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. tai

    Every mccain attack marks a low bar for them, they should not be talking.

    September 13, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. Amir, DC

    Unfortunately, that is the way to win. Obama cannot win just by focusing on the issues. He has to go as low as Mccain does. It is ironic how the American mentality works; "The lower you get, the higher you are in the Polls". Mccain lied his way to the top of the polls with his low express ride.

    I was hoping that Mccain, who suffered from smear attacks before by the hands of the president whom he voted with 90% afterwards, would ran a worthy campaign, as he pledged to. That is not the case.

    I hate to see Obama distracted from the issue into personal attacks, but this seems to be his only way to win.

    September 13, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  3. Ron Peoria, Il

    McCain spewed out enough "Lies" to last through the next week so he could take time off. He's very old and needs his rest.

    His "Lies" are going to catch up with him. There has to be at least a few Repubs out there that believe in telling the truth.

    September 13, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  4. Woman voter from VA

    "New Low" McCain you've tried the market on low by picking low month barracuda. She is against gays, stem cell research, equal rights for woman, abortion, equal pay for woman.

    She accuses Hillary of whining and then applauds her after she was named VP picked. She opposed things behind closed doors but changes story in front of the camera.

    All of Alaska knows she says one thing to get votes but her track record proves differenty. McCain and Palin don't agree on so many issues how will they reform if they can't even agree???

    Enough is enough.

    September 13, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. Go Barack

    Good, keep blasting McCain for telling lies. The Rovian tactics are demeaning of what this country stands for.

    I've sent another check to Barack and I've signed up to do a phone bank.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 13, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. gerri

    Bush,Cheney,Rove,Gonzales,Myers,Rumsfeld,McCain,Palin,Limbaugh etc.Most have left in disgrace,some are still hanging around and some should never be around.

    September 13, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  7. Girl in the South

    I just donated more to Obama. The more McCain keeps up this Lie Talk Express, the more I donate. So, thanks McCain!

    September 13, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. Loretta

    We won't hear about the issues affecting the American people from the GOP camp.....just lies and attacks.

    September 13, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  9. Patman

    Go get em Barack! Funny how McCain throws out all these cheap shots but when you come back against him, he whines like a byatch. Hardly becoming of a man whose whole political careen has been built on being a POW. I don't care what the polls or the pundits say, I strongly feel that this is Obama's time and while it doesn't look like it now, McCain's disgusting campaign is simply sealing the deal.

    September 13, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. juiceball

    The McShame folks are a bunch of hypocrites!

    September 13, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  11. Roger

    Talk about same old politics! Obama is a fake.

    Where was Obama when McCain toured Lousiana. And now this, using IKE to his advantage.

    GO McCain/Palin!!!!

    September 13, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  12. Karen

    No one could ever accuse the McCain campaign hitting a "new low" with their attack adds. That is all they do, and they have been doing it for a long time! McCain's adds are deceitful at best, attacking Barack Obama rather than stating what McCain will do to solve America's problems. Furthermore, Senator Obama, in his remarks on Saturday was only responding to what we have all been viewing and listening to on TV in the McCain "attack" adds!

    September 13, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. SAGG

    "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.”"

    Whoa. Now THAT'S the tough response I've wanted! Good going, Obama!

    September 13, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  14. Observer

    Go get 'em, Barack!

    September 13, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. Peter of Oregon

    Go get em!

    September 13, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  16. Suzanne

    McCain is treading on water if his campaign tries to make a political football out of Hurricane Ike. How base! It is hard to watch the grown adults who run his campaign grovel like that.

    September 13, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  17. Don

    A new low??
    it seem that everytime Sen. Obama opens his mouth, the McCain campain runs around saying that he has sunk to a new low.

    It's hard for me to except that comming form a man who puts out tv ads condeming Sen Obama for his vote, when McCain voted the same way. It doesn't get any lower that bold face lies and hypocracy Sen McCain. Shame on you.

    You have sacraficed you character Sen McCain, I hope you can live with that.

    September 13, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  18. RyanD.

    A new low? Obama could never tread the depths of the McCain campaign.

    John is looking HORRID right now, just ugly lying and cynicism. He thinks we're dumb, apparently.

    September 13, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  19. Sammy

    I imagine he kept up the campaigning because inside he is seething over the last couple of McCain commercials. Just a guess.

    September 13, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  20. DON'T BACK DOWN!

    Go Barack! Keep telling it like it is. And do not let their smears force you to back down. At least those of us who are paying attention to something OTHER than lies and distortions are hearing you – LOUD AND CLEAR!

    No more lies – we've had 8 years of the most destructive kind to our great country. We can not afford 4 more. Obama/Biden 08

    September 13, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  21. Amazed

    Where was president Bush? He conveniently stayed away from convension because of Gustav, and disappeared again during Ike.
    McCain's campaign/party should address their parties shortcomings first before criticizing others.

    September 13, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  22. Peter of Oregon

    McCain needs to use new material... everything Obama does when he attacks McCain on the facts is "a whole new low" or "playing from the bottom of the deck." Your material is old. I hope CNN plays McCain's talking points during his nomination speech and takes note of how it is lock and step with what Bush said during his first nomination speech. McCain and Bush are run by the same people, they have the same policies, and perspectives on how America should be run, and they both deliver the same empty promises.

    September 13, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  23. Bayou Joe

    All wind and no substance. The Socialist is going down in November.

    This man has a lot of nerve questioning Palin's experience. She has more executive experience in one week as governor of Alaska than he has in his entire adult life. Let me remind Ya/lll ,, McCain is the Presidential Candidate, not Palin. Demos are Toast.

    September 13, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  24. Chris, Antioch, CA

    Good for Obama. There's not enough time to sit back and wait out Hurricane season when the needs of our country are so glaring. And he's right about McCain's strategy.

    The GOP have been enacting a three-part plan:
    1. make as many voters as possible low-info voters by not talking about any issues, 2. play the victim card when they can to manipulate emotions in these voters (ie the Palin pick), and 3. claim over and over again that the Dems don't get the Heartland

    All of this is devious, cynical, and of course BS. Republicans are intolerant, greed-driven racists. Their leadership doesn't give a crap about America, only in profiteering from the privilege of power and government. It's so obvious: McCain's entire staff are lobbyists. I'm so sick of this. LOOK PAST THEIR LIES!

    Obama / Biden 08 and 12

    September 13, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. Sarah

    Given that McCain released new negative ads (full of lies according to factcheck.org) on SEPTEMBER 11th and continues his negative ads during the hurricane, I'm amazed that McCain has the GALL to attack Obama for continuing his campaign.

    Nasty hypocrite.

    September 13, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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