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. MikeH

    The comment was inappropriate, and should be called as such. Condemmed? No, it's not anywhere near as offensive as some of the lies in McCain's ads.

    By the Way, Barack, or one of his helpers, if you are reading this (if CNN doesn't censor me,) you ought to run with the 'Lipstick on a Pig" concept, don't back down, use it in commercials. Have the Pig stenciled with the words "McCain/Palin Presidential Campaign, and then introduce the lipstick tube with the words "Change you can believe in" on it, and apply it to the pig's lips. Or some version thereof.

    The most important thing is don't back down from using this phrase.

    September 10, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  2. C-Lo in Texas, Obama 08

    Why does Obama need to apologize to her, she is the Vice Presidential nominee or did someone forget. I support abortion and believe that abortion should be the right of the individual to choose. I don't tell anyone how to live their free will life and don't need anybody telling me how to live mine.

    September 10, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  3. Chris

    Who cares what Graham thinks

    September 10, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  4. John Conlon

    Senator Obama really needs a week off to kick back and relax. The verbal flubs are coming faster than Bush could ever do......and that's saying something. He should thank Allah (his muslim faith....nice !) that CNN and MSNBC are so solidly in the tank for him . Without them he'd be 20 points in the hole by now.
    Where's the Comedy Channel chiming in on this onslaught of flubs , btw.

    September 10, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  5. MikeH

    Lindsey Graham is a Foot-Tappin' Michigan Airport Restroom type of Republican.

    September 10, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Sarah Palin chose to have that baby and now she chooses to neglect him. I, for one, think that is sad. Is it noble to choose to have a baby with special needs if you are too power hungry to care for it? This alone is why I loathe Sarah Palin.

    September 10, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  7. LNAB

    AND THE SILENCE from the DNC and their talking heads is simply deafening

    The Democratic Party...continuing to sell women down the river

    The eat their own

    September 10, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  8. Frank, MO

    Just look at the picture of these neo-cons. How stupid would we have to be to elect them again ?

    September 10, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  9. Cam

    Hey Lindsay Graham – does this mean McCain should also apologize for the Georgia Repulican who called the Obama's "uppity"?

    Lindsay Graham irritates me a lot. What a wannabe.....

    September 10, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  10. kennedy

    sally don't seperate your head from your brain. that is ill comment that does not only need an apology but it has got an apology so why try to hide under illusions. just like rolin martin defended wright and when obama denounced him he did too with all his theological perspective he realised wrong is wrong dont try to defend gabbage like that just call it what it is.

    September 10, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  11. Independent Voter

    McCain, you really do hang out with some wierdos.

    September 10, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  12. Sammy

    The personal lives and decisions of all presidential tickets since George Washington have been fair game. The McCain campaign chould say that Palin should be the first example of keeping hands off of personal lives and how political campaigns should be conducted. But dont insinuate that she should be treated differently than anyone else.

    Really all Obama has to say is "Senator McCain, should everyone treat Gov Palin any different than you treated Senator Clinton?"

    September 10, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  13. Redphilly

    Those very women who are so enthralled with Sarah Palin know about the back alley abortions of the past. They lived through it. The bleeding and the death. This is why I can't understand their enthusiasm. What do they think will happen if Palin gets into office? When she and McCain overturn Roe vs Wade we will be back in the dark ages. I don't like abortion. But I think it is between you and God. When God asks you when you get face to face with Him, and you will, why you killed His child, what are you going to say? I think you are just going to have a dumb look on your face and be speechless. But like I said it is between you and God. The government is not going to stand there with you pleading your case and it should be YOU personally who decides what to do aboutan unwanted pregnancy, not the government! If you love God you will not abort His gift. But McCain and Palin should not be allowed to have the luxury or the obligation of deciding what you do about it.

    The Republicans are trying to throw the Democrats off message and off track because they are afraid of the debates. Obama will trounce McCain, who can’t even pronounce the names of some of the world leaders. Biden will destroy Palin in any debate. This the Republicans know. So they are trying to head this off. The media keeps telling us that Obama is not talking about the problems that concern Americans. They are not paying attention. You know that many Caucasian people cannot hear a black person speak. Barack Obama IS constantly telling us what he is going to do when president. The debates will seal the deal!

    September 10, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  14. Anna

    Well, talking about sexist remarks!!!. I admire and respect Sarah Palin for what she has accomplished. I am a working mother who raised a magnificent son while working full time all my life. You may not like her positions and it is still your right to vote for whoever you prefer but making nasty, sexist and degrading comments about Palin's achievements does not help your candidate or "unite" the country.

