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. Kim

    So it's ok to laugh about a person being a mayor of a small town and a Govenor of a less populated state than most and no one gets outraged, but there is outrage about him being a community organizer, and now I guess they are comparing him to Jesus, yet they hit Sarah Palin for asking for guidance from God in her efforts, what is wrong with this picture, this man is unbelievable and is followers are past cult like.

    September 11, 2008 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  2. Joe

    Barack for president ! Of all fifty seven states !

    September 11, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  3. KenB, MI

    No to pseudo mavericks...

    No to McCain who can't control his own campaign...

    No to transparent VP candidates with no concept of issues facing the American people

    Just say No

    September 11, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  4. Amanda

    I love how Obama is standing his ground. McCain and the rest of the crazies need to fall back and stop with disparaging Community Organizers. It was a stupid move on the part of the GOP to even go there, that's like crizicizing Mother Theresa, or Princess Diana for doing all of their charitable deeds. I would really like to know how these fools sleep at night? It's disgusting to think about their complete disregard for the people that carry our communities. And its even more disgusting to see that these idiots still have die hard supporters. What is America coming to???

    CNN please post this so the truth can be told.

    September 11, 2008 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  5. Marianne

    He is loosing it, he is loosing it.

    September 11, 2008 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  6. Why is McCain meeting with Convicted Italian Con Man

    It's in the Nation magazine, tomorrow – photo of McCain, campaign manager and former DHL lobbyist (hey there, Ohio)Rick Davis, meeting on Follieri's lot (he is a convicted Italian con man, with actress Anne Hathway.
    Happened August, 2006 on mccain's birthday.

    Why was John McCain and his campaign manager meeting with an Italian con man?

    Hello, CNN, anybody there?

    September 11, 2008 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  7. how

    CNN why haven't you ask her WHO told her to abort in America and also can you use a lie detector to find out if it's really TRUE or a campaign fool ya statement about her having such a "greatly supportive family", I for ONE don't care if it was TEN small ones.

    Another destration FROM the REAL issues of our economy....
    Republican bloggers are the ones that keep going back to NON important issues.

    September 11, 2008 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  8. robert

    Obama fight back dont let this crooks smear your image!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111 obama/biden 08

    September 11, 2008 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  9. LaVon k hummel

    Obama is one of the brightest person I ever seen. He dose , speak with such pose and wisdom, These words give me rest and pride. He is a self taught, He has been in the puplic eye for 15 years.and still thats not enough? really what is wrong with this county Now Obamas words inspire me. And McCains word are so bad at it , he is letting some one else do it. I swear the sound of her voice go right though me. The words she speaks over and over and over. The word s make my weary. angery . helpless sad. dose that not say anything. McCain stand behind Palins skirt as she so carefully rapesthe truth. I am not afraid to die. I am scared to live in a county . that is unable to see and hear what in right . because there so ignorant. were fat. dum most of us never bother to pick up a book. We are educated by our TV.s . and if the tube dosn't not fit our veiws we turn the channal. and never learn and then never grow. Were in trouble folks and you want your little pink houses. and perfect yards. and we want it all to stay the same, Which will be the ruin of us.

    September 11, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  10. Rob indetroit

    community organizer every community has one Rural,city every where,
    white,black, hispanic, asian, and all the other ethnic groups, out there.
    people plese dont let the republicans fool you, vote Dem.

    Obama-Biden 08'

    September 11, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  11. Jason

    Very well said – and all extremely true.

    September 11, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  12. BJ

    First of all, Palin did not slam "community organizers". She just likened the work as similar to that of a mayor's, the difference being, a mayor is answerable to constituents, and has budget constraints and responsibilities etc.

    If you are so easily offended, you need to get the "boulder off the shoulder", not unlike Barack brushing Hillary off.

    September 11, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  13. tedious898

    Does America have more racists than patriots? John McCain says "I will get Bin Laden when I'm president"

    He's holding us hostage (in fear no less) for America to elect him so that he can be the one that gets Bin Laden. That's Treason ...isn't it?

    I really don't like repubs at all. They are the most anti-USA I've every seen. They hate Barack because of his color and all but the native indians are from elsewhere. Hypocrits and all.

