September 10th, 2008
08:34 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama slams GOP on community organizer comments

Obama hit the GOP over last week’s community organizer cracks.

Obama hit the GOP over last week’s community organizer cracks.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Barack Obama criticized his Republican presidential opponent, Senator John McCain, for not standing firm in his support for immigration reform in the face of opposition from his own party.

“I know Senator McCain used to buck his party by fighting for comprehensive reform – and I admired him for it. But when he was running for his party’s nomination, he abandoned his stance, and said he wouldn’t even support his own legislation if it came up for a vote,” Obama told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute gathered in Washington.

“When it came time to write his party’s platform, comprehensive reform never made it in. So you’ve got to ask yourself: if Senator McCain won’t stand up to opponents of reform at his own convention, how can you trust him to stand up for change in Washington?”

McCain’s support for comprehensive immigration reform nearly killed his candidacy in 2007 and he later came out in favor of greater emphasis on securing the nation’s borders in any future legislation. Now, however, he references his fight for reform as a mark of his maverick credentials.

Obama also defended his role as a community organizer, something that was mocked by several speakers at the Republican Party convention, including vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

“I was pretty surprised when I heard our opponents making fun of that work last week at their convention – mocking what so many Americans do every day in church groups and unions and the PTA to serve struggling communities. Frankly, I don’t think it’s particularly funny that people are losing their jobs and their homes,” he said.

Earlier: Democratic congressman points to Jesus in response to GOP comments

The Democratic presidential nominee also told the group he considers Latino voters crucial in this election. “I’m not taking a single Hispanic vote for granted in this campaign. I need you. I need you to win.”

In that vein, Obama heads to Colorado Monday and will be campaigning out West.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (389 Responses)
  1. anne

    what happened to my question if Obamas community organizer help his neiighbor hood, what is it like today are able to walk on streets by yourself.

    September 10, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  2. keith

    watching what has transpired recently during this campaign, it is no
    wonder that American's have become complacent and apethetic to
    politicians and elections in general. i was so disgusted by the RNC
    that i wouldn't vote republican to save my life. guliani looked like a
    giddy child as he laughed at his own jokes and shots at barack obama. personally i think he looked like an imbicile. all the respect
    i had for him after 9/11 was lost by the end of his speech. it seems
    that john mccain's promise to run a campaign on issues instead of
    attacks and insults went by the wayside at the RNC. his pitbulls did
    his work for him. apparently he doesn;t have the stomach for it.
    i don;t have an issue with his vp pick other than the fact that instead
    of being real about who she is, she went on the attack and is trying
    to make herself out to be something more than she is, just another
    republican taking earmarks and hiring lobbyists like all the rest on
    either side of the aisle. get real sarah !!!!!!!

    September 10, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  3. irony

    Stand strong for Barack. We do not accept the lies from Mccain. He says he will veto the earmarks and make the people famous... If he knew palin was the queen of earmarks any rational person would not stand on the national stage and say what they keep lying about... the bridge, the e-bay non-sale, the per diem for staying at her own home, the Troopergate and the earmarks. All of these lies Mccain keeps spouting are well documented to be not true at all.

    September 10, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  4. shawn, North Carolina

    Sarah Palin really should read over the speaches that are written for her, before she goes on national television and makes a complete jerk of herself. Did she not know that all of her "shaddy" moments would come to light.

    I am a God Fearing Christian. The one thing about Sweet Jesus is that our choice was never taken from us!!! Anyone can read the BIBLE to understand and follow GOD's rules. However God still allow us to chose to follow him or do our own will. That being said, how could anyone every decide for someone else what is right? I do not believe in ABORTION, but I would never condem someone else who does. That is their choice and their right. Government and Religion to me should not mix. Our Leaders and Lawmakers should not have the right to make our decisions. This is exactly the reason I can not and will not follow, vote, for McCain and Palin. I have my own faith, I am not voting for a president for that person to give me their faith. I am voting for the person, who will clean up this mess that was made of our great nation.

    I really do wonder how does Sarah Palin feel knowing that John McCain is using her. John McCain is running around now on the trail pushing Palin like she is some cheap dummy doll and McCain is pulling the strings. "Look see what she can do, and say." It is really sad.

