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. Scared

    Everyone knows intelligence scares republican.
    Everyone knows change scares republicans.
    Everyone knows honesty scares republicans.
    Everyone knows peace scares republicans.
    Everyone knows race scares republicans.
    Everyone knows accountability scares republicans.

    So to republicans Obama is the bogey man.

    republicans love idiot (Bush, McCain)
    republicans love status quo (bush mccain)
    republicans love crooks (bush, mccain)
    republicans love war (bush, mccain)
    republicans love race wars (bush mccain)
    republicans love recklessness (bush mccain)

    September 11, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  2. Jim

    It takes a real jerk to criticize people who give their time and energy to help make American neighborhoods better. Palin better be glad she was mayor of a small town. Most mayors with populations of more than 5000 would honor the men and women who help make their committees a better, safer, and more prosperous place.

    September 11, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  3. Pat

    Oh, spare me the drama Obama. You, the master of the "Present" vote hardly have room to be calling someone else to task for not having guts to vote a certain way.

    As for those of you who are hysterically chanting the "community organizer" thing now that you've got your cue and permission from Obama, you should take a chill pill. The comments shouldn't have been made, but they weren't intended to be as they came out...I believe they were intended to be more like "being a community organizer isn't the experience needed to run a country". And it's not. So, yeah, it shouldn't have been made but most Republicans are every bit as community oriented as're deluding yourselves if you think Dems are any more saintly. Most everybody I know that's a Republican believes that community organizers serve an important function.

    Now how about you stop waiting on every little verbal and nonverbal cue from Obama telling you what to wring your hands about now, and instead try focusing on the big issues? Or do you really ENJOY this endless, trite, partisan, petty, childish partisan bickering??

    Wake up America. We need to respect each other, and it's going to take us all to get things the way we want them. There are good, bad, smart, stupid, mean, pleasant, altruistic and selfish people in BOTH parties.

    September 11, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  4. James Feagans

    Wont get fooled again! Hand on heart.

    September 11, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  5. Edwin K C

    Everbody is a commmunity organizer let alone being a member of a Community.

    McCain is a Celebrity who will do anything to derail the apparent match of OBAMA to being the First Black President of the USA.

    If he is refused because of the color of his skin and not due to the content of his character, the world might never forgive the US

    Obama- Biden 08

    September 11, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  6. Shelia

    McCain has been in Washington for so many years and he did make any changes. when is he going to make them? It is when he reaches in the white house? I know the American people is not going to allow McCain in the white house. Instead he better stay home and rub bengay on his old back and leave the white house for people under 72.

    September 11, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  7. GOP = Greatly Out-of-touch Party

    Why was that funny and no one said anything about it? I mean don't get me wrong, its not that most fantastic job in the world, but I don't think it deserves to be mocked by anyone. Even though that Dem said Jesus was a Community Organizer (I think that is stretching it a bit), I do believe its important to realize that people LAUGHED at it. As if something's wrong with it and its not even real work. Going into the community and working with families who have lost jobs, lost homes when he was Harvard Graduate should be applauded. You don't have to agree with his policies but you have to agree that choosing to do work in the Community rather than go off and make a bunch of money as a corporate lawyer is a noble thing to do. When's the last time you and your neighbors got together and tried to get things done in your area? About cleaning up the streets, crime, schools or jobs? When's the last time that you, personally, went out and made things happen in your town and city? Just wondering.

    September 11, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  8. Molly

    It looks like it might come down to Ohio, Florida, Virginia or maybe even Missouri.
    It will be interesting to see if the people suffering in those states stick with what got them there or step out and go a new direction.
    OBAMA in 2008

    September 11, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  9. kante


    September 11, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  10. Frank, MO

    The Repubs mock the ones who give back to society ... after all, who wants a president who cares for the American People ?

    September 11, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  11. Shell Hari, NY

    Remaining Vigilant…

    George Bush, John McCain and the Republican Party are ready to do anything even if it means conniving with the terrorists to kill our loved ones in the name of national security. Although George Bush, John McCain and the Republican Party were briefed that Al Qaeda was going to strike in the United States in 2001, George Bush, John McCain and the Republican Party decided to look the other way to make the point that their strength was national security and not the economy. Well, the rest is history, and today, we continue to be mired in the mess created by George Bush, John McCain and the Republican Party.