    John McCain would make a polecat puke

    September 11, 2008 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  14. Karl

    How come it is never brought up that John McCain used the lip stick on a pig comment when McCain talked about Hillary Clintons health plan

    September 11, 2008 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  15. Frank

    How dare that pig with lipstick and that rotten fish talk bad about community organizers. Who do you think will rally the voters on election day.

    Nice try !!

    September 11, 2008 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  16. sety

    Sarah Palin during her vice presidential nomination acceptance speech last week, “What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick.” The democrats and Senator Obama never thought she was referring to Senator Obama, they could have said he was referring to the Senator Obama in that statement but McCains camp have no shame playing low down dirty tactics. It is shameful and disgraceful for a major political party to "Republican party" avoid dealing with issues that have become very critical to the citizens of American, instead they are telling lies to their political gain. I never really know that this particular political party that tend to prove they are righteous can come so low in telling lies. Where does telling lies apply to their principles of being moral right?

    Do we really want these people as the next leaders of this great country?

    Vote for change.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 11, 2008 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  17. The right to vote!

    Without community organizers like Susan B. Anthony, women would not have the right to vote.

    And speaking of voting, there is an article out right now about how the GOP is trying to keep folks from voting in Michigan- the targeted folks are people who have suffered the foreclosure crisis in poor neighborhoods, mainly African-American areas.

    The GOP is disputing that since they no longer have a residence, they are no longer eligible to vote. They literally plan to bar folks from voting on election day. How about that? Because of the mortgage meltdown, folks not only lose their homes but their right to vote!

    Moreover, GOP across the country are beginning to take that lead as well in Pennsylvania and Ohio. It's time for community organizers to step in.

    September 11, 2008 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  18. Jerry Lucas Indiana

    like I said one side only greta job the most mistrusted news on tv

    September 11, 2008 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  19. Nya' in Texas

    Americans clearly aren't paying attention to these types of flip-flops by John McCain. He's the worst Republican nominee I've seen in a VERY long time. He used Sarah Palin's nomination purely as a strategic political move and he continues to say whatever he can to CHANGE the face of this election. Wake up and pay attention to the issues people!

    September 11, 2008 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  20. Mary Beth Steyer

    Republicans are suppose to represent conservatism and good christian morals, funny the way they have been behaving doesn't seem to support their base! They seem to be playing really dirty by making nastly insinuations with their gross ads, I don't think that is either behaving conservatively or in a christian manner. It makes me really wonder if they trully embrace those ideals, or do they just know how to play the trully confused people of this nation!

    September 11, 2008 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  21. US Citizen

    Obama voted along party lines 97% of the time. Not the best person to be calling out McCain for sticking with the party.

    September 11, 2008 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  22. Doris,Memphis,TN

    To help and give back to the community is one of the most admiral
    things any woman or man can do.

    September 11, 2008 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  23. Brian

    Questions: In Baracks book he talks about a period in his life of drug abuse. Was this when he was a community organizer? I want the truth. Did he make $300K from Tony Resko?
    Does Aires, a known U.S. terrorist Blog on his website?

    September 11, 2008 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  24. Todd Waugh

    Being an "organizer" within your community is a pretty general term and no doubt can be applied to various types of community involvement. Still, when your bold experience on your resume is community organizing as justification for being President of the United States that puts it into a much different perspective.

    Even still, this is more of the same rhetoric and we've heard it from the democrat side as well. Wesley Clark made comments saying being shot down over Vietnam isn't reason enough to make you President.

    Maybe not, but there's a difference between serving your country and serving your own personal agenda. Community organizing in Chicago is just a means of polarizing the community against itself. Obama's knee deep in racial politics and his agenda isn't anything less than turning communities against each other.

    As for republicans being elitist? Which party leaders asked if Obama was "black enough" or "down for the struggle?" Which party leaders have gone against their comments about womens rights, equal treatment?

    The only comments degrading anyone's race and gender have come from the democrat party and the main stream media.

    September 11, 2008 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  25. Antoinette - CA

    Funny that Palin was so concerned with things being "God's will" yet she overlooks the importance of His son's community organizing. Now who's flip-flopping??

    Obama for President!

    September 11, 2008 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
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