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. Big Vic from Reagan Country -Part II

    What is even more contradictory, is that there community organizers who do the work to protect woman and children thru domestic violence shelters, nursing programs, prenatal programs, teen pregnancy counseling, and the list goes on. A

    As a woman, Palin has the audacity to degrade the volunteer sector of America for being there for those in need (anyone remember the Red Cross).

    Also, the Republican party was also (at least since Reagan) about volunteerism, points of light, faith-based initiatives. They have shot themselves in the foot here. I guess they are not the party of Reagan afterall.

    September 10, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  2. Let's rebuild the country

    Thanks Obama for your inspiration and your courage.
    We need you to rebuild this country on true values.

    September 10, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  3. Voter

    McCain also was given his convention agenda... he "proposed" some topics but his leaders didn't like the theme so they re-wrote the theme and agenda for him.

    check if you don't believe me...

    The DNC is listening to Obama... the GOP isn't listening to McCain

    September 10, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  4. Vtercell

    The Presidency of the United States is not some sort of "ultimate test" of Affirmative Action. Barack Obama may be an intelligent and articulate person in his own right, but neither he nor his wife would have gotten where they are without having "cut in line" to be there on the basis of the mere fact that they happen to have a deeper tan than a whole lot of other folks. That is so stupid!

    What experience, really can Barack Obama lay claim to? He has never - never - actually GOVERNED anything. He has never LED anyone. He is an empty suit, full of words and wind and self pride, with no actual record of accomplishment. In another ten or twenty years he could perhaps be judged on the basis of what he could yet be capable of, but for right now he simply isn't worthy.

    September 10, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  5. Eve

    McCain thinks he no longer has to prove his "honor." This man may have tried to be honorable 25 years ago. What he does today is profoundly dishonorable. Only a man without honor could put up the kind of ads he does. He actually brings dishonor to himself, to the Navy (which is his family) and to this country. Nobody from now on, and even during his visit to Europe, believes that he would make a more honorable president than GW Bush. They all believe that Obama is the one who could restore honor to this country ,bring back its good beautiful name and respect around the world and help all Americans to live a decent life. McCain is a profoundly dishonorable man. Why do you bring commentators on CNN, the Larry King show today with that Fleischman, or even Gergen who becomes more and more disappointing, who insinuates things against Obama. This young man can and must become the next president. He can lead this great country. McCain will bring more war, misery and tragedy to this country. I am afraid Charlie Gibsen, who will speak on 9/11, the day Palin's son leaves for Iraq, will not be forceful enough. Did he have to submit his questions? He was sometimes weak toward Bush in interviews that's why he seems acceptable to interview Palin, Bush and the like. There are better, more forceful interviewers. Charlie is just a nice consciencious man, but I am afraid he will not accomplish what Palin and McCain deserve in their smear campaign and the hoopla with the Alaskan Babe in high spiky heals and spiky long fingernales. Obama has the right ideas and he will pursue them and earn the respect of the country and the world. I think we will be grateful to him for what he will try to accomplish.

    September 10, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  6. RJW

    Rudy, Palin must not know the meaning of community organizer. Other wise they would not have mock Obama. A community organizer sees first hand as to what his or her community need. Work with people on a personal basis, helping people, giving hope to the people when the Government has fail them. I would much have someone as my President that was a Community Organizer, than someone that was a Governor, at least Obama knows first hand what ordinary people need are. McCain and Palin has no idea about the struggle of real people. You want catch McCain and Palin in your Community until election time. At voting time think about who know you best? And are you better off now or eight years ago? You just got your answer as to who you Need to Vote for

    September 10, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  7. James

    This is a clear example of McCain's situational maverick status, his situational ethics, and his situational respect for Latinos, Chicanos, etc.

    He doesn't care about you except to convince you to vote for him. He laid spanish speaking people on the alter of sacrifice without blinking. He said he wouldn't vote for his own legislation when it would matter.

    It is truely amazing that the people who think they are the base of the republican party (low and middle income blue collar, church going whites) continue to think that voting the same type of people into office is going to give them a different result.

    You're anti choice or pro life?

    You just had a Republican President for 8 years, a Republican Congress for 6 years, and a moderate to conservative court for that entire time.

    I dont' remember any hard republican push to overturn Roe v. Wade.

    Every four years they try to get the so called "base" to turn out to vote for prolife, pro gun, less government, anti gay presidents and representatives and they never deliver.

    You are all being used.

    The sad part is you don't even care as long as someone you think you can't stand doesn't win. What is that phrase about cutting off your nose to spite your face?

    And now you're considering voting in someone more hawkish than Bush to send your sons and daughters off to fight thier corporate wars for the sake of patriotism?

    McCain was just in clips about expanding markets for American products. Wake up. He was talking about CAFTA without naming it. One of his first trips as a candidate was to Columbia, a nation one of his staffers is a lobbiest for. Say goodbye to more American jobs.

    When are you all going to wake up and realize that the true base of the republican party really does have an income of several hundred thousand dallors to several million dallors. Look at his tax cut proposal.

    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results

    September 10, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  8. Ms Wright


    When Sen Obama left Harvard Grad School

    He was courted by Top firms and Agencys to work and

    Make 6 figure salary


    What did he decide 2 do instead

    Head back to Chicago 2 make a difference


    Mccain/Gop.. U are a bunch of sneaky losers!!!

