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. activist mom

    my comment just dissapeared 😦

    I'm a social worker -and I can tell you from the front lines that our country has gotten into a godawful state and we ALL need to care! ANYONE who does Community Service work has my respect. And mandatory community service is part of most schools these days and SHOULD be a graduation requirement!

    GO OBAMA! You have my utmost respect Sir!

    September 10, 2008 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  2. Ed North Carolina

    I continue to be amazed that the "maverick" McCain has become nothing more than a puppet of the far right. His VP pick, his negative non-issue related attack ads confirm he has sold out his principles for one reason only, to be elected. He was once a great American hero, now he has become a great American joke.

    September 10, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  3. rich o

    I really can't believe how low McCain has sunk. Or how quickly. I voted for him in 2000 but I don't recognize him now. We are facing signficant challenges and he is turning this election into a joke.


    – former republican, new democrat

    September 10, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  4. Califorina

    Jesus is a myth..

    September 10, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  5. Samo

    We all know that Mccain is using Palin to get the female votes. If you don't see that, there is something wrong with you.. The sad thing is that this strategy is actually working. Are the ladies of America really that gullible. Come on ladies.. see the light.. Sara Palin, she is not right.. Don't let slick McCain put one over you..


    September 10, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  6. Luther

    Sasha excellent article. Very informative to read the quotes you included about immigration reform not being in the republican platform.

    September 10, 2008 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  7. Jay from New Jersey

    Obama: can you organize my taxes?

    September 10, 2008 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  8. Travis, Spokane, WA

    When 80% of America is against something you are proposing, you should drop it, like McCain did with the immigration reform bill. Government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

    Now if we could get the do nothing congress to drill like 80% of america wants, maybe we could have more than spare change left in our pockets at the end of the month which is the change obama represents

    September 10, 2008 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  9. curt

    It show's that the GOP is out of touch and could care less about ordinary Americans, the image of those rich Republicans laughing and mocking blue collar people at their convention was telling.

    September 10, 2008 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  10. Jackie

    Our founding fathers were community organizers. Without them we would still be a colony of England. How sickens me that these people deride community organizers. I really do begin to believe they are ignorant.

    September 10, 2008 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  11. Chad CA

    Maybe Barack should take a look in the mirror as he has little problem mocking Palin's executive experience as governor even though he's only a junior senator that has spent a majority of his term campaigning rather than representing the people who elected him. Obama should add hypocrite to his resume right next to community organizer.

    September 10, 2008 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  12. Pat from Cali

    Palin said we're defeating Al Qaeda in Iraq tonight in her speech in Anchorage.

    Did anyone hear that or are you all drinking the koolaid.

    She sounds like the candidate for Alaska.

    September 10, 2008 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  13. Kel

    I know from doing volunteer work that a community organizer is a thankless job. Lack of funding, lots of roll up your sleeves and get in the dirt work, for little reward. They also have less benefits / pay than most governors in general as well. By deriding that job, Gov Palin shows little knowledge of the modern cosmopolitan world we live in today.

    September 10, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  14. Born-again Christian

    Barack is mocked for being a community organizer and Palin needs a teleprompter to arrive in her home state? This is not American Idol folks, I honestly question what is going on here... Can people really be led that easily? I guess time and time again history has proven that they can. I have been doing a lot of praying on this issue, I do not think the country (world) can handle 4 more years like the last 8. Every day we are hearing of financial institutions crumbling around us and all we can think about is some unknown woman who needs a teleprompter to speak in public. She could potentially be one heart-beat away from leading this country and so far no one has been allowed to question her. How can John McCain be so irresponsible, I thought he was supposed to be putting country first?

    September 10, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  15. Hollie

    A Community Organizer is way beneath McCain. He'd never
    represent the down-and-out, he only favors the RICH.

    September 10, 2008 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  16. me

    If Jesus ever came back and saw what was being done in his name, he would never stop throwing up.

    September 10, 2008 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  17. Roger from CA

    As an Obama supporter, the past week and a half has made me nervous. Hopefully, now, Obama will be getting his voice heard again through all the din of the Palin hoopla. I agree with the commentors above, that Palin and Co's nasty, dismissive tone toward "community organizers" was shocking and offensive.

    It just saddens me that Palin's style seemed to resonate for a lot of folks.... How can this jibe with her professed religious convictions?

    September 11, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  18. Wendy

    I heard that McCain made a pact with the republican base that he will run as a presidential candidate until election but afterwards Palin and the rest of the republican think tank will run the white house.

    this is McCain's last attempt to become the president at all cost.

    Now I understand why the presidential candidate is protecting the VP from all criticism and media...isn't it normally the other way around?

    September 11, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  19. Kep

    say that any community organizing that sarah palin does as governor of alaska is more community orgainizing than barack obama has ever done.

    September 11, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  20. Kara

    Republicans are snobs ~ ~ When the Republicans slam Community Organizers, that should tell you what kind of people they really are. . . SNOBS THAT FEEL THEY ARE ABOVE THE REST AND SUPPORT ONLY THE RICH . . .
    OBAMA 08

    September 11, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  21. terry d weathers


    September 11, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  22. sandee in Portland

    And...the republican base is Christian? In my book, christians are people who willingly help wherever needed, whether it's on the streets, in their churches, in schools, etc. And....Palin is a good Christian? Here's a mother and woman who is putting her own agenda before even her own family. An elder son who didn't finish high school, a teenage daughter that got pregnant at 16, has dropped out of high school and is going to marry the father, also a high school drop out. WOW! What a role model she is! In my neighborhood, we would call that white trash!

    CNN why don't you do a Palin Revealed segment like you did on Obama and McCain?

    September 11, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  23. YWC

    Pontus Pilot was an evil Governor and Jesus cares for people, who will you pick for President. GOP is condemning themselves by using Jesus name in vain and God will not be mocked.

    Shame on McCain and Palin, community organizer is the most important position in the world. We help people that the world has forgotten about. We feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, counsel the depressed, give support to those that are struggling with drug and alcohol and much more.

    it was the community organizer, such as red cross that went to New Orleans doing Katrina, it was not Bush or McCain and the community organizer on a daily basis but themselves in danger helping other.

    Obama being a community organizer is better than being President. I love Obama for having a heart to help others.

    Jesus is the organizer of my Soul he sacrified his life to save me.

    September 11, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  24. Sava Hruska

    Ahh, so refreshing to read such great points. Keep it up

    September 11, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  25. Independent for Obama

    I recently heard one Palin/McCain adviser saying that Palin will help bring Oregon and possibly Washington on their side...

    Well, here is a reality check for you. I live near Seattle and drove around Washington and Oregon a lot this Summer – I have to report that I've seen hundreds of cars with Barack Obama 08 sticker and as many houses with Barack Obama 08 sign in their front yard all around Washington and Oregon. As of today, just 55 days until election, I haven't seen even one(!) car with McCain sticker and I've only seen one(!) McCain sign near foreclosed house – got the picture?

    Obama will win Washington and Oregon by a landslide!

    September 11, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
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