September 13th, 2008
12:01 PM ET
6 years ago

Ike winds don't cool tone on the trail, as Obama blasts McCain

Obama and his camp aimed tough talk at McCain Saturday.
Obama and his camp aimed tough talk at McCain Saturday.

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) – In a shift from the apolitical tone the presidential candidates took during Hurricane Gustav, Barack Obama did not temper his rhetoric Saturday, as his spokesman accused John McCain of “cynically running the sleaziest and least honorable campaign in modern presidential campaign history.”

“John McCain wants to have a debate about national security let’s have that debate. I warned that going into Iraq would distract us from Afghanistan. John McCain cheer-leaded for it. John McCain was wrong and I was right,” Obama told a screaming New Hampshire crowd.

“The McCain-Palin ticket, they don’t want to debate the Obama-Biden ticket on issues because they are running on eight more years of what we’ve just seen. And they know it,” Obama said. “As a consequence what they’re going to spend the next seven, eight weeks doing is trying to distract you.

“They’re going to talk about pigs and they’re going to talk about lipstick, they’re going to talk about Paris Hilton, they’re going to talk about Britney Spears. They will try to distort my record and they will try to undermine your trust in what the Democrats intend to do.”

Watch Obama on Hurricane Ike

Asked why the campaign responded differently than it did around hurricane Gustav, Obama Senior Strategist David Axelrod said,“We have enormous concern for people down there … that’s why we canceled “Saturday Night Live” … but these people also came out because they’re really concerned about the future of the country and he [Obama]wanted to talk about those issues.”

Listen: Obama camp conference call Saturday slams McCain

The McCain campaign criticized Obama for showing “zero restraint” given the storm and said “today’s attacks mark a new low from Barack Obama.”

The Obama camp’s response was even tougher. “We will take no lectures from John McCain who is cynically running the sleaziest and least honorable campaign in modern presidential campaign history,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. “His discredited ads with disgusting lies are running all over the country today. He runs a campaign not worthy of the office his is seeking.”

At the start of his rally, Obama did put politics aside, encouraging the thousands of voters in attendance to think about those in Texas dealing with the fall out from hurricane Ike.

“I’ve been on the phone with the head of FEMA and mayor of Houston and others who are trying to grapple with this tremendous storm,” he said “I know that one of the things that we’ve seen after Gustav, one of the things that we saw after Katrina and Rita is that during difficult times during moments of tragedy the American people come together. We may argue we may differ but we are all Americans.”

The enormous storm prompted the Obama campaign late Friday night to cancel their candidate’s appearance on the season premiere of “Saturday Night Live” saying that it was “no longer appropriate” given what Gulf residents were facing. Obama’s running-mate Senator Joe Biden also was supposed to attend the Manchester rally but did not.

However, unlike two weeks ago when hurricane Gustav was bearing down on Louisiana,

Obama heads back to Chicago for the weekend before heading out Monday to Colorado.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (354 Responses)
  1. Hillary Supporter

    Mc Cain is using OLD FASHION SWIFT VOTE POLITICS. HE IS A DIRTY OLD MAN , WHO HAS AN EYE FOR BEAUTY QUEENS AND RICH YOUNG FEMALE . America has TO PROTECT THEIR DAUGHTERS FROM John Mc Bush.

    September 13, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. Sorensen

    "Senior Strategist" Axelrod.
    You are at 48/48 with McCain. Your candidate looks like the deer in'
    the headlights.
    "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there.
    52 days left. You are losing!!
    Please get on with a new strategy, be consistent and execute.
    It does not look good now. Get help.

    September 13, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  3. Logic

    His age is much younger than Senator McCain, but never have I heard he ever call by Senator McCain rather than simply John McCain. This is showing how arrogant he is.

    On the other hand, Senator McCain always call him Senator Obama despite his age that much older than him.

    We don't need a man with zero experience but yet very arrogant to lead this country.

    September 13, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  4. Sherry, Atlanta

    MCCAIN IS AS STUPID AS THEY COME. . .

    DOES MCCAIN STILL WANT TO "DRILL HERE, DRILL NOW"?

    GIVEN THAT, AMERICA IS SURROUNDED BY THREE (3) OCEAN FRONT'S. . .JUST WHERE DOES MCCAIN PLAN TO DRILL?

