January 6th, 2008
02:47 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama: 'They will try to Swiftboat me'

Obama is running neck-and-neck with Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire.

Obama is running neck-and-neck with Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire.

EXETER, New Hampshire (CNN) - Barack Obama’s starting to talk about his fall campaign as a matter of when, not if – and so are some of his potential general election opponents.

Obama may be running neck-and-neck with New York Sen. Hillary Clinton in most polls of New Hampshire’s Democratic voters, but "I know once I win this Democratic nomination that the folks on the other side will come after me with everything they've got,” he told an Exeter, New Hampshire crowd Saturday. “They will try to Swiftboat me," he said.

Obama was referring to the attacks faced by Sen. John Kerry after he captured the Democratic nomination in 2004.

Republican Mitt Romney, in a close race of his own in the Granite State’s GOP primary, is trying to use Obama’s momentum to make the case against rival John McCain. The former Massachusetts governor told voters this weekend that "It’s time for someone to stand up to Barack Obama, who I think has a good chance of becoming the nominee. He's running against two long serving senators who talk about their experience, and he blows them away.

"Are we going to do the same and put up another long serving senator as our nominee?"

Romney’s had one eye on his rivals, and another on Obama, for a while now - his campaign sent out press releases targeting the Illinois senator on taxes before he won Iowa’s Democratic caucuses.

–CNN's Jessica Yellin and Peter Hamby

soundoff (251 Responses)
  1. Mike in Kentucky

    I really don't want to go here but...I can imagine an interview with the dealer who sold Mr. Obama bags of weed. I can hear the coke dealer talk about how many times they "tooted up" together.

    "Yes", Mr. Obama will say, " I used to smoke weed, when I was young, but I don't anymore, and yes he will say I have used cocaine, but I don't anymore."

    And the Republicans will ask over and over again, "When was the last time?"

    And the conservative media will have a field day!

    And what about Michelle, what was her role during this time in their lives? Make no mistake, she is fair game in this brutal process and the machine will out every misstep they can find.

    Do you see where I'm going? I'm sure the Republicans do!

    Don't be stupid, all of this and more will be in the headlines across this country if Barack Obama is nominated as the Democratic candidate.

    If you think this is harsh and unfair...just wait for the real thing!!

    January 7, 2008 03:36 am at 3:36 am |
  2. Mike, Milwaukee, WI

    Problem with The Hillary Campaign = WHERE IS THE BEEF?!

    She talks a really good game about how she has fought for change......she's right, change as in voting to authorize THE WAR IN IRAQ....that's not the kind of change I want in the White House again

    OBAMA 08

    January 7, 2008 03:49 am at 3:49 am |
  3. Mike in Kentucky

    Just so ya know, I am a Democrat and I will support the nominee of the party ,no matter who that might be, and make my best effort to blunt the Republican attack machine in whatever way I can. I simply want the best chance to win in '08.

    I just don't think Barack Obama is that best chance.

    January 7, 2008 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
  4. Jayson

    Saying that you will be swift boated just raises the fact that you have issues in your past that you don't want either brought to light or emphasized. Kerry got swiftboated because of foolish actions on his part and the fact that those actions emphasized character flaws that he would prefer stay hidden.

    January 7, 2008 05:00 am at 5:00 am |
  5. Desider

    Year 2000: Gore = Bush, they're both the same
    Year 2008: Hillary = Bush, they're both the same

    Year 2000: Who needs experience? I'll appoint the best and the brightest.
    Year 2008: Who needs experience? I'll appoint the best and the brightest

    Year 2000: "national mandate" – a margin of 1 vote in a Supreme Court rigged decision
    Year 2008: "national mandate" – a margin of 22,000 votes over 2 other competitors in a small midwest state before any other state has spoken

    Dec 2007: "Hillary is inevitable" = arrogant
    Jan 2007: "Obama is inevitable" = honest

    Definition: "inclusive" – the quixotic search for moderate Republicans while insulting half the Democratic base

    January 7, 2008 05:22 am at 5:22 am |
  6. Realist08

    Its' funny how we react to issues. Obama and Edwards slug Hilary, no problem! Hilary slugs Obama all hel broke loose.




    January 7, 2008 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  7. Independent in IA

    IF either Barak Obama OR John McCain were to get the 'nod' at the upcoming conventions, whichever one wins will underscore past results....this country will get EXACTLY WHAT IT DESERVES! Either a weak innefectual babe-in-the-woods who will be eaten alive by special interests in this country or world leaders who have ample experience with novices and neophytes, or a Bush lap-dog eager to follow in his master's footsteps and will plunge our military into even more ill-conceived and disasterous quagmires that will do nothing more than sacrifice more lives.

    Either way, the biggest loser will be the American public, unfortunately blinded by partisan dogma and pollyanna-ism. But then, that has become the norm, and even though that same public rails against the injustices perpetrated on them by those they elected through apathy, incompetence, or criminal behavior, they still continue to cast their ballots to elect them.

