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. Independant Thinker

    Obama just doesn't get it.

    McCain didn't buckle to pressure from his party on immigration reform, he buckled to the will of the people as did other leaders.

    Also, if you know anything about Jesus, you know that he wasn't a community organizer, he was a maveric who bucked the system. That is why the Jewish leaders had him crucified, and Pilot washed his hands of the problem.

    September 10, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  2. Mike

    Al Sharpton is a community organizer, so is louis farrakan.

    September 10, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  3. Conservative and Proud


    Run for your life, Obama.

    September 10, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  4. Not a fan of the 'Cuda

    I just hope Obama keeps pointing out McCain's inability to use anything but bushies, lobbyists and Bush policies to try and win.

    I mean, if Limbaugh can twist your arm into picking a VP you don't know, Phil Gramm writes your econ plan, Mike Scully writes Palin's comments, her whole staff of issue preppers are Bushies (including the guy who called your daughter an illegitmate "black baby") and Rove/Bush protege Steve Schmidt is in charge of keeping you on message and can push you – Mr. Straight Talk – into recycling discredited scumbag sleeze attacks that was started by Alan Keyes, I'm sure you'll shake up Washington.

    September 10, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  5. Moderate Republican for Obama

    Again, this is something that Democrat surrogates should be doing. WHERE ARE ALL THE DEMS?

    September 10, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  6. David

    You know what? This guy is a Harvard law school grad. He could have easily made millions practicing law, and he knows that. Instead he becomes a community organizer and helps the poor and taught at Chicago University. I had an idiot at work tell me today that Palin could have taught constitutional law at Chicago University too. My reply was yeah right with her B.S. degree, she doesnt even know what the constitution is! These are the kind of people voting for her and McCain. Are you serious! someone actually thinks she could teach constitutional law there. They should be allowed to vote!!!! Instead of making millions practicing law he is applying for a measly 400k a year to help us and the poor and people talk down on him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Barack 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 10, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  7. Gerry

    McCain was for his own immigration bill before he was against it. Sarah Palin was for the bridge to nowhere before she was against it. John and Sarah, have you no shame? Do you take us all for fools? Obama/Biden 2008

    September 10, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  8. Conservative and Proud

    Also, if you're familiar with the Gospel, AT ALL, Pontius Pilate said Jesus had done nothing wrong. Pilate wasn't the one that wanted him to die, it was the community organizers that didn't agree with him.

    I'd rather have a Pentecostal than a person who believed America deserved 9/11.

    September 10, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  9. Hope in Nevada

    I am a Vet and registered Republican. But after 8 years of Bush and his team.....ENOUGH! Obama is the true agent of change and when it comes to Vice President credenitials Biden wins hands down over Palin. I hope the campains and the media can get back to the issues that matter so that others can make intelligent choices.

    September 10, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  10. facts are facts

    Only the inbreds and rednecks believe anything McCain and his elitist goons say in their campaigns. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to realize McCain is suffering from serious mental deterioration as all you have to do is listen to him and his confused state.

    The entire outside world is developing a real hate for this war monger and if Americans choose this pair of buffoons all they will accomplish is take Bush off the hook as the worst leader of any nation in recent history as they will displace him in this category.

    September 10, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  11. think people

    How could anyone mock a community organizer?

    How could anyone mock a life of service?

    How could anyone claim a Republican could bring positive change after the past 8 years if that Republican voted with the current administration 90% of the time?

    How could anyone think women would vote for a woman with no experience?

    How could anyone judge Obama for his color, others' actions, or his father's religion rather than the evidence of his own life, his record, his REAL family values, his political successes?

    Can't people think? Can't people think for the future? Are people so narrow minded and afraid to make the country what it was? What it could be? Where is the courage to be American again?

    September 10, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  12. BKOI

    I am really , really . proud of the US for the first time in my life ( sound familiar ) Thank you to everyone who defends Obama ! He is a great person , honest, and caring. There a lot of special interests out there who will do or say anything so he is not elected. McCain and Palin are just puppets of the same scary people that have run Washington for the past eight years . Ask yourself, if Palin is lying now and ducking re porters, what the hell is she going to be like if she is elected ?????? This is a person who is just being used by the BIG BOYS ,these are the people responsible for the reprehensible war that has killed those poor American soldiers,and countless innocent Iraqui's. John McCain is directly responsible for this. He still supports Bush"s lies . Is this the Man you want as President ???? THINK , there is the rest of your life, riding on this . Remember , you can put lipstick on a pig, it's still a PIG !!!!

