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. Scott Tucson

    And just take a look at Obama's dismal voting record in the Senate, he just can't decide on real issues other then wanting to ban legal ownership of guns to law bidding Americans.

    September 10, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  2. Greg

    Community Leader, what a joke!!! ha! ha! Rezko ha! ha! Wright ha!ha! ayers ha!ha! pflugger ha! ha! Farrakhan ha! ha! Obama runs with a lot of unsavory characters?

    September 10, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  3. James

    Nicely done Obama!
    Now stick to the issues and keep focused on McCain.

    September 10, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  4. john

    It is quite obvious that McCain is an enigma. Obama is running against two McCains. There is McCain the veteran who would rather lose an election than lose a war (he is admirable); but then there is McCain the politician who would rather lose his political soul to win an election. The greatest fear is that we will only get the second McCain. He and his vp pick have nothing in common where the issues are concerned.

    September 10, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  5. Trang, Fremont, CA

    I don't know if Jesus Christ was a community organizer. He was a great teacher speaking to a large group though. The fact that I like Barack Obama in the beginning is he is trying to live his life according to Christ's teachings, doing his best to take care of his fellowmen. I applaud his effort, and I too join in his effort.

    September 10, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  6. Ron Pab,San Francisco

    community organizer has less responsibilities than a mayor even of
    a small town.

    your wrong obama is like kerry of 2004.He is going to lose.

    Sarah/Mccaine 2008

    September 10, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  7. Daleesp

    I thought community organizing was a noble cause? So much for the "thousand points of light"...why try to help when help is not respected.

    September 10, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  8. Willy Brown

    The wheels have come off the Change choo choo.

    September 10, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |


    September 10, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  10. J.B.

    Comparing records Is Not a good idea, talking about voting in the senate is not a good idea. Definitely don't go near experience. Better off to stay away from all the issues that plague our nation. This is getting crazy.

    September 10, 2008 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  11. original patriot

    I like the way people state that "Palin has an 87% approval rating in Alaska", if i get $3,500 from anyone, i'll support you 100%.

    September 10, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  12. Nancy

    Senator Obama should be proud of his service to the community. That's where the rubber meets the road, that's where it starts; people reaching people. Show people dignity and respect.

    How dare Gov. Palin belittle something she her self has been part of; church & PTA are community organizations; just like most people in this great nation. I appreciate that Obama sees the value in teaching this to our young people. It's a basic Christian principle; "Love your neighbor... If you have done this to the least of these, you've done it unto me". -Jesus

    September 10, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  13. Canada for Obama/Biden 08

    Cheapest move of the GOP convention... all the community organizers should do something against this. They say you don't have any responsability! WHAT!?! for them the only way to serve your country is military services.

    September 10, 2008 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  14. truebluemata

    The McCain campaign is about lies! lies! lies!

    McCain-Palin Distorts Our Finding –

    September 10, 2008 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  15. Anne

    McCain will say and do anything to attract a vote...tomorrow, he'll entise whomever he's standing in front of whether he means it or not.

    September 10, 2008 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |

    Some people join the military to serve their country. Some people work for the community for a low wage to help their fellow citizens to better their lives and some people volunteer their time to serve their community. You have to start somewhere. I work for the community and most of our patients are the poor and the uninsured. I have a four year college degree and could work somewhere else for a higher pay but I choose to work for the community. I spent some of my time volunteering in our local hospitals (VA is one of them).

    RUDY G. should be ashame for degrading a "community organizer". I thought he is a descent man but I guess not.

    September 10, 2008 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  17. scott h

    Obama will say ANYTHING to get elected, this guy is a big empty suit and nothing more. And whats with all this community organizer nonsense? Whats he gonna say next? He was a cubscout? Give me a break, this guy has zero experience PERIOD!

    McCain\Palin "08 the real ticket for change!

    September 10, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  18. Dee


    September 10, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  19. Wayne PHILLIPS

    Witness the demise of the US. The damage McCain and Palin will do will be irreparable.

    THe days of America the super power are counting down. Perhaps McCain is precisely what we as Americans deserve.

    September 10, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  20. Michael

    Palin has been repeating this ugly quip on the trail time and again. It does seem to reveal just how out-of-touch she is, even with members of her own party. Many evangelical Christians are very hard-working community organizers who bear unbelievable responsibility for little or no pay when it comes to the communities that they serve.

    I used to have some respect for McCain, but he's turned on everything he once stood for, and picking Palin for veep is just one more cynical trick out of the Rove playbook that McCain seems to have adopted. Whether he wins or loses, it's kinda sad that he had to sell his soul just to become the Republican candidate.

    September 10, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  21. lou

    Just sawc her in Alaska.....Another speech filled with nothing...No new ideas...same olds lies,,,now alaska is the role model for the country...Give me a break!!!

    September 10, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |


    September 10, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  23. DK(@)AZ

    Jesus was a “community organizer”. Tell that to the conservative white women who think Palin is the female Jesus. All voters need to educate themselves. I have never publicly advocated for Barack Oboma before, but people need to educate themselves on the issues and stop listening to the GOP. They are not talking about how to fix the problems that prevent me from paying my mortgage and paying my student loans!

    September 10, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  24. vw

    If democratic is right, community organizer/OB is Jesus/God, Mayor/GOVERNOR/Palin should be the parents of "community organizer/OB", President/Bush should be the grandparent of "community organizer/OB".
    Democratic Party is crazy NOW and is doomed to lose in Nov.

    September 10, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  25. Marj,Paso Robles, Cal

    I think uhbama needs a time out and a nap. He is a clueless little child.

    September 10, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
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