    I am a woman, and to me Palin is having it both ways. She can say anything about the Dem. men, yet they can not say anything back or they will be called sexist. This is crazy. Palin came out throwning the first blows, so Palin should be able to take a couple of blows as well.

    I hope that Americans will not be fooled by what John McCain is doing. No issues are being talked about. Only poor Sarah. I want to know how will new JOBS come to my state, When is the price of GAS going down, HEALTH CARE, EDUCATION for the children, and WHO is going to bring our troops HOME. These are the issues that really matter to me, and to most americans.

    Eight long years have past and this country is in bad shape. Just think about 4 more years, that will be 12 years of Repub. and the same thing. The dollar is almost worth nothing, trading is bad, the cost of everything is getting higher, but our money is not. Can we last through another Repub. ran Admin. or are we going to go out on a limb and try something different?

    September 10, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  5. Does Obama Palin Comparison?

    Hey, hey...don't criticize Obama's resume. It may resemble that of a college intern, but at least it's not embellished 🙂

    September 10, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  6. Nathan

    Being a vet myself, I had alot of respect for John McCain, however, the last few days have proven that he would make a poor President. The television ads he has endorsed are out and out filth to the point of being grose. He hasn't addressed the issues of economy and healthcare. It's too bad, vet or not, I'm voting OBAMA.

    September 10, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  7. Palin 2012

    Now all you pumas can go home and take your pig with lipstick with you. Palin is the new hillary. We don't need you anymore pumas.

    palin 2012

    September 10, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  8. Unhappy With Direction

    It's sad that they bashed him for working in the communities. They spoke about it as if it were something bad to do. That's depressing. I did community service at a dog shelter and I worked with a community organizer to help rebuild a home for a young couple in a low income area. It was good for the soul. You know he didn't make good money doing it and he chose to do it instead of going directly into law which is very good money. Why would they insult his community organizer? It's almost as bad as insulting McCain for going to war for the US. Obama did go into a war zone during the rise of crack-cocaine during the 1980's on the notorious south side of chicago. Ever see that movie "Candyman"? Those are the hoods in Chicago. Not pretty at all. Why is that bad? I respect what McCain did in Nam.. why does he say that about Obama?

    September 10, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  9. Patrick

    Community Organizer is another name for a volunteer while they are working on their career (which O is still doing). He probably did it to put on his resume for some "experience" after his daddy got him into Harvard. Obama is DANGEROUS for America. Let's get experience into the white house, McCain/Palin 08....NoBama No How No Way. It's funny now that the DNC has "chosen" their messiah, they are not happy. Great Job to the Maverick's who are going to win in November and beyond. American's don't need the government to save them, we save ourselves. Nobama, no how no way! The only moral and smart choice is McCain/Palin 08 and Obama can go back to being a celebrity with matt dumon and oprah.

    September 10, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  10. DeeJam - Los Angeles

    The comments about being a Community Organizer were tasteless. McCain allowed it at the convention and hasn't mentioned it since. It seems that he agrees that Community Organizers are useless. I believe that true leadership ability is shown through how you manage the situations you are involved in, whether it's at work or wherever it may be. Some leaders of companies or even dictatorships are handed the leadership role on a platter. It doesn't make them a good leader. Obama has shown his ability through his Community organizing and his campaign mangement. Some may think that those tests weren't difficult enough but I believe he's capable based on what I've seen.

    September 10, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |

    Have you all noticed that McCain is hiding from the press?

    He hasn't given one single press conference or had one of his so-called town hall meetings in the past 4 WEEKS!!!!

    It's bizzare that he and Palin are only attending staged rallies for their supporters. I'm dismayed when I look in their crowd and see no diversity.

    I thank GOD for the diversity I see in the Democractic party.


    The last time I checked we all bleed the same color.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2008

    September 10, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  12. Carl J.

    Is there anything Obama can do or say that won't offend John McCain/Palin? They can sure dish it out, but heaven forbid, they beable to take it....reminds of five year old playground tattletales.