    As I was about to drift to sleep, I suddenly recalled the comments made by Charlie Black, John McCain’s advisor, who said in an interview with Fortune Magazine a couple of months ago, that another terrorist attack on American soil will reaffirm John McCain’s national security credentials. It seems to me that John McCain and the Republican Party will do anything and everything to instill fear in the American people even if it means that several thousand lives are lost with another terrorist attack on the United States soil just to win this election. Just like George Bush’s re-election in 2004 in which the Republican Party ratcheted up fear when they could not win on the economy, John McCain and the Republican Party are hoping that some Americans including me can lose their loved ones, their sons and daughters, their happiness and hope of the future, through another terrorist attack on innocent Americans on American soil just to make the point that they are better when it comes to national security. John McCain and the Fear Mongering Republican Party must have amnesia to have forgotten so quickly how their approach to keeping our beloved country safe led to a dramatic decline in our economy and the loss of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars being spent in Iraq, in addition to many of our sons and daughters being either killed on the battle fields of Iraq or Afghanistan, or being physically or mentally incapacitated. In a terse statement: John McCain and the Republican Party want to distract us from the real issues we face in this election.

    We may not know what John McCain and the Republican Party have under their sleeves this time around. We may not know when they will turn one way to allow the terrorists to wreak havoc on our loved ones. But while John McCain and the Republican Party are planning their next move, we will remain vigilant to expose their treacherous deeds. It is not going to work this time…we guarantee it!

    September 11, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  12. 1rag

    As an American of dual citizenship I can tell you that Europeans think of Americans as stupid Walmart dressed fastfood junkies with big buts and can hardly speak proper english.

    The Obama name however has made them think differently in that America has evolved and is trying to do away with it's slave owner past.

    Let me ask these stupid Republicans clinging to the guns and crap–
    if you went to a doctors office and read on office door A Harvard Degree of Medicine and on office door B Alaska Degree in Medicine....hmmm..... Republifarts would choose door B RIGHT......

    September 11, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  13. Leanne

    How dare McCain criticize Community Organizers...who does he think he is? Brought up in fine cotton with a silver spoon made him alittle too good for the common folk huh? I suppose McCain feels he's also a cut-above Community Volunteers as well.
    John, you live in a different world!

    September 11, 2008 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  14. john

    Todd Palin Was Registered Member of Alaska Independence Party Until 2002

    September 11, 2008 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  15. tedious898

    What conflict Republicans must experience! They rail against "handouts" for the poor, the drug addict, the pregnant teen, poverty children, the poor condition of schools, paying taxes (though there's a deteriorating infrastructure).

    But on the other hand they call themselves "Christians". Sorry...I was raised Christian and of the gifts, "charity is the greatest of these". How does that jive with helping someone that's poor?

    These peoples are hypocrits and idiots. Therefore education is low priority for these folks.

    September 11, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  16. Tom in CA

    Look what McCain's judgement has given us!


    September 11, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  17. Lisa from VA

    I was shocked they were making such fun of community service when there was a hurricane just the day before and they were all acting so sincere about people helping out and all that. They sure flip flopped from one day to the next.

    September 11, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  18. Robert

    Time for righteous anger, Obama. As Lincoln advised General Grant in the field: "Grab on with a bulldog grip, and chew and choke." Git 'em.

    September 11, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  19. tedious898

    Ok...Chuck Norris is a pinhead. Too many shots to the head.

    Listen Chucky....when we spar at our Doojang; we wear head gear. Maybe you should try it (?) least don't pretend to be open minded and then blast the first objection to the last 8 years of failure.

    That's right Failure! Can you spell that?

    September 11, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  20. Stacy from Loudoun, VA

    Let the Republicans feign outrage over and over again. Senator Obama, I implore you to get back to the issues. Rising unemployment, rising national debt, numerous bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, talk of bailing out automakers, so on and so on. Let me ask you each and every one that posts tonight: If you care about this election, is it worth this discussion of pigs and lipstick or do you want to hear their respective plans?

    September 11, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  21. Pam

    Thank you! It's about time he called them on this. Why do republicans think helping other people is irrelevant?

    September 11, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  22. Nahum, Athens, Greece

    GOP is no more grand.. It is just OP. I think McCain would ask Obama to duel if it was 18th century, no issues, only attacks. I pray they will stay like this, so that the voters will know who i the clear choice is. BTW we the voters outside America are being treated with great deal of respect coz Obama is on the ticket. What if when he is in WH?

    September 11, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  23. larry

    It just shows what the republicans stand for. Laughing at the poor and needy.That is something that all the evangelicals can get behind..How dare you laugh at people less well off.The republican convention was colder than the snows in Alaska and Satin has a place for all you nice republicans to warm your feet.Better pack your water bottles your going to need them

    September 11, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  24. Jeanne Beans

    Political about everyone just focus on the issues.

    I'm especially sick of the Republicans bringing on their flash in the pan (Sarah baby) and then challenging everything that's said about her.

    Get on with it–you're not about change. It's all gimmicks now because you had and still have no substance!

    September 11, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |

    What stinks is, the demos want to always show themselves for civil rights for lifting people out of turmoil and brake bariers well I guess only if you are with them, then that applies otherwise they want you in the dog house. NO WAY. I WOULD NEVER VOTE FOR OBAMA. THE ONLY PIG IN THE STALLS IS HIM AND HIS SURROGATES!

    September 11, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
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