September 10th, 2008
08:34 PM ET
6 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. Barack the Vote!

    Yeah, and Pontus was a governor who was depicted as "one whose sole allegiance is to the powers of this world." Sound like anyone on the republican ticket? They KNOW THE THINGS THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT BARACK OBAMA ARE LIES, BUT THEY STILL CONTINUE TO SAY THEM! Pontus Pilate knew Jesus was innocent, but he had him crucified anyway, just to satisfy the people. McCain/Palin will say and do anything to pander votes, including lie! McCain/Palin – More of the same Bush policies!!!

    September 11, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  2. Angel Long

    Obama is so sensitive! WHY SO SERIOUS...? :-)

    September 11, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  3. John 64 years old Independent

    I'm delighted that at least Senator Obama wants to talk issues confronting our country and not engage in gutter politics like the McCain camp is currently doing.

    Our country is facing the most serious crises that I have seen in my 64 years and rah-rah cheer leading and mudslinging is not going to solve any of the serious issues this country has to deal with. And as much as McCain talks about being a change agent, he only offers the same old solutions that have failed us these past 8 years.

    September 11, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  4. Kent D

    Hey CNN – Seems there are some misunderstandings about what community organizers do. Here's a suggestion – do a story on them! Gosh, we'd think you were a news organization then.

    September 11, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  5. Former Democrat

    Jesus was the son of God.
    So now you will probably want us to believe that Obama was created by immaculate conception?
    Your attempted comparisons show how shallow you are.

    September 11, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  6. David in Indian Wells

    The McBush Slick Talk Express has veered off a cliff today.

    September 11, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  7. Susan from Scotts Valley, CA

    Our founding fathers were community organizers. They depended on other community organizers to get the larger community going. Our communities. Our society. Depend on community organizers. They provide structure for the community where things can get done. They touch people's lives; make things happen that might not have happened without them.

    September 11, 2008 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  8. Jeremy Morris

    Today the Sec to Homeland security said Al-qaida attack in this land is still possible. What have we been doing since the last attack? Why have we not captured/killed Osama and his cell since then? Imagine him smiling at his achievements over us esp deaths/casualties he inflicted to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.His troops were never in Iraq until we invaded.He now has another fresh base in Iraq.What did we gain after gross loss of lives and money! Mcain lied to the whole world that Sadddam had WMDS. Mr Mcain,it is 6yrs now since the war started,where are they?

    September 11, 2008 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  9. brenda

    I just finished watching an old movie on TV-"Mr. Smith goes to Washington". I couldn't help but imagine Barak Obama playing the role of Jimmy Stewart as Mr. Smith. And Karl Rove is the man he fought against as the "Taylor Machine". The movie is a reminder on how great our government can be. It is also a reminder of what could easily happen if we let our government slip by into the hands of the powerful few. Its just a movie but it should remind us that the United States BELONGS TO ITS CITIZENS and not the Karl Roves in the world.

    September 11, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  10. LaVon k hummel

    Barack Obama has been in puplic service of puplic office, for at least fifteen year. Palin stands up there Lieing day after day.. not any one has been able to ask her anything. that is so strange. WOW This is a dirty rotton election. in all my years I never people=mccain palin run a campaign such as this.. Is this how a women of our god our lord acts. people like them turn people away rather toward the enlightenment of god. mccain palin are mostly palin are far far right. I thnk they = DRAFT. I THINK PALIN JUST MIGHT BE (THE ONE. ). she already professes to be on a mission. She well known and love by a huge exsteam christain fellowship. WHAT IN THE HELL DOSE THAT CRAZY women THINK, SHE IS SPOOKY MORE THAN JOHN. I NEVER THOUGHT THAT WAS POSSIBLE . hope none of you have a sons under the age of 27 no 30. what blind idiots we have all around us. IQ test should be a must before you can vote. kiss my ___

    September 11, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  11. dexx

    lord i pray u let mccain and palin loose this election ..i had a dream and the future was looking really bad ..wars , crime was high , unemployment was worse and mccain and palin were in office

