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. aware

    Obama has more than that comment to apologise for. :(

    Obama is the guy who spoke out against care for the helpless survivors of abortions, and who said, he wouldn't want his daughters to suffer the consequences of their mistake (if they became pregnant).

    Obama needs to read Psalm 139! God said he knew us before we were formed in our mother's wombs! For a Christian, abortion is just plain wrong at any stage of gestation!

    The Palin family works together, prays together and stays together! They accept the challenges they face together and do not take the easy way out! :)

    McCain/Palin 08! They will deliver the authentic reform that Americans can believe in! :)

    September 10, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  2. Karen

    CNN has totally lost it. Their bias for Obama, parodied in SNL, is coming through. As Obama has gotten losts of love from the media for being a victim for a year, now the media is insulted? Give me a break.

    September 10, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  3. CeeJay1

    Seriously people, are we now going to hold each candidate responsible for everything said by any supporter? Are we now going to focus the campaign–once again–on the politics of personal destruction? Are we now going to spend tens-of-thousands of dollars on ads about "lipstick on a pig" and implying that any statement critical of Sarah Palin is sexist simply because she is female?

    As our country goes down the tubes. As our young men & women die in Iraq & Afghanistan, as our economy tanks and our reputation in the world sinks into the abyss–we, fellow citizens are going to focus on personalities and persecution rather than issues, policies, and proposed solutions...

    Sad, isn't it?

    September 10, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  4. David

    Graham shut up!!!!!!!!

    September 10, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  5. WHO?

    South Carolina doesn't listen to anyone.

    September 10, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  6. aware

    As a Christian, ma has more than that comment to denounce! :(

    Obama is the guy who spoke out against care for the helpless survivors of abortions, and who said, he wouldn't want his daughters to suffer the consequences of their mistake (if they became pregnant).

    Obama needs to read Psalm 139! God said he knew us before we were formed in our mother's wombs! For a Christian, abortion is just plain wrong at any stage of gestation!

    The Palin family works together, prays together and stays together! They accept the challenges they face together and do not take the easy way out! :)

    McCain/Palin 08! They will deliver the authentic reform that Americans can believe in! :)

    September 10, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  7. julie mother of 5

    Palin's address at the convention was awful, no substance on issues just personal attacks. Watching the Republican crowd cheer with excitement over them was very strange. Don't the Republican's want something more from their candidate and VP, they kept saying Country First but all I saw was the same old Dirty Politics and distractions and distortions by this party. Republican's don't you want more ? We have alot of problems in this country which needs to be fixed, Please lets talk about the issues and the Media don't you be distracted either give us the facts find out which statements they are stating are true or false so we the voter can make a smart choice. The media should also stop giving either party the platform unless it's about issues and none of this garbage we have been seeing lately. Come on Guys and Gals we are better then this show the kids we can be grownups.

    September 10, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  8. The Oracle

    Lol. I wonder if Graham felt this way wen Obama's wife and record were getting RAPED!!!!!! proverbially, and literally!!!!!

    September 10, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  9. The world is watching!

    This has gotten a little out of hand. Adults...Politicians.....Public figures.....Role Models........Governor...Senators.......Is this what we want our children to watch on TV? I have to cover my kids ears or change the channel when CNN comes on. The smut you idiots are putting out their is crazy.
    I'm speaking to both parties. Grown men and women acting like the world belongs to them and noone can have a piece of it. This is America. The country I'm proud of have fought for. Everyone is watching around the world. The first few years of GWB's presidency was a total flop viewed around the world. Do you want to be potrayed like that? Have some pride in America and not just for yourselves. Americans have REAL issues going on in their lives as well. Promote how you will help fix it. Ask people at your rallies how they still struggle even though they were given a stimulas check? Ask the man or woman at the gas pump how much they spent on pump two?

    September 10, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  10. ex-Republican for Obama

    OMG! I SOOO agree with you, Sally! She is an opportunist...family values and the conservative right wing?? What a bunch of hipocrites!! Instead of grandstanding, she should have been talking to her pregnant teen daughter! Like this girl has an opinion about her pregnancy! She would derail her mother's career if she even voiced a negative opinion! and that young father.... a shotgun wedding for sure now...and in less than 3? months!!!

    Actually, I am terrified of this woman and I am ashamed of my party right now! She isn't even allowed to answer questions to the media...they are afraid of "messing up" her appeal right now!

    September 10, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  11. aware

    As a Christian, Obama has more than that comment to denounce!

    Obama is the guy who spoke out against care for the helpless survivors of abortions, and who said, he wouldn't want his daughters to suffer the consequences of their mistake (if they became pregnant).

    Obama needs to read Psalm 139! God said he knew us before we were formed in our mother's wombs! For a Christian, abortion is just plain wrong at any stage of gestation!

