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. Bangoura

    Don´t worry Oboy, the American people is with you.

    January 6, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. Les

    When is telling the TRUTH about your voting record is swiftboating?

    Obama is offering change but he can't tell you how he is going to make those changes and what kind of changes he about to make. He said he wants to bring people together; I've heard this speech LITERALLY IDENTICAL many years ago, the man become President, his name is PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH JR.

    Obama is not getting my vote, I love this country too much to take a GAMBLE based on excellent oration but LACKING in SUBSTANCE in EVERY conceivable way.

    January 6, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  3. Poli-Anna

    If Obama is so worried about being Swift Boated (and he must be worried since he keeps mentioning it), he needs to take a mafia approach to the looming menace. If they send one of yours to the hospital, send one of theirs to the morgue, figuratively speaking, of course. His opposition research should be in high gear as to each and every one of the republican candidates NOW and he should be working on his responses to any dirt they might throw.

    The problem with the Democratic party is that they keep thinking with their brains and thinking that they can "reason" with a population that has been subjected to the eradication of a civics education and the Jerry Springerization of politics. If the Dems want to overcome the Rove machine (and the fact that he's gone from the Whitehouse is a sure sign that he's the "man behind the Republic curtains"), they'd better stop bringing butter knives to gun fights.

    I love Sen. Obama's positive message and outlook but he'd better be ready for the fight he's taken on and he'd better be ready - at a gut level - to give as good as or better than he's going to get.

    January 6, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. Issues please

    It's time to look at the issues that are of concern to the general public and where the candidates stand. 1. Jobs....John Edwards says he will either modify or enforce the trade agreements which are taking the jobs from us. Those who benefit are the corporations that get labor overseas for almost nothing. Hilary and the Republicans will not do anything about these because the corporations and lobbyist are their contributors and Hilary's husband started these. Taxes Edwards says he will give tax breaks to the middle class and poor. Hucklebee wants a flat sales tax and the elimination of all other taxes. That would not work fairly. If I make $4 million and spend only $300,000 per year (and hide the other include overseas) I'm not going to pay my fair share compared to the average citizen who is spending almost everything they earn for gas, food, etc. This makes me think Hucklebee is not bright enough to be President if he cannot see thru this or he is not for the average citizen. Lastly we all know most of the congress works to gets funds from the corporations and lobbyist and attaching thousands of earmarks that only increase the deficits instead of representing us so the change we need is Edwards not Obama who is all wind and no real plans. Lastly, like it or not there are so many racist in U.S. that if Obma makes as the Demo candidate, we will end up with a Republican president again probably Romney or McCain UGH!!!

    January 6, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. Walt, Belton, TX

    "They will try to Swiftboat me." Hell, the republicans aren't worried about that, Hillary will preempt them in a flash if she thinks that will turn the tide her way.

    Obama is becoming known as being flippant and Clinton is certainly becoming known as a flopper. That being the case, do we actually have, right here on our very own stage, an honest to goodness flip-flop?

    January 6, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. Jim, Chicago

    What could the Swiftboaters do that the famed and feared Clinton Smear Machine has not already tried?

    The Swiftboaters will crash and burn, just like the Clinton Smear Machine.

    January 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. Tim

    The GOP will stop at nothig to keep the White House. They did it to Kerry. They did it to Hillary. Now they will do it to Obama. Obama is right on this one.
    Limbaugh/Coulter /Hannity and the likes will bend the truth and make up all kinds of false statements. The GOP has in the recent pass ignored Obama or even supported him to eliminate Hillary because they didn't think he was a threat. Now that Obama looks to be winning the heart of Americans, the GOP will come after him.

    January 6, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  8. GOP Power

    Long serving senators?

