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. ken

    Actually Obama, McCain did want to debate you on issuess and you said no. Or did you forget about that already?

    September 13, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. qq

    fight fight dight obama mccain is not the right person for America

    September 13, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. Ed

    McCain is wrong for America...period.

    September 13, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. S. Boatman

    The Truth Is John Mccain Was Once A Very Honorable Man And Now He Is A Sleazy Politician Running A Sleazy Campaign! Keep Telling Lies And Slinging Mud Mccain! Show The American People Who You Really Are!

    September 13, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. 911wille

    So much for inspiring Hope for Change. Maybe negative campaigning works, but Obama sure seems disingenuous when doing commercials that McCain can't send an email. Not saying the Sex Education for Kindergarteners that McCain did was any better.

    But every time I hear Obama its McCain did this and McCain said that. "They are Lying", "They are using Swift Boat Tactics"

    Give it a break.

    It all sounds a lot like whining.

    Think its working? Look at the polls...

    September 13, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  6. kalliope

    Enough of the McPalin phony outrage. Enough of more of the same. Americans deserve better than what the Republicans are asking us to settle for. Four more years, and dare I say, back in time even further if that's possible.

    Smarten up Americans. they court you, they get your vote on lies, and then they leave all of us but the very wealthy behind. Don't be fooled...again. History shows that empires end, and they are pushing us closer to that end.

    September 13, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  7. susie

    Obama is no angel either! Obama has been going after McCain, especially being very critical about McCain's physical injury concerning why McCain doesn't use a computer.
    Obama disrespects women constantly, makes fun of hunters, religion, and turns his nose on Americans who don't use computers.

    September 13, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  8. Mary

    Re: Palin- Obama probably wishes he'd picked Clinton as VP

    Such a highly arrrogant remark from Palin. Joe Biden is so far superior to Sarah Palin and she is NOT on a par with Hillary Clinton.

    I watched part of the interview with Charles Gibson, and at one point when she did not know the answer, she bristled and leaned forward in a very aggressive mode, AS IF TO SAY "HOW DARE YOU ASK ME THAt. " Her body language gave her away as the "Pit Bull with Lipstick" she describes herseslf.

    September 13, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Former Republican for OBAMA

    BLAST AWAY OBAMA.

    THE SENILE MORON WOULD LEAD THIS

    NATION DEEPER INTO THE BUSH POVERTY PIT.

    THE REPUBLICANS ARE DEAD SET TO GIVE THIS

    THIS NATION AWAY TO ALL THEIR LOBBYISTS & TO

    ANYONE THAT WILL GIVE THEM A SMALL KICKBACK. THE

    BUSH SIDEKICK & HIS SIDEKICK HAVEN'T TOLD A SINGLE

    TRUTH YET. THEY ARE AS SHADY AS THEY COME.

    September 13, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  10. OBAMA GET'S IT!

    WHERE ARE GEORGWEENIA'S TAX RETURNS??????? This will help us learn more about who she really is! They don't need that much time after all this information should have been a part of the vetting! So it should be on hand!

    September 13, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  11. jmh

    Now that Osama has meet with Bill the thrill Clinton this should be interesting. He runs out of ideas because he cannot take the preasure. Putting Billiary as his runnigmate would make him look even more stupid than he already is. She is three times more smarter than him and one thing he want allow is for someone to look more intellegent than him Poor Joe Biden. Obama really does not care that our country was attacked because his plan is to simply give it away to outsiders just like Thrill Bill did to our harbors. Go ahead and vote for him because when you don't want to stand and face your on enemy all you can yell is change not charge!!!!!!!!!!

    September 13, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. DC from NJ

    Just as Barack Obama said, John McCain is running the sleaziest campaign that has ever been seen (and it's hard to top Bush's campaign against Kerry). Unfortunately for the voters, Obama has no option except to respond in kind. I hope that the voters will soon wake up and remember what this country was like 8 years ago (no Iraq war, a surplus instead of the largest deficit in history, almost unversal respect for our country instead of contempt, a more stable economy, etc., etc.); it is painfully obvious that the last thing that we need to do is to elect a man who voted with George Bush over 90% of the time and who picked a person for Vice-President who is clearly unqualified. If this country elects McCain/Palin after 8 years of Bush, there is no hope left.

    September 13, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. Dana from NY

    McCain camp has the audacity to call Obama "low"... I saw the View and I saw McCain stumble at every legitimate question- so are the women of the view being sexist against women now too??
    John McCain and the GOP know very well what low is- it is THEM...and NOT Obama!! Get off it!

    September 13, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. Franky

    Ha!! Ha!! I just seen Governor Crist trying to blame "somebody" to why gas prices are high in Florida. Just tell him to MAN UP!!! Why?? Because oil is one of the biggest mysteries in this century...

