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. Hypocrisy is the name of the game

    GIVE EM HELL OBAMA...................McCain camp have some nerve to lecture people on judgment. McCain is a perverted politician who forget what GWB did to him in 2000. Now he see no reason not to try the "same old tactic" to get elected. What happened to country first???? I wouldn't vote for him even if Obama wasn't in the race.

    September 13, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. Brandon

    McCain camp has no right to ever question anyones camp. They are running the most devisive camp I have ever seen on the presidential stage. If McCain wins America will be worse off because we will for sure have given up on all morals. values or character. It is truely shameful to watch from the sidelines.

    God Bless us if we have social conservatives are attempting to smear people with sex ed distortion.

    September 13, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. Tejano

    Osama, what is this change you talk about. "We have the greatest country in the history of mankind, and I am going to change that."
    from his book, "The audacity of the Dope" I mean hope.

    September 13, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. cecil

    I Don't Want A BOLD FACE Liar For A President!

    Obama / Biden 08

    September 13, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  5. Peggy

    I liked Obama a lot but when I saw the ad that says McCain doesn't know how to use a computer or how to send an email, I was outraged. MY MOTHER is 73 and she doesn't know how to use a computer; that does not prevent her from opening her own primary school in 1984 in my country and for giving a great service. Are all Americans as arrogant as Obama?

    September 13, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    the wheels have come off and now the only question to be answereed is where in the tall weeds will this train wreck come to a screeching halt.

    September 13, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. Gerry in Virginia

    The bottom line is....

    SENATOR OBAMA CARES FOR THIS UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND WE THE PEOPLE.....

    JOHN MCCAIN cares about being elected President before he dies so he can show his daddy and grand daddy that he is more important then they were.

    JOHN MCBUSH isn't about what he can do to help the people, he's about how IMPORTANT JOHN MCCAIN is.....

    SENATOR OBAMA HAS A GREAT PLAN FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICAN AND IT'S PEOPLE..

    JOHN MCOLD would push sara off on us to make the U.S. voters look like idiots because HE WANTS TO LOOK IMPORTANT...

    JOHN MCCAIN LIES AND LIES AND LIES JUST TO MAKE HIM LOOK IMPORTANT....

    SENATOR OBAMA IS ONE OF US... SENATOR BIDEN IS ONE OF US.
    REGULAR PEOPLE LOOKING for GOOD LEADERSHIP to GET US OUT OF THE MESS that JOHN MC/BUSH REPUBLICANS HAVE GOTTEN US INTO.

    September 13, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  8. Vivian

    I think Obama sounds like he is in panic mode. He really needs to convince us that we can trust him. I think that McCain is right...Obama is full of empty words. I would like for Obama to talk about his own accomplishments during his tenure as a senator and why we have to trust him. I'm leaning for McCain because of his experience and proven record of accomplishments.

    September 13, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  9. independent

    good job obama. tell it like it is. seems the mccain campaign likes to call the kettle black (and muslim). 70% of americans (bush's disapproval rating) are not blind. we can see through mccain's lies and lack of integrity.

    September 13, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  10. Emma, San Jose, CA

    McCain and Palin are both corrupt and state one lie after another and rationalize every comment made about it with a justification for what they have said. It is frightening to think they might win an election and continue to try to hoodwink Americans.

    September 13, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. juiceball

    McShame is waiting for the pitbull to return because we all know that he can't draw a large crowd with her!

    September 13, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. USAF RET

    “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.”

    Now that's telling him. Don't take any more of his crap.

    Now McCain flat out lies and basically says it's OK because it's politics. Or his new favorite–if Obama would do what I say and have town hall meetings with me the campaign wouldn't be so negative. Please McCain, grow up. Obama runs his campaign and decides where and when he will go–not you. McCain may have had honor when he was a POW, but he's lost it some where since then, and until he finds it, he needs to stop playing the POW card.

    Obama is right–"he (McCain) must think we're stupid."

    September 13, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. Fort Collins,Colorado

    McCain is probabley taking a much needed nap this weekend. And besides there is no reasonf for him going out on the trail without Palin, no one will show up to see him......we will see how they are doing this time next week..America is wise to their lies and pandering, Keep it up McCain...You are reminding everyone just how much you are like Bush. We have listened to lies for eight years and you think we are going to fall for it again??

    September 13, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. Foreign observer

    He understands that the killings of 4000 US citizens and more than 100.000 Irakis have been good for nothing. That was just the US investment to create an Irak Al Queida. The surge only silenced the Irak Al Queida. But when McCain will understand...?

    September 13, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  15. Barbara

    NYT today – Senator McCain would rather lose his integrity than lose an election.

    Obama/Biden '08 – education, integrity, honesty

    September 13, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. HiLLARY SUPPORTER

    yes iam as an american woman worried about my house, kids education and gas prices so, WE WELCOME OBAMA TO DEFEND HIMSELF AND US FROM ALL THE LIES McCAIN putting out there.. ALL THEY TAIK ABT IS LIPSTICK, PIGS, TRYINNG TO IGNORE THE ISSUES. ITS NOT GUNA WORK THIS YEAR. WE WANT ANSWERS NOT LIPSTICK ON A PIG

    OBAMA O8

    September 13, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  17. br1 IN

    I was okay with the dumb ads until the one that said Obama wanted to teach kindergarten kids sex ed. That was disgusting.

    September 13, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  18. JohnJon

    Is there any level to how low McCain can go to win this election. Barrack Obama is doing the right thing. Time to ignore this man and his Poodle with lipstick and get on to the issues that Americans are concerned with. McCain will eventually implode with all the sleazy rhetroic. Come November the american public with show the GOP why they have had enough of the current adminstration and will take this country back from Bush's elite friends who have gotten richer and richer off the backs of americans.

    September 13, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  19. Big Bear, Bearden, AR 71720

    What record does Obama have that can be distorted? Even he says that he didn't do well as a Community organizer. His years in a law firm show no results of note. So, you just have to ask yourself, What has he done?
    Now I know that thousands of you are mesmerized by his eloquence, and you choose to ignore that he talks one way to Scranton, PA and a different way to Hollywood, but I also know that when you get him for leader of the free world, you will regret not using common sense to pick the next President.

    September 13, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  20. faye, NV

    A LEADER MAKES COMMONSENSE AND DO WHAT IS NECESSARY FOR THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY.

    OBAMA/BIDEN

    September 13, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. Mike, Syracuse NY

    What a hypocrit. When Obama 'warned' against going into Iraq, he was a virtually unknown IL State Senator, without access to any of the intelligence. He also admitted that if he had been in the US Senate, he couldn't say how he would have voted. 29 Democratic senators voted to authorize the war, including his VP pick Biden, as well as Edwards and Clinton. It's easy to be a Monday morning QB. He also opposed the surge, which worked dramatically.

    September 13, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  22. Sarah L., Fayetteville, AR

    McCain is running a dishonorable campaign. I used to respect Senator McCain and thought he would be different considering what Bush did to him in 2000. Unfortunately, he's done the same if not worse to Obama–ultimately doing a real disservice to the country he claims to love so much.

    September 13, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    “cynically running the sleaziest and least honorable campaign in modern presidential campaign history."

    That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Obama's campaign has been at least as unfair as McCain's. I say this as someone voting for neither of them.

    September 13, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  24. sue

    About time...McCain decided this was going to be a bare knuckle campaign-Obama decided to take off his gloves too.
    McCain is running out of natural & man made disasters to hide behind.

    September 13, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  25. CNN loves Palin

    Obama is a leader and the only SANE choice.

    September 13, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
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