    AMERICAN'S NEED TO ASK THEMSELVES. . .TROPICAL HURRICANE'S/STORM'S HAVE DEVASTED ANY POTENTIAL OF DRILLING PROSPECT'S. . .

    BAD INVESTMENT THAT AMERICA CAN'T AFFORD! ! !

    BUT NO. . .MCCAIN IS ONLY FOCUSED ON WAR!

    MCCAIN IS A TOTAL IDIOT! ! !

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08-'12

    September 13, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  5. Greg FL.

    Senator McCain, you can no longer accuse anyone of low tactics or unfair tactics.Your campaign has sunk to the bottom of the barrel. Your campaign has no honor nor do you. You justified it as "It's a tough business." And then said, It wouldn't have happened if Obama had done town halls with you. These are your own words. Sorry, but you don't get to cry about it anymore. Senator McCain It's a tough business. Get over it.

    September 13, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  6. fixthebroken

    Um, isn't Sarah Palin attending a rally in Anchorage this morning?

    So why the double standard from the McCain campaign about Obama holding a meeting today?

    Oh, yeah, the McCain campaign has been full of double standards and hypocrisy.

    September 13, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  7. Olu

    Mcsame and his band of sleazy liars may lie all they can about what Obama has done and what he hasnt done, The truth is that Obama is a movement that must happen and its only Obama that can stop himself from becoming the next POTUS.

    Soon Mcsames lead cast in the sleazy GOP movie (Pailn) will face the press they have been shielding her from and then there will be no script to read from and all Americans will see the emptiness in her and know between McCain and Obama whose judgement is better in leading the American people back to part of honor and prosperity.

    September 13, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  8. real, educated, no lipstick and caring mothers

    numskull repugnants....as low as a snake's a-s......and boy, that's LOW

    September 13, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. CM

    I don't think the GOP can now seriously call out anyone on 'new lows'.

    Now the media that is reporting on the blatent lies are being called the 'liberal media'.

    A lie is a lie GOP supporters. You guys are fanatics.

    September 13, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. keith loves America too much

    It ceases to amaze me that people still want to vote for a republican this fall. But i strongly believe in the end common sense will prevail and we will take America back. Eight is enough!!

    Obama 08

    September 13, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  11. VOTE FOR YOUR FAMILY FUTURE AND NOT YOUR EMOTIONS

    It would be such a shame is white women took this political race so personal that they would fall for the trickery that McCain/Palin, Carl Rove and all his lobbyist are using in order to get the same outcome that 2000 and 2004 gave them. This is the very same reason the gas prices are soaring, unemployment is at its highest, global warming is in effect and people that are sick without health care. Our kids will not know their full potential because American do not have the funds to send them to college. Other countries are looking at us in disgust. They will disrespect us even more if they watch this happen right in front of their eyes. This is sad that the presidential race has become a racial race with tricks and distractions. WHEN WILL THIS COUNTRY VOTE FOR WHAT IS IN THEIR BEST INTERESTS.

    September 13, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. josh

    please.

    Another day John McCain doesn't have to talk about issues is a good day for John McCain.

    September 13, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  13. Sick of McCain/Palin Ticket

    McCain has accused Senator Obama of showing "zero restraint". Give me a break! McCain shows no restraint from lying. John "Pinocchio" just can not stop lying. Senator Obama has the right to call out McCain's lies. It is a 24/7 job.

    September 13, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  14. S.Rice

    I was at the NH rally. After thanking the woman that introduced him and paying his respects, the very first thing he spoke of was hurricane Ike. He expressed concern, gave an update from his conversations with FEMA and other officials, then he asked supporters at the rally to contribute time and money to the Red Cross. He asked that people reach out to the Red Cross to see how they can help. Said money would be needed and even volunteers may need to go to TX and work. Then affirmed his confidence in everyone's ability and desire to help be they democrat, republican, or independent. First thing said. He did not begin to discuss opponents until well into his speech. Then, I doubt his remarks would be considered blasting! Also, just as a side, unlike John McCain and co., Senator Obama actually made it through an entire speech without telling a single lie!