    September 11, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  12. Texas

    Senator Obama is a Harvard grad and the first Arfican American to serve a as president of the Harvard Law Review. He was recruited by several high-powered law firms which he turned down to return to his community to become an organizer. I don't seen any "elist" Republicans working in poor communities or any communites to help make them better. All they are striving to do is keeping the rich richer. I was completely disgusted with the Rudy Guiluini mocking Obama community organizing and the klan members and the three (3)"uppity" negros( yes i know what uppity means) at the convention laughing at Guiluini. I use have some respect for McCain, but now that he have brought in Carl Rove into his campaign and have adopted the Rovain smear tatices I can even stand to look at him now. It is true that McCain did serve his country, but he did say that is only realized that he loved his county when he be a POW and it was possible that he may not return. Now he has employed the same old Bush advisers to smear Obama and take his words out of context. These are the same Bush advisers that in 2000 smeared McCain and I must say succesfully by saying that his wife was a drug addict and he had farthered a black child. This man has no honor nor integrity as far as am concerned. He should not be called the "maverick" he should be call McBush. Wake up America! Our country is in very serious trouble. We don't need Rove in the the White House for another four years.

    September 11, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  13. Former Republican for OBAMA

    COM ON AMERICANS DON'T LET US

    GET SOLD DOWN THE TUBES AGAIN.

    WE ARE IN SUCH AN ECONOMIC MESS,

    IT WILL TAKE 10 YEARS TO BEGIN TO GET OUT.

    September 11, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  14. TIRED OF THE GOP

    McCain camp does nothing but lie,

    Why should we think that he wants change? Just because you have half the lobbyiste on the pay roll is that so you can start telling them with out having to pick up a phone?

    You can't have change Washington, if your team are the enemy you would thing that he would know better huh.

    Seven top McCain officials were lobbyists, though the campaign stresses that none is currently registered to lobby Congress: • One: Campaign manager Rick Davis is a major telecommunications lobbyist. • Two: Senior foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann recently faced scrutiny over his foreign lobbying on behalf of the Republic of Georgia, which has been embroiled in a military conflict with Russia.
    • Three: Senior adviser Charlie Black was a foreign lobbyist for dictators in Zaire and Angola in the 1980s, fodder for the liberal group MoveOn.org.
    • Four: Frank Donatelli, the Republican National Committee's liaison to the McCain campaign, has had clients including Exxon Mobil.
    • Five: Economic adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer has lobbied for corporate giants like Koch Industries.
    • The final two lobbyists are McCain's congressional liaison, John Green, and national finance Co-chairman Wayne Berman. They both lobbied for Fannie Mae, the troubled mortgage giant.

    Game on Bit*#@#!

    September 11, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  15. A NATION OF WINERS

    THE DEMOCRATS SHOULD STOP PARTICIPATING

    IN THE TABLOID POLITICS THAT MCSENILE

    WANTS TO ENGAGE THE ENTIRE COUNTRY IN, AND

    SLAM THE SENILE VILE LITTLE BIGOT TO THE GROUND.

    September 11, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  16. steve

    Jesus was a community organizer? Oh great, just was chosen Obama needs, a self-comparison to Christ himself!!!!!

    September 11, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  17. jimmy

    RAMESH SHRESTHA ....IS THE DUMBO – IGNORAMUS BAR NONE. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST , THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD WAS NOT A COMMUNITY ORGANIZER AS YOU SO BLASPHEMOUSLY DESCRIBE OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR..
    HE IS THE KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. NEVER EVER IN HIS ENTIRE LIFE ON THIS LITTLE PLANET DID HE EVER SAY HE CAME TO EARTH TO BE A COMMUNITY ORGANIZER.
    YOU FOOL . YOU WILL EAT YOUR WORDS AND EVERYTHING YOU SAY WILL COME BACK TO YOU TENFOLD IN JUSDGEMENT.

    September 11, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  18. ArtNYC

    CNN, can you please take off all of your Obama ads from your site. How can you be unbiased when you get paid by Obama? How about fair and unbiased?

    September 11, 2008 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  19. jimmy

    JUDGEMENT AND ETERNAL PUNISHMENT..

    September 11, 2008 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  20. Erin

    McCain and Palin keep "nailing" obama on fictitious issues, and you will see he will rise again!!! The parallels are uncanny, aren't they!

    WWJD
    Obama/Biden '08

    September 11, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  21. jody deaderick

    Why haven't we seen more of Joe Biden, his family and lovely wife?
    I have always liked him and his story but my friends don't know him.

