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. Marie from Dallas

    The GOP claims Palin is more qualified than Obama because she has served 20 months as governor of Alaska. Serving as a governor does not automatically deem one to be quaified to serve as President of the United States. REMEMBER : G.W. served as governor of the great state of Texas ... and look where the country is today!!

    September 10, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  2. ru4real

    Obama, should just continue to specify his plans and let the repunks dig the grave they have started to dig for themselves.

    September 10, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  3. MarkieBee

    Guiliani and Palin's remarks about community organizers led to a huge increase in volunteers at our local Obama For America office here in Sacramento. So she's energizing our base as well. I say keep taking swipes at the people who helped cleanup after FEMA in New Orleans. Keep taking swipes at the people who organized to boycott for better field workers' right in the West (Cesar Chavez). Keep taking swipes, Mrs. Palin, at those community organizers who helped secure voting rights for women (Susan B. Anthony) or those who helped secure civil rights for blacks (MLK). Community organizers all. Keep it up Palin, our movement becomes stronger and stronger because of the BS that continues to flow from your mouth.

    September 10, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  4. Clarice Harris

    A community organizer saved my me get into college and mentor me through my graduate program. Without the community organizer I'll be DEAD.....

    September 10, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  5. yarrrrr

    1. Jesus was a “community organizer”.

    2. Pontius Pilot was a “governor”.

    The only your types go to church is to community organize for the government.... see steve cohen and saul alinksy

    Anyway, Obama brought this dig on himself. He failed as a community organizer and constantly refered to Palin as only a small town mayor...

    September 10, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  6. Marty

    Yeah those comments were really crewl and I'm changing my vote to Obama/Biden

    September 10, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  7. Community Organizers for President!

    It isn't that the GOP were putting down the good things that community organizer's do for communities, they were simply pointing out that Obama has used that numerous times to tout his his experience. It seems pretty meager when you are seeking the highest office in the land.

    September 10, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  8. Holly from Minnesota

    The sooner we all stop paying attention to Palin's antics and start paying real attention to the presidential race and the ISSUES involved in this election, the better off we as a nation will be. THis is not American Idol–this is the future of our children at risk here!

    September 10, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  9. Rob indetroit

    To woman all over the country, heck to every body ,now you see why you can't vote for the republicans they dont care about the community

    Obama-Biden 08'

    September 10, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  10. Typical White Person

    Jesus was a “community organizer”.

    So he DOES think he is the messiah...

    September 10, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  11. Rebecca

    Despite the McCain camps lies about Obama's accomplishment he has a many in a short period of time. McCain and Palin are the biggest HYPOCRITES I've ever seen. The Republicans should be ashamed of them but instead stick up for their lies and just repeat them.

    Some of Senator Obama's accomplishments in the Illinois Senate:

    Introduced legislation reforming ethics and health care laws.
    Sponsored a law increasing tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform, and promoted increased subsidies for childcare.
    Obama supported Republican Governor Ryan's payday loan regulations and predatory mortgage lending regulations aimed at averting home foreclosures
    Sponsored a bill to monitor racial profiling.
    Voted on over 3000 bills. Voting present is a common practice in the Illinois Senate if you want to keep the bill alive to make some corrections. He only voted present less than 1% of the time.

    US Senate:
    Introduced "Lugar–Obama," which expanded the Nunn–Lugar cooperative threat reduction concept to conventional weapons
    Co sponsored the "Coburn–Obama Transparency Act," which authorized the a web portal to make congress spending public information.
    Introduced follow-up legislation: Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in Federal Spending Act of 2008.
    Sponsored legislation requiring nuclear plant owners to notify state and local authorities of radioactive leaks.
    Co-sponsored the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, which was signed into law in September 2007.
    Introduced the Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007.
    Sponsored the "Iran Sanctions Enabling Act"
    Co-sponsored legislation to reduce risks of nuclear terrorism.
    Sponsored an amendment to provide one year of job protection for family members caring for soldiers with combat-related injuries.

    These are just some of Obama’s accomplishments in his short career. Where are the Fact Checks and Snopes on these Republican smears and false rumors which are coming directly from the McCain campaign itself?

    September 10, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  12. MD

    McCain is a desperate old man whose political timeclock has run out.
    He's no longer a maverick, but a pathetic man compromising his honor to get to the White House.