    September 10, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  13. Steve

    Being a community organizer is important work, within the community. It in no way is a qualification for president. Of course, really neither is being mayor of a village. I find it hilarious that Palin would slam Obama's weak resume when hers is even more atrocious by far.

    Joe Biden is the next Lyndon Johnson, Sarah Palin is the next Spiro Agnew.

    September 10, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  14. Seriously

    Go Obama! We are supporting you! Keep your sights focused on McCain and ignore Palin. Biden, get to work shredding that shiny new moose coat that Palin is wearing!

    September 10, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  15. NObama 4 Me

    So, now he's a community organizer like Jesus?

    God complex much?

    Still waiting for more "celebrity" endorsements there Barry.

    Obama is a socialist bigot.

    September 10, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  16. Phil Newton in Murphy, Oregon

    To elitists like McCain, working with unemployed factory workers and developing self-reliance for inner city folks is something to mock.

    I think it's something to admire - in my next president.

    Obama 08

    September 10, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  17. irony

    It was community organizers who wrote the declaration of Independence. It was community organizers who fought the Nazis in the ghettos of Europe. It was community organizers who fought for civil rights in the 1960s and it was community organizers who fought the Good ole boys network and won women's suffrage. It is these same community organizers who are rolling over in their graves. For shame Mccain.

    September 10, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  18. Pam K

    I can name a few "community organizers" who went on to be President: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison...... How about Martin Luther King, Jr? Name the Protestant church (other than Anglican) and the founder was a community organizer. Neighborhood watch? Volunteer fire department? Does the Boston Tea Party mean anything? Without community organizers, this country wouldn't exist! All Americans should be outraged at the belittling of the role of community organizers. Perhaps we should organize the Republicans right out of office?

    September 10, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  19. Levar Patterson

    I cant believe that America is stupid enough to rally around something as meaningless as "lipstick" but find "community organizing" something that they cant relate to as something more important and relevent in society. In fact they talked about it as if it was downright deplorable but go to a Palin rally holding signs saying "Lipstickers Unite". Are you serious????

    If this country is dumb enough to elect McCain/Palin then I promise I am moving to mexico right away because NUKES are coming our way if we show the world that we are that STUPID! Besides... I don't think they have anything against Mexico!

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 10, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  20. Auntie Coosa, Blairsville, Georgia, USofA

    Obama needs to lighten up. He takes himself way too seriously. Way too seriously. He needs to learn to laugh at himself and make self deprecating jokes instead of trying one-liners that he does not know how to time. When he tells a joke, it's not funny coming from him because he's too serious.

    BY THE WAY, Obama, when are we going to see your real certified verified Birth Certificate? We saw the fraudulent copy of Maya's COLB. I think your COLB was sealed when Lolo Soetoro adopted you and you are an Indonesian Citizen and not a US Citizen. Where's the Birth Certificate?

    September 10, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |



    OBAMA/BIDEN 2008

    September 10, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  22. Beth

    Hey McCain ~ Pitbulls are outlawed in Colordo!

    September 10, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  23. ex-Republican for Obama



    September 10, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  24. Ann

    Guilliani didn't realize that during and after 9/11, community organizers played a big role in mitigating the tragic consequences of the bombing because everyone was stretched. Everyone did what they can even to strangers just to alleviate the situation.

    How dare he mocked these heroes... No wonder he cannot even win in New York...

    Let's see how community organizers will crush the GOPs in Nov.

    September 10, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  25. andy

    Barack, stop getting sucked into these useless conversations, and stay focused on the issues.

    While we're talking of irrelevant stuff...I always wondered what the word 'Cain' (in McCain) meant:
    "Cain" (from
    1. the first son of Adam and Eve, who murdered his brother Abel. Gen. 4.
    2. a murderer. —Idiom
    3. raise Cain, Slang. a. become angry or violent: He'll raise Cain when he finds out I lost his watch.
    b. to behave in a boisterous manner; cause a disturbance: The students raised Cain while the teacher was out.

    Also the Greek root "Palin" means "Backwards" as in...
    1. Palinode: A formal retraction of a statement
    2. Palindrome: A word which reads the same backwards as forward

    ...yeah, as I said.. no one wants to talk about this kind of stuff. So let's get back to the issues.

    September 10, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
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