    The Palin family works together, prays together and stays together! They accept the challenges they face together and do not take the easy way out! :)
    McCain/Palin 08! They will deliver the authentic reform that Americans can believe in! :)

    September 10, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  12. HiFi

    "Appreciate her qualifications"? Like what, her "executive" position of a podunk town in the middle of nowhere? Her blind ambition to rule "the great state" of Alaska? To cut anyone off at the knees who doesn't believe in her far right politics? Because she's a "hockey mom"?

    I'm starting to believe the American people really are stupid...this isn't "American Idol", it's the future of our country. Palin Truth Squad–now there's an oxymoron.

    September 10, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  13. Chris B.

    You watch the media not report the farce that is the Republican ticket and strategy and, then, after it is all over, tell everyone how they were duped. Shameless!

    September 10, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  14. billy joe jeffries

    Right on sally from cali!

    I want to know who was supervising her pregnant teenager and her "I don't want kids" boyfriend. probably Republicans.

    Why isn't he being brought up on statutory rape charges?

    September 10, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  15. capitalist

    sally from cali

    so what about joe biden, when his wife and daughter were killed in a wreck and his two sons were hurt, he didn't give up his job to take care of his family..he got sworn-in in their hospital room!!....but thats ok huh? i can't think of a situation where your family would be in MORE need than that....but he's a liberal and so its ok....right

    September 10, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  16. Raul

    Does Mrs Palin have any other virtue?
    Because everything she said in the RNC was a lie

    September 10, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  17. Maddie, Hartford, Ct.

    Let's just get down to the basics and forget this stupid pettiness! I honestly didn't think McCain was such a cry baby, little whimp before this election. My God, his macho, tough guy image has gone to hell in a hand basket!

    September 10, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  18. Ron

    I wonder when or IF McCain will discuss the issues instead of distracting Americans with the continued utter nonsense.

    This is a standard republican ploy.

    September 10, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  19. Nate St. Paul

    "only blinded partisan people” could fail to appreciate Palin’s qualifications.

    Did he really say that??? I mean really. That's completely upsurd. Her qualifications are a house of cards. It's smoke and mirrors, spin, and they feel if they say it enough it will become truth. If she's so experienced and qualified why has she been hiding from the media in a "Cone of Silence." Anybody can run around giving the same speech someone else wrote for you. For all her qualifications, experience, and courage she sure has been afraid to face her critics and answer questions regarding her "experience."

    This is about perceptions and control of those perceptions. I'm not interested in perceptions- I was to know what reality is. By hiding Palin it's obvious that the republicans don't feel she is ready to face they media. They have admitted that she is not ready but want to create the perception that she is. It's deception. If she cannot face her critics or the media how is she going to be a Vice President of the United States of America. The reality is that she is not qualified, if they let her come out and face the media she'll change the perception they are desperately trying to portray.

    If she was truly experienced and qualified she would have interviewed half a dozen times by now, and been on the campaign trail on her own. This is a joke.

    September 10, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  20. Solomon Freeman

    Serah Palin should first try succeeding with his family test before ever thinking of running for the highiest office in Earth.

    Americans are far more thoughtful than McCain and Palin could ever think or know.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 10, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  21. Rose

    I Respect John McCain, I Vote Barack Obama.

    September 10, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  22. Baylady

    Sally.....I couldn't have said it better myself....

    September 10, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  23. Adam

    Graham wants Obama to get this campaign back on track? Has he been watching the crap his party has been putting out there lately?

    September 10, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  24. p

    How is this news? Who cares what Graham demands? Not every press release, conference call, or press conference contains news. Show a little discretion. CNN is supposed to be a news organization, but like the other "news channels," often seems to be a press release clearing house.

    September 10, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  25. MCSAME/PALIN = GIMMICKS FIRST/COUNTRY SECOND

    McCain /Palin = Gimmicks first/Country second, as indicated below, just more Republican liies.

    FactCheck.org comments:

    “A McCain-Palin ad has FactCheck.org calling Obama's attacks on Palin "absolutely false" and "misleading." That's what we said, but it wasn't about Obama.
    Our article criticized anonymous e-mail falsehoods and bogus claims about Palin posted around the Internet. We have no evidence that any of the claims we found to be false came from the Obama campaign.

    The McCain-Palin ad also twists a quote from a Wall Street Journal columnist. He said the Obama camp had sent a team to Alaska to "dig into her record and background." The ad quotes the WSJ as saying the team was sent to "dig dirt."

    With its latest ad, released Sept. 10, the McCain-Palin campaign has altered our message in a fashion we consider less than honest. The ad strives to convey the message that FactCheck.org said "completely false" attacks on Gov. Sarah Palin had come from Sen. Barack Obama. We said no such thing. We have yet to dispute any claim from the Obama campaign about Palin.”

    September 10, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
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