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. freethinker in sc

    south carolina is a horrible place to live if you have a mind of your own. just the insinuation that you are an atheist can cause you to be the victim of a hate crime. believe me, most christians will be delighted to hurt you in order to defend their values. seems a bit hypocritical eh? there are alot of people like linsey graham here. the problem is alot of them are poor and they don't realise that republicans won't help them. they just want someone who believes in god and will impose god's will on everyone. republicans say obama will their taxes and they will not...ha....they are talking to their rich buddies when they say that. Obama will raise taxes, for the rich. I mean really, how much money do they need? But stupid rednecks will believe anything you say as long as you go to church. Carol Fowler should not apologize for trying to convince people to look past their bibles. I'm sure Linsey Graham is counting on republicans to vote based on this one issue.

    September 10, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  2. Carol

    I think McCain should step up and denounce the comments of Rep. Lynn Westmoreland from GA who called Barack and Michelle Obama uppity.

    September 10, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  3. jake, San Francisco, CA

    So anything said agains Palin cannot stand? It's either sexist or demeaning or not good for campaign material.. Does she think that this is a beauty pagent or what? This is politics, you can't take it, go babe sit your grand kid!

    To borrow a poster's words,
    McCain = null
    Palin = void
    null+void = invalid!

    September 10, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  4. HillarySupportersForObamaInCT

    The truth hurts. Of course that was one of the reasons she was picked, along with the fact that she was a woman. We true Hillary supporters are not fooled by Caribou Barbie (a kiss and a hug to whomever christened her that!). My body is not the property of the Rethuglicans and I resent them trying to have a woman tell me being pro-choice is wrong. All of the women I know are pro-choice and we are all voting Obama!

    September 10, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  5. Dal CA

    When is Graham going to ask his string puller McCain to explain his comments about pig and lipstick?
    When is McCain going to talk about how he is going to get the economy back on the track?
    Wars are going to be a burden on the economy unless we have a huge developments going on in the country.

    September 10, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  6. Denounce Your Faces

    Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum. One is senile and the other is just vile.

    September 10, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  7. Not a fan of the 'Cuda

    Obama probably will condemn this stupid comment. Unlike McCain, who just wrings his hand and says he can't control what others do – then has his sycophants remind us all what an honorable man he is.

    September 10, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  8. Alexander Vaul Vindur....Independent

    Oh come ON....are we seriously playing the 'I'm shocked and appalled' game again? Are these quotes really that disturbing?

    Let's look at this analytically. What type of message would have been given to social conservatives had Palin aborted her disabled child? Would that in any shape or form be REMOTELY attractive to the large evangelical base in this country? Of course not. Had she 'killed her fetus', she would appear to be a completely hypocritical (and *immoral*) Republican candidate. Was it 'politically incorrect' for Fowler to mention this? Perhaps...but that does not change the fact at how obvious it is, and to deny it is to deny the political rationality of the Republican base and why she was selected to be VP. Obviously she was not chosen just because she did not have an abortion (she was chosen because she's a woman and Hillary lost, not because she's qualified), that's simply the Republican reactionary spin on it. However, if she DID have the abortion, she would have NOT been picked, despite all her other political achievements, policy views, and who she is as a person. All of that would have been ignored had she decided the benefits of having her child were outweighed by the costs.

    One should never have to apologize for speaking the truth (perhaps that is why Republicans are becoming so offended at every utterance said by the Dems now?). What this country needs is a little less political correctness and a little more truth.

    September 10, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  9. Joseph, Los Angeles

    Why should Obama apologize for what someone else said? The republicans are really a sad case. Why don't talk about issues and how they plan to fix this broken government?

    Obama, ignore these people. Stay on message because they have no message!

    September 10, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  10. Mike

    The abortion comment was completely out of line, but Graham needs to do some work to get McCain on the honesty track. McCain is the dirty player in this election process and the dirt will rub off on Graham, unfortunately. Pay attention to your own dirty laundry Sen. Graham-you know, the log in your eye before you worry about the sliver in your brother's eye.

    September 10, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  11. Ken, LA California

    Ah so it gets better a Swine in Lipstick who did not Abort, she is not qualified to be president since there is a 1 in 3 chance MacCwar will not finish first term. First MacCain should appologize for the AD he put out on Sex ED, then he should appologize for calling Hillary a Pig.

    September 10, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  12. Steve

    I must be blind. I don't recognize any qualification in Palin other than a predisposition to show McCain-like outrage, and an ability to read speeches from teleprompters.

    I'm pretty sure I know why Palin was chosen. She's one of the few people that doesn't show up McCain's obvious shortcomings. Any competent VP would McCain look like the dolt he truly is.

    I usually vote Republican. This election, the Republicans are circling the drain. See ya!

    September 10, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  13. DM

    Not having an abortion is not Palin's only qualification. She's also adept at abusing power and lying. A perfect Republican candidate for any office.

    September 10, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  14. Denounce Your Affairs

    We call on John to denounce his affairs. No one comes home a hero, and then cheats on his wife and kids. Denounce the women you were with John, then maybe the public will denounce you.

