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. catmom

    Oh Republicans please !! Get a grip. Campaign on what and how you plan to make a change from the past eight years under Republican leadership and quit playing games. WE the AMERICAN people need to know who this person is that McCain has chosen to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Nothing but distraction. Perhaps if Governor Palin would grant interviews then people wouldn't be talking about her. I also wonder where all these women were when McCain said the same statement when referring directly to Senator Obama? Right wing radio stations and Fox talk shows have been doing the same thing to Obama and his wifefor the past 18 months. Where is the outrage. There is no smear going on. This is just Republicans attempt to distract people on how bad this country is doin under Republican leadership.

    September 10, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  2. Matt

    Here we go again. Republicans trying to win the Presidential election on "smoke and mirrors" again. WAKE UP AMERICA !

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    September 10, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  3. Joe Regis

    Give me a break, McCain – Palin is a fraud.

    September 10, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  4. Anna

    Why should someone have to take responsibility for someone else's comments? Yes, Sen Obama is the leader of the Democratic Party but to have to take responsibility for everything everyone in the Party says.
    Who would get anything done?

    I do agree it was a lame and highly insensitive thing to say.

    The DNC is having a blowout year, I tell ya. I used to be one of em, for many years.

    September 10, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  5. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    oh come on ... if the Republicans whine any more they should serve cheese with it ...

    This is politics at the national level. McCain promised a high-minded campaign, forgot that he did, hired Cheney's close friend and multiple Rove-clones and started with the nasty ads .... then smirked that Obama should develop a sense of humor.

    Now the Republicans can't take the heat ... any little comment leads to fainting with shock and hysterical comments.

    Tell me why its perfectly fine for McCain to call Senator Clinton's plan a "pig with lipstick" but then be outraged when Obama uses the same phrase? Hypocrites all! It was Saint Sarah that pointed out that she was a bulldog with lipstick ... now she's just a "mother of five" and "poor little old me ..."

    September 10, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  6. annette

    Attention to all Democratic supporters lets not buy into the meda hype re the Mccain vp pick, she's all hat and no cattle. If the media wanted to there is a lot more fodder in mccain's pick for vp. she actually give soccer moms/ all moms a very bad rap. this lady is no saint she has a rather shady background,in terms of being all that's pure sweet and innocent , the big issue here is about RACIAL POLITICS, AND SHE KNOWS HOW TO PLAY THAT WILL,even without mccain. as old saying if it doesn't come out in the wash it will show up in the rinse,
    Dear Senator Obama and all supporters just stay focused on the end game, foget the distractions. All you so called journalists stay on your game stop giving America this garbage politics, we need facts /truth about this country of ours, STOP- STOP-STOP.

    September 10, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  7. TonyS

    I love how CNN qualifies everyone who comes out against Obama as a "McClain Surrogate" or has to add a little negative snippet here or there.

    September 10, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  8. Carmen

    Hey, Lindsey Graham, what exact qualifications does Palin have for the VP spot (without inundating me with BS)? Because this "blinded partison [person]" doesn't see any.

    Stop making Palin a victim, she's not. She's unqualified and a pathetic choice.

    September 10, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  9. Deborah

    Get campaign back on track???????????????????? Are you kidding me???? Let's look at who got it off track! I'll give the Republicans one thing, they are good at running a divisive, nasty campaign and getting the media to buy into it. I am almost 60 years old so I have seen this many many times. I just pray that this time the American people won't fold. .....and the angrier you make people like me the more money I give to the Obama/Biden campaign.

    September 10, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  10. REPUBLICAN HYPOCRISY DEFINED

    ROLE MODEL #1:

    Jamie Lynn Spears was savaged by the far rabid right religious fascists. She was pregnant at 16, and later married. She was presented as the poster child of “moral decay” in America. Her mother Lynn Spears was not spoken of very kindly either.

    ROLE MODEL #2:

    Stay with me while I outline a hypothetical situation. A 17 year old teenager will marry in November, 6 months pregnant after ignoring lifelong teachings of "abstinence only" as teenage birth control. The wedding will take place in the Rose Garden and hosted by Bush complete with helicopters hovering just outside the White House no fly zone. Sometime in December the little “blessing” will arrive, perhaps vying for the first New’s Year’s baby. Now, I can only imagine the paparazzi mob scene next May when the mother actually graduates from high school and the price of the resultant shots of her in Senior ‘09 regalia. What would the rabid right say about the hypothetical mother in this case?

    So, to recap. For those of you out there that do not understand the definition of Republican hypocrisy, please reread the first two paragraphs until you figure it out.

    September 10, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  11. jm from sc

    Obama is not responsible for what Flower said. Graham should call on McCain to denounce some of the lies written in palin's speech as well as the republican pandering during their convention on last week.

    September 10, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  12. Victoria Anderson - Seattle, Washington

    heck no. tell him to denounce all the stuff he said about Obama...People always want Obama t denounce everything he say, but McShame never do. I'm glad Obama didn't say sorry to Sarah. Forget her......

