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. Amusing...

    Anyone else find it ironic that the "Palin Truth Squad" is exactly what it claims to be.... promoting Palin's Truth, rather than the reality that's been captured on tape and newspapers from 2000-2004?

    For example, I'm sure that they'll have some brilliant reason as to why, in 2000, the Mayor of Wasilla, one Sarah Palin, didn't object to the practice of making the victims of rape pay for the exam that would be necessary to collect legal evidence of the crime.

    This practice was defended by the Wasilla chief of police; he may have been appointed by one Sarah Palin.

    Also in 2000, Alaska was the state with the highest percentage of reported forced rape crimes by population. There's no doubt that Sarah Palin is pro-life, but to condone an atmosphere of pressure against reporting rape and possibly raising insurance rates for the victim...? She's SOMETHING, all right. But not a pig. That's an insult to pigs.

    But I'm sure this can all be explained away.

    September 10, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  2. Realistic

    The Repubs are more concerned about dead embryos than the 4,000 dead Americans they have left in the Iraqi desert.

    September 10, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  3. Virginia Voter

    Someone explain this to me –

    Having an abortion is murder, right?

    But flying around and popping shots at bears and wolves that are minding their own business is "sport" and not outright murder?

    Don't get me wrong, I think hunting is fair when the prey is afforded the same environment and the same circumstances by which to survive. When the hunter takes on an unfair advantage and basically gives the prey no chance to escape, that's not hunting, that's POACHING, and POACHING is, as far as I know, illegal in all 50 States and Canada.

    Someone please bring this to light! I'm not a PETA nut at all, but wolves and bears deserve the same "rights" being hunted in season as deer and other game, right?

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08 OR BUST

    September 10, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  4. Grace Needed

    Well, Senator Graham we've lost total respect for you also. How can you expect an apology for a comment NOT even made by the candidate, when your candidate (who we supported in 2000) would make the kind of despicable comments and endorse the kind of ads he has been using against Senator Obama after saying he wanted the Presidential race to be honorable and about the issues. You both have fallen fast and far. To think that Senator McCain NOW employs the same people who smeared his family in 2000 in South Carolina, shows that he will do anything to win, even sell his own soul and you my friend will have some accounting to do before the Lord some day. As for your speech and many others at your convention, you should be ashamed of yourselves! When our country is in such need of solutions, you offer sarcasm and cynicism. The whole lot of you makes me sick. I know Grace is Needed but it will have to come from God himself because you've simply drained my well of good will.

    September 10, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  5. TheTruthHurts

    Look. She has a right to run for whatever she wants to. I won't judge her priorities any more than a man. As a man, I'd run for president with 5 kids as long as I had the support network to do it. It would be a personal sacrifice, but I'd make it and I can't fault her for doing it. It's one of the MANY non-issues in this campaign.

    I don't want her as commander-in-chief, but it ain't because of her 5 kids.

    September 10, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  6. John Jon

    The GOP are going down for the count. There is no way on God's Green Earth that the Repugs and pitbulls are winning this one. Just look for yourself people. On every news venue online, its the same thing over and over again. People are fed up with the McCain/Palin garbage. Its slam dunk time come November. Obama/Biden by a landslide majority that no one will ever see for another 500 years.The GOP will be vanguished for many many years for what they have done to this country. My Tarot Card reading Grandmother says Bush will be prosecuted before the American Justice System. I hope shes right.

    September 10, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  7. TerryDO

    How pathetic are you Carol Fowler? Shame on you Ms Flowerl, shame on you indeed!

    How DARE you make such a degrading and sexist comment about Sarah Palin’s reproductive choices?

    How DARE you presume to know what reproductive choices Sarah Palin has made?

    How DARE you mock every woman in America who has faced the choice of abortion?

    How DARE you mock women and her personal choices?

    September 10, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  8. Frantz (Atlanta)

    Shut up Lindsey!

    September 10, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  9. MD

    Are the Republicans actually going to discuss issues or is it just going to one constant distraction until November? This is getting so ridiculous. All of the sudden McCain and Co. are uber-sensitive, despite smearing Obama with blatant distortions and just outright lies.

    September 10, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  10. Anyonmous

    "whose primary qualification seems to be that she hasn’t had an abortion.”

    I am mad at the chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party for saying that OK??? Not the Obama camp.

    SHE SAID IT not the GOP or BUSH or McCain or even OBAMA or BIDEN

    I can see the difference between Obama and these haters and his supporters.

