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. republicans hate america

    We democrats will denounce abortion and your phony outrage over it when you republicans denounce the 4,200 troops and 100,000 civilians you are responsible for butchering over a lie and oil

    September 10, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  2. Jeri

    You must remember Mr. Obama is not responsible for what others say....you forget we still have some free speech in this country and the "quilty" person apologized for her own remarks...“only blinded partisan people” could demand that Obama denounce Fowler’s remark.

    Get a grip...people are fed up with the old GOP garbage...

    One could argue that at the elderly age of 44 (and in a high public office) a responsible couple would have used fool proof contraception.

    So where does that leave the USA, if God forbid these two get elected and McCain dies in office?

    Would an elderly pregnancy in the VP lead to gestational diabeties or toximia and thus render her medically unfit to take over..would one go into labor in the middle of a crisis??

    Is it any of our business what kind of birth control any one chooses?
    In a normal situation I'd say Hell No! Yet with the fate of the nation in ones hands I say it is fair game and one McCain opened the door to with his foolish VP choice...one of the very same arguments those of the Moron Majority used to squash the ERA years ago..and now you defend it??

    Millions of us choose to have our babies and thousands of us have special needs children.

    But very few of us are in a position to chop off funding for those with special needs which this farce of a mother and politician has already done in Alaska.

    I believe it is Karmic justice she gets to reap what she sowed for all those in need at home...and I would dare anyone to question that verdic from on high...imagine that...some of us liberal Dems indeed do believe in a higher power.

    So stop your vicious yapping and go cancel your subscriptions to Oprah..

    September 10, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  3. Fort Collins,Colorado

    Yeah, Graham, right! It scares the hell out of me that you, leiberman and the candidate McCain could run the country....just like Rove, Bush and Cheney. All of you are a bunch of cronies that have ruined our country and it will take a couple of presidents to try and fix the mess you have created. And you are expecting an apology...YOU,SIR, HAVE ALOT OF NERVE!!!!!

    September 10, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  4. Nevada dude

    EVERYBODY NEEDS TO GET OVER IT. POLITICS IS A CONTACT SPORT AND THERE IS NO PLACE FOR THIN SKINNED "HOCKEY MOMS" WHEN THE FUR STARTS TO FLY. IF YOU CANT TAKE IT, GO HOME, AND LEAVE THE HARD WORK TO THE GROWN UPS. IF YOU AINT TOUGH LIKE HILLARY THEN STAY OUT OF POLITICS!!

    September 10, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  5. TyWebb

    I thought Lindsey was a woman's name?

    September 10, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  6. don't get fooled

    McCain and Palin are proven liars.

    Their campaign is based on to distract americans from the real problems.

    Sorry repubs it won't work this time.

    McCains change is all about changing from Bush to McCain, nothing more.

    Obama / Biden 08

    September 10, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  7. Ted:Canada

    HOCKEY MOM FOR PRESIDENT

    Had we known! We have millions of Hockey Moms in Canada most with more education than Sarah. We even have millions of Hockey Fathers and Hockey kids.

    In fact we can give you all kinds of HOCKEY people.

    It is about time “HOCKEY RULES THE USA”!!!! Baseball is boring!!!

    Since your political system has digressed to “Hockey parents” as a key qualification to run your country, we would like to suggest that Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto become your new White House.

    All Republicans in favor say “Hockey Mom”

    Wake up America! You look really silly from up here!!!

    September 10, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  8. NClaw441

    Who says she cannot do both?

    September 10, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  9. Marc PDX

    The OBSESSION Continues...
    Sarah Palin is simply McCain's running mate. Why are liberals so obsessed with her? If they wanted a woman running mate they could have called for Obama to pick Hillary. Instead there was hardly a murmur. And the basic comments of Obama's supporters to Hillary's was "just shut up and vote". You did this to yourselves. Why don't you get back to touting your political positions and why you think they're better than McCain's instead of wasting your time trying to find flaws in McCain's female running mate? It's just making you look bad. Really!

    September 10, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  10. Survival of the Fittest

    CNN: please post: McCain pushed woman in wheel chair:

    Six people present have written statements describing what they saw. According to the accounts, McCain waved his hand to shoo away Jeannette Jenkins, whose cousin was last seen in South Vietnam in 1970, causing her to hit a wall.

