIN CAMMP CRYING SEXISM

    September 10, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  10. Why should he?

    If Obama has to apologize for something he didn't say then McCain has to apologize for the commercial that he put out about the sex education in kindergarden.

    GOD!! It kills me when things are one sided.

    I say again the Republican never talk about ISSUES, I haven't heard one thing from the Republican ticket about THE ISSUES THIS WEEK!! All I hear is this e-bay, lipstick, wolves, and that freaking bridge crap!!!

    September 10, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  11. Debbie Joyner

    Keep belittling Palin – it's working so well for you Obama.

    September 10, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  12. Jeff

    Why? Fowler mesage was not approved by Obama. What about all the untrue things McCain's own camp has said and/or put in ads about Obama. Okay, I call on Sen. McCain to denounce all the lies his camp has put forward....

    See that got us nowhere.

    September 10, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  13. Elena

    Oh my gosh ENOUGH already with these stupd Republicans trying to stir stuff up so they can avoid discussing the ISSUES.

    I guess there must be some stuff they really don't want to talk about. Like George W. Bush, the economy, and the endless hopeless shameless Iraq War/Invasion.

    They will do anything to distract people from talking about stuff that really matters. Hopefully it will not work this time

    September 10, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  14. Jackie

    For heaven's sake...I hope woman are smarter than McCain and Palin give them credit for. Women do have brains...well, except for one in Alaska!

    September 10, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  15. Debra

    Obama should not have to apologize for someone else's words. Those words were not spoke on behalf of Obama!!!!!

    Sarah Palin was picked because she is a woman and a conservative.

    i could have lived with McCain being president but not Palin as VP. Her extreme conservative views scare me. I would like to be governed by my Democratic Party and you Republican's can have your's. Our country has put up with George Bush and his conservative cronnies and that went real well. By the way, Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton, the only thing they have in come is thier gender. She is a devisive figure and will further divide this country.

    September 10, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  16. milo

    I hope Obama completely ignores the whole thing.

    Seriously, doesn't ANYONE want the candidates to talk about the issues instead of irrelevant nonsense?

    September 10, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  17. Ralph Peoria, Il

    I think he should apologize to America for all the stupid things he has uttered over the years.
    Sure are a bunch of thin skinned "Tough Guys"

    September 10, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  18. Kathy, Andover

    Was it because a majority (if not all) of Palin's views are basically opposite of McCain's, so she could reel in the extreme right evangelicals for McCain? Seems pretty obvious.

    September 10, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  19. MR AMERICA

    She is not qualified to be dog catcher.

    The fake outrage is over the top this week!

    You all know what the guy meant. The GOP was touting pro-life: that and other evangelical views were a huge basis in her being chosen. He said it as a bad one-liner, but you all know what Fowler meant.

    September 10, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  20. james

    Lindsay Graham needs to climb back under the rock from whence he came. Obama doesn't have a connection to this person, and this is obviously another ploy to distract everyone from the REAL issues in this election. Way to go, CNN, keep posting these meaningless mud-slings as if they are somehow pertinent!

    September 10, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  21. Loretta

    Did Senator Obama say it? If not, he shouldn't have to apologize for it!!

    She should be directing her objection to this Carol Fowler person. We all have a right to voice our opinions just like the GOP elitist, right wing party.

    September 10, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  22. Steve A. , New Braunfels , Texas

    " Truth Squad " from a republican! from McBush campaign! this has got to be some kind of joke, a man who voted with Bush 91 percent of the time will lie 91 percent of the time. Please no PALIN/mccain , no more, OBAMA 08.

    September 10, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  23. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    DENOUNCE THIS GRAHAM, HOW ABOUT TELLING PALIN TO WATCH HER MOUTH AND NOT REFER TO OBAMA OUT OF HIS NAME. PALIN KNOWS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT.

    September 10, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  24. LeAnne

    ECONOMY? HEALTHCARE? OBAMA is the only one tackling the real issues. McCain is too busy defending Palin's drama of the day!

    September 10, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  25. Bruce

    Well. What other qualifications does she have?

    September 10, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
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