    Unlike the OBAMA camp that sees the GOP or McCain behind every corner and in every shadow.

    I CAN THINK FOR MYSELF and don't need Sen Obama to tell me what is an issue and what to be upset about.

    September 10, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  11. GT in CA

    Why should we listen to this Republican hypocrite? No wonder the Republican brand is at an all time low.

    September 10, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  12. KATHY

    I , DON'T SEE A FLAG ON MC CAINS LAPEL, WHERE IS IT.

    September 10, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  13. What???

    Gimme a break!!

    Enough with all the denouncing and rebuking! We spend too much time off task and away from the issues that have real importance.

    This is OUTTA CONTROL!!!

    September 10, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  14. william

    God will Judge, so let everybody say Amen!

    September 10, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  15. j from ca

    Sally from Cali,
    What an idiot, if Sally was an "opportunist" she would have had an abortion. Dems have just gotten so stupid

    September 10, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  16. Perla

    The McSame campaign knows their Veep candidate is deeply flawed. It's obvious they are trying to put the Obama campaign (and the media) on the defensive, trying to make them afraid to ask hard questions about Palin's inadequacies and scandals.

    But it won't work. Keep it coming, Obama, Biden, Clinton, Rendell, et al. Probing for truth is not "negative" or smearing.

    September 10, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  17. Noracal

    Why would he deny the truth?This media outlet and the other msn are becoming complicit in the McCain fraud.

    September 10, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  18. Sarah L., Fayetteville, AR

    I'm sorry, but Palin and McCain have done nothing but disparage Senator Obama for the last two weeks. The WHOLE republican convention was hate-filled and insulting. Maybe McCain should apologize for Palin's comments about community organizers. Afterall, the candidates are responsible for every little thing that everyone else on the planet says about their opponent, right?

    I think there's a saying about heat and kitchens. I'm sure it would be acceptable because it doesn't include the word "lipstick" which, apparently, is off limits. But, I suppose one could say it was sexist because of the word kitchen.

    By the way, I am a white girl from a small town who can drink beer and shoot guns with the the best of them–AND I would rather kiss a skunk's behind than vote for McCain/Palin

    September 10, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  19. John Jon

    CNN, why no comments on this ""Judge warned Palin in 2005 to back off brother-in-law's job"" Apparantly, the allegations are true and has been substanciated. Why isn't there a comment area on this story? Coem on CNN, wheres your sense of fair play. Give it up.

    September 10, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  20. Valerie - North Carolina

    Sarah Palin's daughter, at age 17, had the CHOICE to have this baby. I want my granddaughter to have her choice should she find herself pregnant. Palin and all the other far-right evangelicals are free to make choices they feel are correct for them and I want the same for my family.
    A marriage between two seventeen high schools seniors with a baby on the way will be a difficult marriage to sustain. It is my sincere hope that they are able to manage it and settle into a good and happy life.

    But, do not attempt to force your far-right thinking on others. We are an intelligent, educated family and we will decide what is right for us.

    Senior Southern Independent Lady

    September 10, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  21. ree

    It was a terrible thing to say. Obama said children are off limits. I don't think he staff heard or just don't care what he said. Maybe he changed his mind like he seems to be doing.

    LynnE your comment was very nice. Abortion should not have been an option. I give Sarah alot of credit for not having an abortion.

    September 10, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  22. Larry-Minn.

    I cant believe that people dont realize that stuff that comes out of their mouth starts in their brains. So if you didnt mean what you said then you should have been able to stop it. This includes the lipstick slam by Obama along with the abortion slam discussed in this story.,

    September 10, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  23. WA Hill supporter

    Keep up the TRUTH squad. No apologies for TRUTH. They are using Palin for their agenda. She and her family are nothing but pawns.

    September 10, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  24. Pat from Cali

    There are so many more qualified Republican women who could step in in a heart beat as president who do not have all that excess drama that Palin has. So why does Sarah have to be our savior.

    Why? Because McCain wants the controversy so that he can distract voters from the real issues in this campaign.

    We need to educate our children so they know why they should not have sex before they get married, so they won't get pregnant, so they won't die from a horrible 4 letter STD.

    September 10, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  25. maynard hopkins wi

    this would be something that Obama and his followers would say.

    the Dems are hurting even have old Bill CLINTON stomping for him now.

    September 10, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
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