    As McCain continued walking, Jane Duke Gaylor, the mother of another missing serviceman, approached the senator. Gaylor, in a wheelchair equipped with portable oxygen, stretched her arms toward McCain.

    "McCain stopped, glared at her, raised his left arm ready to strike her, composed himself and pushed the wheelchair away from him," according to Eleanor Apodaca, the sister of an Air Force captain missing since 1967.

    McCain's staff wouldn't respond to requests for comment about specific incidents.

    September 10, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  11. HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY

    YES EXACTLY WHAT I WAS THINKING. INSTEAD OF HER TRYING TO ACT SO TOUGH, SHE SHOULD BE TAKING SPECIAL CARE OF HER OWN SPECIAL CHILD

    September 10, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  12. You Can Run But You Can Not Hide!

    Shame on you Graham! You and Joe Lieberman are acting as propagander Minister for McCain. Perhaps Iraqi's former information Tarikaziz (sp) has cast his magic spell on you guys while you were visiting Iraq. You are even worst than him because he sometime was able to acknowledge the truth but you Graham and Lieberman cannot even write the word "truth" how much more speaking it!

    Shame Shame Shame on you for being such small people!

    September 10, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  13. mary

    I AM SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DISGUSTED THAT EVERY TIME SENATOR OBAMA SAY ANYTHING THE REPUBLICANS SHOUT AS LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUD AS THEY IF IFCOULD SEXISM,SEXISM, SEXISM OR IF SOMEONE ELSE SAY ANY THING THEY SHOUT AS LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUD AS THE COULD DENOUNCE,DENOUNCE ,DENOUNCE. WHY CAN,T THEY GET TO THE ISSUES THAT THE PEOPLE ARE CONCERN ABOUT . THE LAST TWO ELECTIONS WAS WON BY DISTRACTING THE PEOPLE FROM THE REAL ISSUE S.SANATOR GRAHAM AND THE REST OF THEM NEED TO BE VOTED OUT WHEN THEIR TERMS END.THEY SERVE NO PURPOSE FOR THE PEOPLE CONCERNS.

    September 10, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  14. Erika, KS

    Gee, Sally,

    There are literally millions of women all over the world who take care of babies, children, husbands, themselves, a household, church, social activities, and also work outside the home themselves. Woman aren't nearly as irresponsible or as stupid as you imply. Working mothers ini particular are quite amazing. They organize, multi-task, get things accomplished.

    Palin would be a great role model as a real working mom at the highest level. This wouldn't be just lip service. She's no more of an "opportunist" than anyone else who is trying to better herself in the corporate world; move up the corporate ladder.

    The fact that she has a special needs baby, means the baby is neglected because the mother works? You are not being very logical. You are clearly one of those women who hate other women. I used to work with a mother who had a special needs baby. This woman did a great job at work, and I'm sure at home too.

    It's women like you that give women a bad name! The fact that you're a woman makes it even worse. It's the worse kind of double standard. Sarah is NOT neglecting her baby. Enough of this nonsense.

    September 10, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  15. Denise

    I am now convinced Lindsey Graham has got to go, so does John McCain. They are desparate, they are losing their morals and distracting us from real issues. If Frank Laufer, son of the Evangelical movement, can support Barack, then I will too. We Christians have been kicked around by these people long enough. The only person with Character in this campaign has been Mr. Obama. McCain wants a gender sexism issue, and is working hard to create one so that low information voters give them the sympathy vote. I am no longer a puppet!

    September 10, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  16. Typical White Person

    Bobby Kennedy had 11 children and NO ONE asked him whether or not his children would be taken care of when he decided to run for president. And wasn't his wife pregnant during the primaries???

    Sally, you are setting women back decades if you truly believe that a woman must give up everything else when she reproduces and you are setting back father's rights by decades if you truly believe that fathers cannot be fit caregivers for their children.