    January 7, 2008 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  8. Duncan, Richmond, VA

    "As far as Obama is concern , when he was a STATE SENATOR in ILLINOIS it was a PART TIME POSITION"

    All senators treat their jobs as part time. Have you seen how much time they have for vacation and how many staffers they have to read and write all their stuff?

    Take now for example. How can Obama, Clinton etc be paid for being a senator when they are current doing something for themselves. They have spent very little time doing their jobs and unlikely to do anything for the next 3-9 months.

    Anyone running for President should have to quit their day job.

    January 7, 2008 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  9. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    They wont need to swiftboat Obama. As a life long and very LOYAL DEMOCRAT, I wont even vote for him. Anyone with half a brain will either vote republican or stay home if this empty suit wins the democratic nomination. Obama is the Democratic version of George W. Bush. Who needs that??

    January 7, 2008 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  10. Marti, FL


    Have you ever attended the United Church of Christ? Please try it sometime and open your mind. As one of the many white people who attend that type of congregation, I can assure you it is not racist the way it is desperately portrayed on-line. It appears you guys cannot win with honesty, as Obama is doing, so you resort to outright lying. How sad.

    January 7, 2008 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  11. Mack

    Anybody can do a lot of talking about what they will do when they become President, but when they get in office the story changes. Obama talks a good game but will he deliver. We know that Hillary Clinton has a good pass track record. Why not give Hillary a Chance as President. Someone with the most experience.

    We want out of the iraq war. Hillary will end this war for us. Vote Hillary in 08.

    January 7, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  12. Gane

    Senator Edwards, I would NOT vote for you because you are making your case only on of the expense of Hilary Clinton.

    Gentleman?! What is it? On the debate you ware like a Hyena over her, before her suit... Is that a simple jealousy lire most of American women (surprise for me, even Pakistanis are more advance in this meter and Bhutto was killed from her enemies).

    Second, do you deny that "Clinton's machine" work peaty well for americans for 8 years ?

    It is partly your fault. Why didn't you win the Election in 2000? Now you are blaming Hilary that America is really in a big ...

    You still play your ego agenda, Sur! Obama will be chewed and spit from Republicans, because he has not very much to offer then word "Change" (He sounds to me like those communist leaders who had been feeding the people only with nice word and hopes of future almost heavenly life; UTOPIA, eh , worked for some period).

    Americans , please, just do not compare him with JFK.

    If you really are talking from your heard, it is not late you to make some REAL CHANGE- make sure Democrat to be in the Oval office this time even that is not you.

    As I rite on a CNN goes a Braking New about Iranians? I imagine Senator Obama in the Oval office with pence full of..

    Wake up Americans, it is very serious , do not blow it again!

    January 7, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  13. therealist

    In order to be Swift Boated, one has to be accused of lying about the past by comrades in arms at the time.

    That would mean Obama would have to be accused of lying about his Senate record by fellow Senators. ie..., Hillary

    January 7, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  14. JC, Topeka, Kansas

    Would Obama make a good President. Sure in 8-12 years, he needs to gather some more experince. Sure he has more elected time than some of the canidates but that does not mean he is ready. He is not educated in the ways of Washington, or foreign policy, but you say thats what we want an outsider to bring in change. But you see by verture of Obama being an inexperenced outsider, he can not bring about anything, because he has to work the system to bring about change. He need to be educated in what he can and can not acheive and how to go about getting it done.

    He's going to get everyone out of Iraq right now, sorry, not going to happen. It will take years for our military to get get out of Iraq, thats just the facts.

    Going to do this and do that, well, just how does he intent to make changes, through Congress, don't really think so, not with that attitude anyway. Hes been a elected official, but has he ever been in charge of anything that mattered. What has he really accomplished?

    So what in Obama's favor. He looks good, he can speak when he wants to, he's mulatto (half black/half white), hes 1st generation American, really. He does not fit the expected mold. His last name is not Clinton, which for some reason seems to offend some people. But just what has he accomplished to make anyone think he is qualified to hold the Office of President.

    Reminds me of the 1999 Republican Convention, when after George W Bush was nominated for President Ronald Reaga Jr make the statement, what qualifies him to be president, the fact thay he is no longer a drunken loud mouth. Well, I am asking the same question, just what qualifies Obama to be President., a part of one stint in the Senate, state legislative offices. Just not the same thing.

    January 7, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  15. J. McKinney SW MO

    I sure hope someone swiftboats you, Barack, as there has to be a way to get you out of there and get Hillary in to save the U.S.A. What is heaven's name is going on with people, to be voting in a young, inexperienced man with a good speaking ability? Things won't get done just because he talks pretty. We need someone able to actually DO something, not just talk about doing something. What has Obama ever accomplished? Hardly anything. THINK, People, THINK!! We will be dealing with the whole world, hopefully still as the greatest nation on earth. We need Hillary!!

    January 7, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  16. demwit

    Why would anyone swiftboat an un-seaworthy canoe??