    September 10, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |



    OBAMA 08

    September 10, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  10. Sue in MI

    Typical Republican...give me a tax break, not so I can help out my fellow citizens in any way, but so I can pad my already comfortable retirement account, or buy another home, or take a vacation. There surely isn't anyone starving in MY neighborhood, and if someone is homeless, well, they'd just better get a job. So of course they make light of a community organizer–they see no reason to help the poor. And they call themselves Christian, on top of everything else. Yeah, Jesus was all about weapons and killing. Where exactly in the New Testament would that be, Miss "God's War?"

    September 10, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  11. RapidRay

    This has become a "mock" election by the Republicans.

    They are either mocking people (community organizers, the MSM, their own party's corruption) or screaming that they are the victims of the mocking (lipstick, sexism).

    Today there were a few minor mentions in the news that government officials were literally and figuratively in bed with big oil companies, but the Republican spin drowned it all out

    C'mon, CNN.
    How about an investigative report on this. It might be interesting to see how far up the ladder this goes. I would certainly welcome it a lot more than the "he said – she said" crap we had today.

    September 10, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  12. offwallst




    September 10, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  13. LA2NC

    I have a question for Rudy Guiliani, Sarah Palin, John Mccain and the rest of the out of touch GOP............ Where would NYC have been in the days after 911 without community organizers stepping up to help in all kinds of ways...........

    September 10, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  14. J Pistilli

    I just watched in shock McCain attack ad on Obama. It;s the one where he says quote 'He;s not ready to lead' That is nothing but code for what we are not ready for an Afican american President. I am highly offended by that ad, McCain wouldn't want a reference to his age or one concerning the qualifications of the non speaking Palin. I was a McCain supporter, but I have been listening carefully to the issues and Obama has a clear vision for the coutnry as it relates to the ecomony, education, healthcare and alternative fuel. I regret I ever consider supporting McCain.

    September 10, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  15. voter

    oh well, about time. It is a true statement. If McCain cannot stand up to his own party, then how can he stand up for change in washington. good point. Not only did he abandoned his own immigration bill because his party did not want amnesty, he also chose Palin because his party did not approve of lieberman or ridge because they were pro-choice. talk about being a maverick. yeah right more like a sidekick.

    September 10, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  16. adm

    How many miorities did you see at the RNC convention. For that matter how many young caucasian people.

    If this nation is to suceed, we must embrace all nationalities and erase this cancererous racism that continues to divide our country.

    What are we teaching our young; the future of this country?????

    Let's take notes from them. I live in the suburbs of southern CA. My children have friends of every race that feel as comfortable in my home as their own. ENOUGH!!!!!!!

    September 10, 2008 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  17. SCOTT



    September 10, 2008 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  18. kalliope

    I'm a community organizer, AND I wear lipstick. I'm also a flag-waving, pro-choice, tolerant, Christian liberal.

    Obama/Biden '08 The two candidates that are honest and intelligent enough to campaign on their own, AND answer questions from the press will prevail.

    September 10, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  19. Janelle

    In all fairness, you can't really cry foul when you started something. As soon as it was announced that Palin was McCain's pick for running mate, Obama was on every network and cable news cast being very sarcastic and mocking Palin's experience as a mayor in a town of less than 5000 people. Turn around is fair play, especially in politics.

    September 10, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  20. Justin

    Yep. McCain checked his maverick credentials at the door when he decided to run to be the GOP candidate for president. You can't be a true maverick and gain the support of people who just want four more years of Bush/Cheney.

    Look at McCain's campaign and it's pretty easy to see who's pulling his strings.

    September 10, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  21. No McCain

    Obama supporters do not give these lobbyist tied mccain companies your money.....
    Google, Verizon, US Airways, Dell, Fannie Mae, General Motors, and United Technologies, Hewlett Packard, Exxon and Land of Lakes. And If McCain wins lets boycott these companies and FOX news.

    September 10, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  22. Carl from MI

    Community Organizer.... someone giving SERVICE to the community... a person who puts people, community, service and country FIRST!!!

    And this is something worthy of being laughed at? Worthy of being scoffed at? Worthy of being ridiculed? Serving the needy in your community... helping out those who have lost their jobs and homes... giving SERVICE to the needy citizens of our nation... AND THE REPUBLICANS RIDICULE THIS? AND YOU STILL SUPPORT THEM?

    Nation.... the Republican Party deserves to be ridiculed for demeaning those who truly give themselves in service to our great nation and helps feed her hungry and clothes her children. Supporting those in COMMUNITY SERVICE is our PATRIOTIC DUTY... AND DEMEANING THEM IS UNPATRIOTIC AND TREASONOUS!!

    Guess which Party is UNPATRIOTIC AND TREASONOUS?????



    September 10, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  23. Quinn - Houston, Texas

    McCain's campaign manager was right.

    This election is NOT about issues, it's about personalities.

    Why else would we be talking about lipstick instead of home foreclosures?

    McCain is evil.

    Vote Obama/Biden 08!

    September 10, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  24. POW=PTS

    But "God" speaks to Ms. Holy Roller, mom of Corky and the Teen-tramp. She is the chosen one. Big HO on the highest. Blessed be oh great semi-automatic weapon woman.

    POW =PTS. I never liked Northern Exposure anyway.

    September 10, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  25. Southern Girl

    So sad. People don't care about the issues. It's a popularity contest. America is not ready to elect a African-American president. Let's face it. It's not going to happen. Barack Obama can talk all day about the issues, it makes complete sense, but Smalltown, USA will vote for people who look like them or claim to share their personal beliefs and value. A very sad day in America. Let's remember whites are still the majority. Remember this is the country that re-elected Bush.

    September 10, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
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