    September 10, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  17. Democracynow2008

    The GOP wants Obama to do this and that Graham should just stop trying to get the Obama team to takeback what they said.
    Lets get on with the real issues like what is McCain going to do for the American Economy ? Answer nothing.
    He and his supporters would rather divert to non issues then real issues affecting Americans in this country.
    Obama and Team stand strong because the GOP attack dogs will try to get you to say and do nothing in these next few weeks.
    Hit the GOP with issues like the war Economy Education and point out how the McCain teams is shallow and has no solutions to our current problems none .
    Obama/Biden 08

    September 10, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  18. jimmy

    I JUST CANT IMAGINE HOW THIS SALLY FROM CALI COULD
    CALLOUSLY CALL GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN AS AN OPPORTUNIST AND NEGLECTING HER DOWN SYNDROME
    CHILD. HOW THE HELL DOES YOUR LITTLE PINHEAD EVEN IMAGINE WHAT WE THINK ABOUT ANYTHING . THE ONLY THING
    OBVIOUS HERE IS YOUR LACK OF RATIONAL IDEATION. IT IS ALSO OBVIOUS YOU ARE A FAILURE TRYING TO FEEL BETTER BY DOWN TALKING A SUCCESSFUL MOM AND GOVERNOR
    AND DOING SUCH A GOOD JOB OF IT , 65 TO 80 PERCENT OF
    ALASKA CITIZENS APPROVE OF HER PERFORMANCE AS GOVERNOR OF THE LARGEST STATE IN THE NATION..
    GET A LIFE OR GO BACK TO GRADE SCHOOL.

    September 10, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  19. Kim

    Are you kidding me Graham so Obama has to condemn every comment some in the DP says because you say so. Get a life

    September 10, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  20. Bill from Ohio

    Sally from Cali, obviously you are not the parent or sibling of a special needs child, if you were you would know that if given a true chance to possibly make a difference for the families of all special needs childrens you would do whatever you could. Seeing a child go thru those things, gives you a deeper understanding and you often see children even worse off then yours in the many trips to the hospitals and doctors. Speaking from experience, as long as you knew you had family to help, you would do whatever you could to make a true difference for others in the same situation instead of the way it have been for decades – through both parties. To me, someone that has been there, her act shows she must truely care for the greater good.

    September 10, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  21. Citizen AJ - Northern Virginia

    Why should Senator Obama or his campaign ask anyone to apologize for their comments on the republicans? Negative, hateful, lies have been spread about Senator Obama and his wife and no one, NO ONE on the republican side stands up and ask the author of these attacks to apologize. I agree with Mrs. Fowler, she was chosen because she did not abort her baby and that has help to energize what was a lackluster candidate and party, a party full of lies and deciet and sadly, the American people keep propping them up so they continue – "business as usual!"

    September 10, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  22. Obama/Biden 08

    Only an idiot would consider Palin to be qualified to be vice president. Oh, I'm sorry, I guess that will be taken as a sexist comment. I couldn't possibly be doubting her, I must be a sexist (rolls eyes).
    Give me a break, people.

    September 10, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  23. LS West Chester, PA

    Only blinded partisan people” could fail to see that McCain chose her based on her right wingnut, fire and brimstone beliefs, NOT because of her integrity or experience. She is a serial liar. Go to factcheck.org. Nothing they say is true, even when they quote factcheck.org in their latest commercial. Why hasn't this woman been spending as much time as possible with her son that is being deployed to Iraq tomorrow? I can't imagine being away from my children so much. The Repubs are so hypocritical on this issue. They are all about family values. Does not having an abortion constitute "family values"? NO! Putting your family first, instead of your ego and political aspirations, and keeping your finger on the pulse of your family, and being there when you are needed shows "family values". Being even slighly available for your 8 year old, your pregnany teenage daughter and you special needs child should be what's most important to her. I don't get her and her appeal.

    September 10, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  24. independantMom

    More phony outrage from Graham. The McCain camp makes up an insult and demands an apology. Give me a break. McCain has dishonored himself by using this tactic. The lies that McCain/Palin spew forth are astonishing.

    And CNN behaves disgracefully by pushing this story along.

    September 10, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  25. Sarah C

    Ridiculous!

    If McCain had to apologize or denounce every stupid thing other Republicans said (maybe beginning with the Georgian House Member's recent remark that Obama was "uppity"), then he'd be spending ALL his time apologizing.

    The other candidates have been dealing with outrageous smears for months, or even years – Obama's probably been dealing with more than most. What about all those people in politics who were saying things like, "He'd never have gotten here if he wasn't white"?

    But Palin can't handle that? Or is it that McCain can't afford to talk about stuff that really matters, so he pretends his VP pick is an overly-sensitive wilting flower?

    September 10, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
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