    September 10, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  13. Don

    "only blinded partisan people" can appreciate Palin’s qualifications

    September 10, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  14. SARAH AND SEXISM

    Since the members of the Republican party are constantly accusing the Democrats of being sexist. Please outline just what the Republican party calls SEXISM.
    See, Sarah I learned last night that I was a member of the “angry left” from President Bush as proclaimed from the White House. So I am not wanting to be confrontational in any way. This poor 57 year old white male left wing-nut, just needs a few updates on the Republican definition of sexism, since I am angry and stupid would you mind if for my record keeping, we called it Republican Sexism Rules V1.01 just so I can separate it from wing-nut V1.00?

    So, if I were to make a statement such as:

    Sarah, “Show us the smile that won you the Miss Congeniality title in the Miss Wailla Contest” that would not be sexist because it is a fact that you were indeed Miss Congeniality. However, Republicans find such factual statements to be sexist, according to your new BFF, Carly.

    Now, bear with Sarah, I am slow. It may take me a time or two to get the hang of the new Republican version of sexism. Here are a few of the Republican examples I have recently observed.

    1. Rush Limbaugh when making the announcement of your selection, said that there was now a “BABE” on the ticket.

    2. Pat Buchanan on MSNBC last Friday described you as a “GIRL”.

    3. Newt Gingrich listed “BEAUTY” as one of your qualifications for VP last Friday on Fox News.

    4. McCain after reading your name from what appeared to be a note card, was seen apparently perusing your "resume" when introducing you to the American public.

    5. Last night there was a Republican issued, therefore sanctioned, photo of you, Laura Bush and Cindy McCain all in a nice quiet relaxed setting, so nothing would bother your "PRETTY LITTLE HEADS", I am fine with that, but since the other two were spouses, should there not have been a set of testes in your chair by the name of Todd, while you were out discussing rifles with Dick?

    So, to recap for me Sarah:

    Would you please send me a photo of you in the swim suit competition taken during the Miss Wailla contest? See, there I go again. That is actually a factual statement. I warned you these new Republican sexist definitions were going to confuse me. So, perhaps you should sign it, ’BABE’.

    September 10, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  15. Annie

    What a shame that the Democrats don't seem to be able to do much more than be critical of the Governor in terms relating to her sex. But it isn't a shock since those supporting Obama did the same to Hillary Clinton. The major rumors relating to her lieing about her last son and it being her daughter's, about her morals because of her daughter's pregnancy, whether she can be a mom and still be VP, and especially the denigration of all those who hold the office of Mayor or Governor and trying to belittle the job in their need to belittle Palin. It seems that the refrain about "Can Palin stand up to the Russians" should be rephrased and asked "Can Obama and the Democrats stand uip to the Russians if they have to trash a VP candidate in such a manner and eem so afraid of her nomination?

    September 10, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  16. Obama will help everyone

    Maybe the was not tactful but the McCain campaign is pulling the wool over America's eyes. No, Obama should not "talk to his people". McCain cries like a baby and expect to run his campaign by tell Obama to quiet the democrats when ever he feel scorn. YOU DO RUN THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN! And by the way, why can't Palin talk to the press on her own?????

    September 10, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  17. Rodham Democrat

    Sen. McCain has paved the way for this presidential election to be consumed by lies and smears.

    He and Gov. Palin call every remark sexist when it doesn't suit their political benefit, they are lying about Gov. Palin's record in Alaska and attack the media when the media expose the truth, and are smearing Sen. Obama with lies that are easily disproved.

    Sen. McCain should apologize for opening this contest to slanderous comments.

    September 10, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  18. Laura

    Go on! Keep the talk away from the real issues :(

    September 10, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  19. Eric

    As soon as THE REPUBLICANS apologize for the $407 BILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT.

    September 10, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  20. Jason, Los Angeles

    Well, I may not be a politician, but since all these jokers work for us:

    I call on McCain to denounce Palin. She has consistently shown herself to be a threat to our country. McCain's choice says a lot about his judgment and as someone who pays his salary, I'd like an apology. His choosing Palin has distracted this election from the issues that matter and he seems content to keep us talking about the wrong things.

    September 10, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  21. pat C.

    FOR GODS SAKE...REPUBLICANS SHUT THE HELL UP! YOU ARE A BUNCH OF WHINERS AND CAN DISH IT OUT BUT SURE CAN'T TAKE IT. I AM SICK....SICK...SICK.....OF YOU!!!!!!!

    September 10, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  22. annette

    to Senator John Mccain stop hiding behind your vp ,man -up take control of your campaign Stop using women to front for you. are you afraid of something, how about some straight talk about this country's future, and what do you really plan to do about. you should be careful who you surround yourself with, remember a snake is a snake 24/7.

    September 10, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  23. No Hillary = No Obama

    Wrong. It's attracted this woman voter. Arrogance knows no bounds.

    September 10, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  24. EX -Democrat now for McCain

    It will not be the last time Obama puts his foot in his mouth! Obama is a Rookie try to play with the big boys. Can't you people tell it from his School boy pep rally speechs Obama makes. The Democrats know now they made a big mistake they should have voted for Hillary Clinton for President! That s why were voting for McCain and Palin!! Go McCain 2008!!!

    September 10, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  25. Diane

    Lindsey Graham – Obama can come out and condemn Fowler's statement when McCain and Palin stop telling lies about him. When will that be?

    September 10, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
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