    Man escorts don't belong in the White House.

    September 10, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  15. GEORGE MCCAIN/SARAH POWLENTY'S STUMP SPEECH

    Allow me to give the speech for you.

    MY FRIENDS SURGE,
    MY FRIENDS DRILL,
    MY FRIENDS, DRILL NOW
    MY FRIENDS TERRORIST ARE ON THE BORDER OF IRAN AND AFGHANISTAN,
    MY FRIENDS TERRORIST,
    MY FRIENDS ATTACK
    MY FRIENDS ATTACK,
    MY FRIENDS SURGE,
    MY FRIENDS WHINE BECAUSE OBAMA WONT ADMIT IT WORKED. MY FRIENDS BOMB BOMB
    MY FRIENDS GUSTAV PHOTO OP
    MY FRIENDS AMERICA IS A BUNCH OF WHINERS

    You have exploited POW so much, it no longer mean prisoner of war, but instead poor old warrior

    P.S. I am concerned that after a week of Palin giving the same speech she STILL needs the note cards.

    September 10, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  16. joe m

    what is going on with the democrats? between the lipstick on a pig (and i'm sorry, but it was a dumb thing for obama's handlers not to press on him not to get anywhere near the word at all), this abortion comment, and biden saying that clinton was a better VP choice, one would suspect that the party is trying its very best to loose. the fact that palin made the joke about her 'hockey mom – pitbull – lipstick' identity was enough for obama and anyone on his team to ban the word from their vocabular at this time. it did not matter if he was not trying to target her, some, on his and the other side, were bound to take it as a jab and the fact that he went there was as bad of a choice as bill clinton's remarks in SC. this abortion issue is just yet another rallying point for the conservatives to support mccain and palin. and, well someone just needs to muzzle joe biden at this time. wasn't this the election that the dems were suppose to easily win? this team needs to step back and get back on their game.

    September 10, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  17. DebM, Allentown, PA

    Graham, why don't you call on McCain to apologize for the sleazy, misleading "education" ad he put out? Until you're willing to act sufficiently outraged by your party's incredibly bad taste, keep your comments to yourself.

    September 10, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  18. mike

    The lady apologized. Get back to the real issues in this election. These pathetic republicans are trying to distract the public and the media goes right along. Lindsay Graham should apologize for the lies and smear he propagates every day.

    September 10, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  19. Kristen

    Oh no! Have you been victimized again? Oh my. How sexist. GIVE ME A BREAK. SHUT UP GOP–QUIT WHINING AND START TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING THAT MATTERS

    September 10, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  20. Ron

    if nothing else at least Palin showed us how immature sen. Obama is. did you ever see such a display of silliness? just because gov Palin stole some of his glitter. and he wants us to put him in the white house not a chance. thank you gov Palin for letting us see him for what he is before it's to late

    September 10, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  21. bob in LA

    Gee, Phil- i read her background and do not think she is qualified forthe number two job in the world.
    What your comment brings in to quesiton is your qualifications and judgement to set inthe Senate!
    She may be good at small town politics, governing a small state population, but what does she bring to the world stage? Can you honestly see her in front of Queen Elizbeth with her Hockey Mom chic?

    September 10, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  22. pam

    We teach our kids not to trust strangers, not to lie and steal but what does it say for us adults who trust a stranger who from their first day on the stage attack someone for work with the poor people of this nation to try and make their lives a little better, and lies about some of the things they did are we just so blind. What messages are they sending our kids and what message are we sending our kids when we teach them one thing and then do and embrace the total opposite. And not stand up for what is right.

    September 10, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  23. play nice

    How dare Obama not-say-what-someone-else-said-that-in-fact-has-nothing-to-do-with-his-opinion-but-we-want-to-make-it-look-like-it's-his-opinion-because-so-people-we-want-to-try-an-smear-him. He should apologize.

    Get a life, Lindsay.

    September 10, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  24. Frank Canada

    Unfortunately that is about all the qualifications Palin has to attract the right wing extremists. Perhaps she should have made the same choice about her husband's partner.

    The entire Republican campaign so far has been based on lies and half truths and bullying the press to the point they have totally caved into their wishes.

    September 10, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  25. Olivia

    This seems to be a new trend the Obama campaign is taking. First, the plan to send out 4 well-known dem women to counteract Palin's success and to undermine her.

    Obama should also reprimand Matt Damon for his insensitive remark about McCain's age and his prediction of possible early death.
    As a fellow celebrity,I can understand why Matt is supportive of Obama. But, that doesn't qualify him to say that Palin would be a terrifying thing as president. Don't think McCain near-dead, buddy, we live in a world where strange things happen. He sees Palin as just a hockey mom, and downplays her resume as mayor and govenor even though Palin has more experience and thus more qualified than Obama.

    What the heck is going on with these movie stars?
    Is all this for a future president Ben Affleck/vp damon?A cabinet with the likes of Susan Sarandon et al?

    Lordy lord! spare us.

    September 10, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
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