    September 13, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  15. tainopower

    I AM TIRE OF OBAMA OFFERING CHALLENGES BUT HE WILL NOT HONOR THEM WEN MCCAIN TELL HIM LETS DO IT. OBAMA STOP MAKING CHALLENGES WE ALL KNOW YOU WONT DEBATE . UNLESS IS IN YOUR TERMS. MCCAIN OFFER YOU A GENERAL DEBATE MANY TIMES INCLUDING THIS PAST THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 11 AND YOU SAY NOTHING.

    September 13, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. Akanni

    Well look at that we are seeing the true Obama. A flaring temper and harsh words in a time of grave status for many Americans. He is so hell bent on winning he can not see the forest from the trees. All of a sudden Biden has the cool head and Obama is the firecracker. I am glad to see McCain and Palin handle his attacks to well, name calling will not win this election facts will. Things are not looking well for the Obama camp.

    September 13, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  17. Dr. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    MIMI TOLD THE DEMOCRATS WHO LISTENED

    THAT MCSLEAZO WILL MAKE THE 3 BUSH CAMPAIGNS

    LOOK HONORABLE. THIS SLIMY HAS SLITHERED AROUND

    LIKE A BAD GARDEN SLUG SINCE HE GOT INTO POLITICS.

    HE HAS LEFT A TRAIL OF SLIME EVERYWHERE HE HAS BEEN.

    HE STARTED HIS SLITTHER BY LEAVING HIS WHEELCHAIR

    BOUND WIFE FOR A RICH PILL POPPER, WHO WAS, WITH

    ALL HER MONEY COUGH STEELING PAIN PILLS FROM THE

    POOR OF THE POOR. MCSLEAZY WAS INVOLVED & FOUND

    GUILTY IN THE KEATING FIVE & LET GO WITH A SLAP ON THE

    WRIST.ALL MCSLEAZY WORKS FORE IS THAT 13TH HOUSE.

    September 13, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  18. Dude

    Mr Obama who can distort your already distorted record. What is your record anyway, Rev Wright, Razko., your mistreatment of Hilary and now your sucking upto Clintons. Where from you will get money for your wishlist. Americans wont be fooled by your empty rhetoric.
    Especially today you should be standing by Texans rather then spewing partisan venom.

    September 13, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  19. Obama lover

    ObAMA JUST STOP TALK ABOUT 8 YEARS,8 YEARS. ALL THE TIME THE SAME. TELL ME WHAT YOU AND YOUR BIDEN DID IN THIS 8 YEARS. NO HRC HO OBAMA.

    September 13, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  20. Pepou

    Another lie to the long list of Palin's lies : She did NOT go to Iraq. She visited the troop in Kuwait and went to an outpost at the border. Source : Boston Globe and Washington Post.

    September 13, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  21. sjp

    lets see now were supposed to be honorable and lay low during ike. even though the repubs and administration totally folded during katrina. i think people have gotten the message from the last 8 years that you better take care of yourself because the repubs in control could care less. but will put on a big show that leads to nothing.

    September 13, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  22. Yngvai

    More phony outrage from the McCain campaign. The McCain party is a joke and a bunch of whining hypocrites. They were the ones who started the entire Rovian attack ads and yet they whine like little babies when they're hit back.

    I used to have respect for McCain. He's somebody I might have voted for back in 2000....before he aligned more closely with the party of hypocrites like he's done for this election cycle.

    September 13, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  23. CJ/PA

    Barack Obama is correct. This is, indeed, the sleaziest, most dishonorable campaign I have ever seen as well, from the Republicans. I guess what can one expect from Steve Scfhmidt and Karl Rove, but I'm surprised and disappointed at John McCain allowing this to happen, unless he's now showing his true colors. Now that he has Palin, he can forget the issues altogether - he's so happy he doesn't know what to do with himself! He trots her out to make her sarcastic, mocking remarks and distortions, while he stands there like McDolt with that silly grin on his face. Then he says, "Change is a'comin'. Since when??
    Senator Obama, take the high road and stick to the issues, but keep saying 'ENOUGH!" to their sleaze and vitriol. That says it all.

    September 13, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  24. rightsaid

    Way to go Obama!
    We need you in Washington.

    September 13, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  25. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    How about clearly stating your detailed positions on issues every day rather than all this Hope and Change dog-and-pony show?

    September 13, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
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