    But tell him is O.K, he and his fellow GOP don't have to worry about it...ohhh wait, only if it affects them, LOL!! And by the way, tell the GOP that I thought they don't believe in conspiracies...ohh wait, only if it doesn't involve them, LOL!!!

    MAN UP!!!!

    September 13, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  15. Dr. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    THE BUSH SIDEKICK & HIS SIDEKICK COULDN'T

    PAS THE GED, LET ALONE TURN OUR ECONOMY

    AROUND. MCSENILE PICKED SOMEONE JUST AS

    INTELLECTUALLY BARREN AS HIMSELF & JUST AS SHADY.

    MCSENILE WANTS THAT OTHER 13TH HOUSE.

    September 13, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. The World is Watching.

    I will like to ask Americans to look deep into thier heart and ask themselves, why they want McCain to be President with his history of abandoning his sick wife who waited while he was in Vietnam. some of you called yourself christians but will not vote for Obama because, her loving mother who is one of you married a man from another race. I plead to you not to give Bush and his friend(McCain) another 4 years because of racism(Fear). God is watching. God bless America.

    September 13, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  17. Rodger

    Barack Obama wants to have honest debates on the issues, all McCain wants to do is to make it a beauty contest and tell lies and continue the Rove way of gutter politics....more of the same. We can see what he is doing and the American public was fooled twice, but now we say "ENOUGH!"

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

    HOW CAN ANYONE NOT GIVE CREDIT FOR BARAK TRYING HIS BEST TO STAY OUT OF THE GUTTER. THE MCCAIN CAMP CONTINUES TO TRY AND DISTRACT FROM THE ISSUES WITH HIS LIE AND NEGITIVITY BECAUSE HE KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT THE ISSUES. HIM AND HIS VP CHOICE HAVE NOTHING TO RUN ON OTHER THEN THE SAME OLD SAME ,OLD "BUSH DONTRINE" HAS RUN FOR THE LAST EIGHT YEARS. AS LONG AS THE DEMOCRATS-OBAMA. BIDEN, AND YES THE CLINTONS STAY ON THE HIGH ROAD THE DEMOCRATS WILL WIN THE WHITEHOUSE. NO MORE BUSH, NO MORE MCCAIN, NO MORE OF PALIN.

    September 13, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  19. Alaska and Arizona POW for Obama/Biden

    Vote smart this November. Vote good judgment. If you say that our economy is good now, you are an elitist and you do not know our struggle to put food on our bellies and gas in our cars. John McCain that elitist think the economy is good and has no plan to help us. He wants more wars, more tax cut for big corporate that ship our jobs oversees. Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania I know that your economies are hurting and you must vote smart and vote someone who understands your economics’ struggles. It is not time to support someone just for race or gender, it is time to take our country back and get our respect back around the world. Vote Democratic this November if you are a true American who put America first. We need change in Washington and the Democratic Party has that change for us this November.

    September 13, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  20. Craig

    Last week McDraft critisized Obama for not being supportive of Military weapon development in a time of war. I would like to think McOld is just senile but I am afraid he is a balding and bald faced liar. Last July McWar himself critisized the Pentagon's Future Combat Systems Development Program and said the whole budget should be scrapped. How does this liar face himself in the mirror?

    September 13, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  21. gigs

    what about palin's rally in nevada?

    September 13, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  22. Kathie

    McCain needs to talk about the issues, and his running mate, she is scary! God's war??? Why would the media say it's okay for her to blunder about the Bush Doctrine because they don't know what it is?? If she is next in line to the presidency and McCain already has one foot in the grave, I would say it's her business to know! Quite frankly I don't want a president or vice president that is just "so cute" she's irresistible. I want things done. McCain has had 26yrs. to change Washington, he should have stuck with the experience mantra, he hasn't changed a thing and we all know that he is just for the "rich get richer"

    September 13, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  23. Wayne in CA

    I've notice that the GOP has fallen in love with the phrase.."..a new low.." the irony is just too much....if the GOP thought that could swiftboat Barack and Joe like they did in the last two presidential elections...(including their own McCain it's important to note)..they are wrong..

    this time our man can fight back AND stay on topic with the real issues...

    throw the bums out...!!!

    September 13, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. Molly

    Obama is ALWAYS saying what the GOP's will say – BUT funny thing – they have NOT!!!!! Seems like it is obama – and his gang that goes negative – and then cries "poor me" – As Bill Clinton said:
    "Saddle Up"

    September 13, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  25. Regan Democrat/Clinton Republican

    As much as I know Obama which isn't that well I say in better times with more spare money available, I could vote for him fairly easily.However, we are going to be tested with him he is not a down and dirty scrapper of American prestige. I don't believe that he gets it we are not electing a CITZEN OF THE WORLD, as he told the Germans and Europeans. We the People elect and American tobe the President of the United States, for the United States not some global new order.

    I want a Republican President and a Democratic Congress this year.

    September 13, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
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