    September 11, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  22. NoMcSame No ReThuglicans

    So ReThuglicans hate people that graduate from Harvard and think that they are elite. What parent would hate the fact that their child was accepted into Harvard? These people want us to believe that a woman that went to five different universities in six years is stable and better than Biden as a VP? Give me a break.
    ReThuglicans never talk issues just slander and they are good at it too.
    Please don't let McSame slither into office while hiding behind Palin's skirt.

    September 11, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  23. Kaci

    My prediction? With the pick of Palin, John McCain has become more and more desperate. We will now begin to watch this whole Republican facade unravel before our very eyes. The win at all costs has made McCain look ridiculous. He was once held in high esteem by a majority of the country. We now see who he REALLY is – adulterous, Keating-5, lying, and totally without honor.

    September 11, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  24. MOST IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY ARE AGENTS FROM HELL

    CONTINUATION:

    WHAT I WILL PUT INTO QUESTION IS HIS HONOR AND HONESTY REMEMBER WHILE HE IS LYING ON THAT TABLE ALL BROKEN UP WHAT IS HE SAYING? HE IS PROFESSING HIS UNDYING LOVE FOR HIS WIFE! WELL WHAT DID THAT LOVE LEAD HIM TO DO AS SOON AS HE GOT HOME AND FOUND HIS WIFE 4 INCHES SHORTER DUE TO SHE HAD BEEN IN AN TERRIBLE CAR ACCIDENT THAT REQUIRED BONE TO BE TAKEN OUT OF HER LEGS LEAVING HER CRIPPLED THUS AS McCAIN TOLD OTHERS "SHE WAS VERY UNATTRACTIVE TO HIM" SO MUCH FOR LOVE AND HONOR.

    ANOTHER THING I NOTICED IN HIS GRAND CELEBRATION OF THE CONVENTION IS HOW THEY HIGHLIGHTED HIS MEETING OF CINDY, THEY CONVEINTLY LEFT OUT THE FACT THAT HE WAS STILL A MARRIED MAN WITH A CRIPPLED WIFE (THAT STOOD BY HIM RAISING HIS CHILDREN THE ENTIRE TIME HE WAS "SUFFERING WHILE CAPTURED" ) AND THEIR THREE CHILDREN AT HOME. OH, YEAH THEY LEFT THAT OUT LEAVING US GOOD CLEAN A LOVE STORY TO WOO OVER! THEY ALSO LEFT OUT THE FACT THAT HE WAS STILL MARRIED TO FIRST WIFE WHEN HE FIRST FILED FOR A MARRIAGE LICENSE AND WOULD NOT DIVORCE HER UNTIL 9 MONTHS LATER.

    SO YOU SEE THIS ENTIRE STORY WAS A LIE, AND NASTY LIE! THIS MY FRIENDS IS THE MAN'S TRUE USE OF WOMEN, EVEN THE WOMEN IN HIS LIFE SO WHAT DO YOU HONESTLY THINK YOU AND YOUR ISSUES WILL BE TO HIM OTHER THAN THE SAME PURPOSE PALIN'S SERVES BUT TO PROMOTE HIS LIFE LONG OPPORTUNIST AMBITION?

    THIS IS THE STILL THE SAME MAN THAT VOTES AGAINST WOMEN RIGHTS OF EQUAL PAY!

    September 11, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  25. Mike Mc

    A note to Obama and McCain:

    We as Americans can see through all this smear. Im sick of it and I believe I speak for alot of people (left and right, both parties are to blame).

    So to Obama, Please ignore these sophomoric comments, don't even respond to them. Stick to the issues and state your case, let the other side wallow in the mud with their silly insults and diversions. The Republican tactics have really become insulting to the average American, and although I am certainly aware that they are effective with some, I feel confident that anyone with a rational thinking mind can see that these tactics are really a diversion from an active debate regarding the pressing issues we face as a nation. We must move forward.

    To McCain: Remember your roots, you were a well respected, honorable politician in the past who wasnt afraid to challenge the party line. What happened to you? I realize the Rove playbook has worked in the past, however, it comes with a cost – that being your ability to be a trustworthy candidate in a time of great need. If you really believe in "Country First" then act like it! This is getting pathetic!

    Smear Tactics=No vision for our nations future.

    September 11, 2008 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
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