    September 10, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  15. Tapping your feet is a 1st Amendment Right

    PRESENT!!!

    September 10, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  16. laurie

    If the repugs, including Palin herself, hadn't made such a big dang deal about her keeping her pregnancy ( as well as her daughter's) it would be unkind to bring it up by the democrats.... But she (and they) did... over and over.... especially in front of everyone at the convention....that makes it fair game..... ( I am not for abortion by the way).... but you reap what you sow.... better get that through your head Palin..... you seem to think it is okay to mouth off... you are going to have to start taking it a little better...without all the whining.

    September 10, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  17. Regina

    The Only time the subject of abortion comes up is at Election time .What about all the other things that are carnal, like lying, what about all the deceipt and secrecy ,disrepect for the aged who have given so much to this country, what about the disadvantaged, what about all the corruption in government, what about all the lobbyists, who suck the very life out of the Government of the People, by the people., and What about all our Veterans, who come home to a total uncaring government. What about the silly and self centered elected officials, who cannot come to grips with the real issues of this country. Talk about Hypocrits.!!!

    September 10, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  18. Lisa

    Sarah Palin needs to care for her child that she chose to have. It is not noble to have a child if you then choose to neglect the child. Oh, she would say that he is not being neglected because he is having his needs met by other people. I'm sure he is never hungry and wants for nothing. His needs just are not being met by his mother, and that is sad. I bet she has not been home once since the RNC. She has been on the campaign trail daily. Some mother you are Sarah Palin. I will never vote for you for anything. And you're never going to win any mother of the year awards...thats for dang sure.

    September 10, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  19. connie

    Yes, Sally, I am thinking the same thing.

    The whole thing is sad. I believe Sarah Palin in being used by the GOP. In their latest ad, they even have her looking like a victim. She may be a lot of things, but victim she is not.

    Obama needs to say: no comment or nothing at all. Let them drown in their phoney outrage.

    September 10, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  20. Maggie

    Sarah Palin has created her own media firestorm by being a walking contradiction. People need to READ more than just headlines and actually look at her. She cut funding for pregnant teens- but when she has one of her own its the best thing ever!
    She cut funding for disabled people but when she pops one out, she is one of them working hard for families with disabled kids! She changes the game and her policies/beliefs as she goes along. Its the party of convenience, not mavericks.
    I am so tired of people saying that they know nothing about Barack Obama – read people. Do a little research. Bills that he penned and sponsored, his education, his JUDGEMENT and LEADERSHIP. Sit down and make two columns, write down the major issues, and then where each candidate stands on them. This is ridiculous, and our country is poised at the point of no return.

    September 10, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  21. Family?

    Where does any body get the idea that Sarah can handle family and our country? She could not even see her daughter messing around? Please ! no excuses. All mothers that work and take care of family know where their children are and what they are doing.

    September 10, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  22. Ron Peoria, Il

    How come we don't hear the big tough Navy pilot talking for himself.

    I think the old Maverick has become a "Gutless Wonder".

    September 10, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  23. Ms. RDS

    Oh...STFU! Goodness, this Obama can not be responsible for every single thing that every democrat or supporter says.

    September 10, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  24. Sick of the fake controversies

    Fowler's comment would be inappropriate:

    IF right wing pundits hadn't spent the last few weeks making cracks about how if Palin were a democrat she would have not only aborted her baby but waited until it were born and committed infanticide

    IF every major political commentator hasn't been saying the McCain bounce is due to the moblization of the religious right that someone with souch a touching "pro-life" story brings

    IF Republicans hadn't suddenly resurrected abortion as a talking point at the exact same time Palin joined the ticket- using her baby as a bludgeon against their foes.

    It's abundantly clear that this is PRECISELY Palin's primary qualification to be on this ticket. Good for Fowler for telling the truth. I'm fed up with all the "outrage" from the GOP.

    September 10, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  25. shez1945@sbcglobal.net

    I'm still trying to come to terms with the anti-abortion, pro-war line of thought. Is life no longer precious for an 18 year old, a mother separated from her small children, a father returning to the war zone for the third time, or countless number of Bagdad citizens? Talk to me about pro-life when American soldiers are no longer asked to sacrifice theirs in a war that never should have been. I feel nauseated when the presidental candidate's acceptance speech is defined by the word FIGHT.

    September 10, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
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