    September 10, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  13. Elizabeth

    I guess it's Country First, McCain-Palin Second, Your Community Last.

    September 10, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  14. Annie

    Those comments at the convention made me sick. Are these the kind of people we want controlling our future, our kids' futures? John McCain is the lowest common denominator, he's a sellout.

    September 10, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  15. deborah, WV

    Glad to see that Obama is hitting back hard at McCain's attacks, but I hope that he will be careful to not be led far from the issues that we need to be talking about.

    In WV we are being told that Obama is only down 5 percent and that we have a shot at turning it around here.

    GO OBAMA!!!

    September 10, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  16. Tony

    Wow, the Republicans are getting desperate! All of Palin's dirt is coming to light while she hides from the media so they have to knock positive community focused work! I guess Republicans think this stuff should be government funded now

    September 10, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  17. Honor

    Obama has a good heart. We should honor his service to this country in the same way we honor John McCain's service.

    September 10, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  18. CM

    Only the GOP would try and put someone giving up a promising law career to become a champion for the poor.

    And they claim the Dems are the elitists?

    Debate the issues.....this is not about personalities.

    September 10, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  19. Jesus

    Blessed are the peacemakers.


    September 10, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  20. 4Obama

    Thank You Obama. I Love you because you are HONORABLE man that doesn't need a woman to prop you up or bring a crowd to you. You have dignity, grace and intelligence. Keep marching forward and you've got a big community walking right with you.

    September 10, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  21. Donyelle

    OK......FINALLY he is defending his work as a community organizer. I cringed when the republicans mocked his work at their convention. How is it ok for us to have whole news cycle dedicated to the "lipstick" bull that McCain -Palin put out for bait but no coverage of this. I have recently...well within the last two years started to pay attention to politics and my stomach actually turned when THEY intentionally put his work down as a community organizer. When you are don't know what a "community organizer" actually do. Why would you need one? Oh, I organize parties to laugh and mock at us poor working folk!
    Let us not forget......Obama owes Americans money....he works for us. Not Lobbyist. He owes us!!! How can that be wrong????? I want someone who works for me to be in the White House. We need someone who cares about the American people....
    McCain is power hungry and so is Palin. Why would she let them use her like that???
    As a woman..I wanted to be proud of her...but then I heard her speech..and did some investigating on my own. Such a disappointment.
    When is the media gonna start covering the issues again. I love politics...but I am sick of the bull.....I need to hear and KNOW where they stand on ISSUES....isn't that what voting is for?

    The WHOLE WORLD is watching us Americans! THE WHOLE WORLD!!!


    September 10, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  22. The Truth

    Hopefully Obama and the dems attack the sex ed comerical the scumbag Mc cain Palin team put out and endorsed.
    To make fun of teaching kids at a early age to get away from predators, is 20 times more disgusting then making fun of community organizers. (absoutely sick and appalling)
    Plus they need to remind America that under the republicans drill baby drill,our national security could be destroyed by just one bad Hurricane. (ahem)
    Then were really screwed, on our knees begging other countrys for oil anyway.
    Promote Hydrogen.. Hydrogen..
    If we can build an atom bomb in 14 months we can retool America to produce all things run on Hydrogen.
    Clean forever ours!!

    September 10, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  23. whybuffetmatters

    Yes, these are the issues McCain needs to answer. His flip-flopping and right-wing pandering has turned me off entirely. I am voting Obama not because I like him but he is far better than McCain's meaningless "country first" theme. Does he mean to say others are not country first? McCain is about bombing other nations first. Ridiculous.

    September 10, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  24. Shadow

    Here are Palin's qualifications:
    Liar, incompetence, unfit parent, hypocrite, two-faced, pig with lipstick, etc.

    As for Rudy, well he is just a morone. Here is a guy who ran for president and bet all his efforts on Florida alone. How stupid can you get. Or may be he is just senile like John McBush.

    September 10, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  25. Independent_me

    Obama lived HIS christianity by going amongst the "least of these" and advocating on their behalf.

    Christ did the same.

    We, as Christians, are supposed to follow Jesus's actions – especially as He told us that He would judge the nations by how they treat the poor!

    How ironic that Palin, supposedly a Christian – and a Governor (Like Herod) – would belittle Obama's good works!

    Jesus must surely be shaking His head in disgust!

    Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing, America!

    September 10, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
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