    September 10, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  13. Independent Just Decided to Vote for Obama

    Obama, someone on the political shows said you need to keep to the issues and stop fighting the McCain camp's neverending criticisms.

    I AGREE!


    You were lacking about issues and remedies since early on, which is why I supported Hillary.

    I can't stand Palin, so I will agree to vote for Obama.

    September 10, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  14. jm from sc

    George, everyone's vote is important. We need to look at the entire context before making comments.

    McCain/Palin ticket is based on lies and McCain's time as POW.

    Obama/Biden ticket is based on issues.

    September 10, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  15. Dave G

    What surprises me is that with all of the games the Republicans play, and people actually seem to buy it. Somebody needs to take the "con" out of "conservative". They all seem to be con-men, and now they have a con-woman. When will people see through this? We've had 8 years of the emporer's new clothes, and people are still buying it...

    September 10, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  16. inuk of the north

    Yeah sure. Barack, the ivy league Harvard grad lawyer with whacko preacher and criminal element friends is just like Jesus.

    September 10, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  17. dav

    By the looks of it, the end is the beginning for McCain and Palin....

    September 10, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  18. Cynthia

    Community organizing is a quality that each politician should have. It should not only be commended but also emphasized of great significance. This country is composed of community organizers – church, charities, non-profit organizations, etc. – I thought that this a fundamental element needed in governmental entities.

    Obama/Biden 2008
    Clinton 2012

    September 10, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  19. Dave

    McCain and his Chamber of Commerce buddies in the RNC have been doing their best to keep a lid on any talk about immigration; maybe BO will force the issue out into the open.

    September 10, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  20. Issues 101

    That was a big mistake to lash at community organizers. But still, the GOP has been rising in recent polls. How out of touche should the republican candidates be, how low should the GOP go to be uncovered? Snap out of it people!!! We`re talking about 4 MORE YEARS !?! That would make it 12 altogether. Think about it. America deserves more.

    September 10, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  21. Nia Hussein - Phoenix, AZ

    Community Organizers are the ones who clean up after a political messes that leave communites voiceless... it's no easy task and for those who claim it is, I'd like to see you try it before knocking it for the sack of throwing a cleaver meaningless jab

    September 10, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  22. Olivia in Ashland, OHIO

    McCain and Karl Rove stop at nothing....SCARY!

    September 10, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  23. Shannon - Independent Voter

    mccain and palin the "christians" should be ashamed of their disgusting attacks on Community Organizers. They both have more money than any of us will ever see, they are the true elitist. Is there even a ghetto in Alaska?

    September 10, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  24. brenda

    I am ashamed of Americans that can fall into this media frenzy, I mean wearing TShirts with Socker Mom printed accross the front??? COME ON AMERICA GET REAL!!!! WHAT THE HELL IS THE MATTER WITH PEOPLE??? Our Country is about to fold and all they can think about is voting in someone with a pretty face ? What about you too media???? I know you are only doing your job but come on "enough is enough". What is it going to take to open up people's eyes in this country??? A DEPRESSION PERHAPS??? Stick with the issues, don't be swayed by a Beauty Contest, this is about our lives, the lives of our children and their children. The Republican Party is doing everything possible to keep John McCain out of the spotlight due to his ability to follow George Bush's Failed Policies, can't you see that? I have to admit it was a good stradegy but I am also banking on American's being smarter than that. This is an insult to the American People. The Republican Party is counting on you to fall in love with Sarah Palin and completely forget about John McCain and YOU are letting them trick you. Wake up People, right now you can't see the forrest for the trees!!

    September 10, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  25. Jewel

    I would just like to say your article on McCain-Palin in Virginia is grossly exaggerated. Yes, I do think that they will do well in VIrginia nd hopefully win. However, to say that Jim Webb "trounced" George Allen is a misrepresentation of the facts. A loss by only 9,000 votes in the great state of Virginia is to not exactly what I would call a decisive defeat. I wish your network would stop pushing your liberal bias on everyone and just report the facts.

    September 10, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
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