    January 7, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  17. Jay (Jacksonville, FL)

    To Ken in San Diego...to not re-supply deployed troops involved in active conflict (whether you voted for war or not) is not wise. I am a veteran of previous conflict with Iraq (been there, done that) and I would not want to run out of food, ammo, or other needed supplies for civilian to be able to say "I told you so...". Put yourself in the position. Permission for war is not the same as supplying our troops.
    To the comment criticizing Obama's use of drugs as a youth... I experimented with drugs as a youth. I am now a highly-skilled professional with medical license and fulfill my civic duties. My patients don't care about a few 'youthful discrepancies', they care about my competency and integrity in my adult maturity. To judge someone's distant past is to say that you are without 'sin'. Pessimism will not stop Senator Obama's momentum and ability to motivate people from all walks of life to unite for the common good in America. He has the talent, personality, and capability needed now to restore America in good standings with the world. He has the ability to work in bi-partisan manner, which should shorten the time required to accomplish great things. In reality, he is not Superman, but he does possess all the traits of greatness in a political leader.

    January 7, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  18. Alex Chicago

    Obama as a Republican I can tolerate, you but dont start this feel sorry for me ...I am going to get Swiftboated....all swiftboated meant with John kerry was the truth was revealed.....Hopefully you wont be as big as Clown as kerry was for the simple sake of our Country.....

    January 7, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  19. Ted

    Can no one see how much bull crap Obama is feeding his followers? What changes has he done for his own state. He is nothing but a modern day what a be MLK .

    January 7, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  20. Ted/San Diego

    this is for Joe.
    Senator Clinton is not playing the race card. Have you really listen to Obama and how he carefully plays his race. Its not every blunt but race does get address in his speeches. He is just a good manipulator with words. 🙂

    January 7, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  21. Robert M. Reidy N.Y.


    You are angry, foolish and very much in need of professional help.

    I suggest you sneak out of that white supremacist compound before its to late.


    Be happy not sad – really you can do it !

    January 7, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  22. Robert M. Reidy N.Y.


    You are angry, foolish and very much in need of professional help.

    I suggest you sneak out of that white supremacist compound before its too late.


    Be happy not sad – really you can do it !

    January 7, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  23. Issues please

    Things I want in the coming years...1).Elimination or moderation of trade agreements that have moved jobs overseas ...because we need more than service industry jobs in the U.S 2) Staying out of tribal/civil wars 3) Making us safe by building alliances with our friends and securing our homeland not starting expensive wars abroad 4)FAIR tax laws not those that benefit the rich, the investors, etc 5) better reforms that get rid of earmarks, lobbyist, etc. so we can have a demoncracy again instead of most politicians only lining their pockets 6)someone to spend money on what is needed infrastructure, health care (not support of greedy insurance companies), 7) someone to fix the credit mess...we can't continue to live on credit cards, unsound home mortgage policies, etc WHO CAN I VOTE FOR???

    January 7, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  24. Cathy

    I think the US is ready for a woman president, but we definitely don't want another Clinton.

    I'm engaged to an education researcher, and sometimes help him with his work. Does this experience make me qualified to teach at a university? HELL NO! Experience means jack squat when you're trying to fix a broken system. Take a look at all the CEOs of the morgage companies that are suffering - for all their experience and training, many were absolutely not aware of how much of their investments were in subprime mortgages. And their experience certainly didn't help them to prevent the massive losses that are causing a recession. Having an experienced leader will not in itself fix the economy, will not fix healthcare, will not fix our tarnished reputation with the international community. Only someone with critical thinking skills, strong support from the people, and most importantly a VISION will be able to fix the mess in Washington. Obama speaks in generalities at stump speaches because he dreams so big.

    I really wish Condi Rice would have run. She's a thousand times more personable than Clinton, and the only thing against her would have been running as a Republican. (I'd have switched parties to vote for her over Clinton!)

    January 7, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  25. Thomas, Denver, CO

    I've said this in a previous post but it still keeps going over people's heads.

    Where do you get that Obama lacks experience?

    He served as an Illinois state senator for 8 years before he won election to the U.S. senate in 2004.

    If you're talking political experience, he will have 12 years of that going into the 2008 election. George Bush had 4 (one term as Texas governor) when he ran for president in 2000.

    While in the Illinois senate, Obama built a solid reputaton for himself as someone who crossed the aisle and party lines to achieve positive results.

    In his first two full years as a U.S. senator, he was one of the most prolific sponsors or co-sponsors of legislation with a great deal of the bils that he put his name to being passed, largely because of his ability to build support on both sides.

    So, cut the crap about Obama not being experienced enough.

    You're buying into the propaganda that other campaigns are putting out there because they know that many Americans are too freaking lazy to do any research to find out the facts.

    Educate yourselves and you will find out that Obama has plenty of experience.

    And ultimately...what is more important..political experience..or someone with good ideas and the drive to make them happen?

    How many of you work with people who have years of experience who suck at their jobs?

    How many of you have less "experience" but are better at what you do than those who have been around longer?

    January 7, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
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