    Hillary Clinton: 7 years
    John Edwards: 6 years

    January 6, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. Luis Torres

    Obama says that he will change the US; what kind of change is he talking about?
    socialism, islamic dictatorship; all changes are not good

    January 6, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  10. Pat D

    What has Obama ever accomplished? Yeah, I see that he gives warm, fuzzy political stump speeches that "energize" people – whatever that means. What has he proven he can actually do to be even considered for the highest office in the land?
    Experience and proven leadership honed over time is the real litmus test we should give all candidates running. What have they truly accomplished?
    And all the "promises" what the government should be doing for us. Ridiculous I say. Aren't our taxes high enough without more programs or regulations!?
    Why has this process become such a popularity contest?

    January 6, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |

    Obama excells in that he is nowhere near as polarizing as Hillary. I personally know numerous Republicans that like Obama, while having a quite visceral reaction to Hillary. This country needs to heal, and Obama readily shows the capacity to do so. And while Hillary continues to deliver lifeless stump speeches, Obama speaks extemporaneously from the heart. In essence, Hillary is the poll-chasing status quo corporate candidate, who pays lip service to what people care about, and it shows. By contrast, Obama has the spark of being the "real deal", an honest man on a mission, who seems to truly care. And his platform is sound. He's not just talking change, but the right changes at the right time with sincerity. While polls are dubious, they consistently show that currently, Obama could beat any of the Republican challengers. That clinches my vote. Go Barky-O Go!

    January 6, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. Nathan, Melbourne, Victoria

    The most interesting and worrying aspect for Obama is what my cousin said to me on Christmas Day. He told me how interesting Obama is, but being a Muslim would hurt him. No explanations of Obama's Christianity would sway my misinformed family member. Given what happened to Harold Ford Jnr in Tennessee, I think Obama will be hammered mercilessly by an effective Republican machine that has won 7 out of the last 10 General Elections.

    January 6, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. Beverly June Aksamit, Cleveland, Mo. 64734

    Hillary is by far the strongest Democrat candidate and she can handle the attacks that will come from the republicans. She is the only candidate, republican or democrat that has stressed fiscal responsibility and brought up the subject of the economy. My vote is for Hillary Clinton, the most intelligent, strongest and most experienced candidate running for President of the United States.

    January 6, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  14. Bernard, Adusei

    America, there is the safe bridge for you to cross. Mr Obama is the true and the safest bridge America can have now. Don't destroy him because he is your own. He will deliver this nation from the tyrants and keep your dreams and hopes high as the strong nation on earth.

    January 6, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  15. Cooper

    Obama all the way. You go boy. You are a dream come true. America is ready.

    January 6, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  16. llew gar

    you guys want a dynasty.. BUSH'88>Clinton'92>Clinton'96>bush'00>bush'04> clinton08? NEVER...NEVER
    Who is next .. Chelsea... hope she does not think that she can then succed her mother in NY. JeBush waiting as Prince of Wales...
    Lets get her out of the way so that there can be change

    January 6, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. Joe

    Les, get over it! Vote for whomever you wish and support same, post positive comments here about your candidate. Obama's right; we've had too much rancor and bitterness.

    I would, however, gently remind the Senator that the nomination, while looking very good for him at the moment, is not over. Never underestimate the Clintons and the "Beltway" powerbrokers backing her. If any "Swifboating" occurs, it will be in the next three weeks in the primary campaign. Hang on tight!

    January 6, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. Bimmer

    I agree with Les' analyais whole heartedly. I wish there are more of you to see through this veiled oratory of change. Please, Americans, please do not make the same mistake tagain. Everbody talks about change to get elected, as Charlie Gibson talked about it yesterday in the debate. After the election, promised change sometimes becomes change for bad.

    We, in the north of the border, are affected by your election in a signiifcant way, especially when it comes to fighting terrorism. Please consider among the Democrats who will be the toughest on fighting trrorism:

    A candidate whose city was attacked on 9/11 or a candidate who the Republicans are saying is the weakest on fighting terrorism.

    January 6, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. Bella Girl, Chicago, IL

    I cannot believe Obama has supporters. What has this country come to? He's a junior Senator here and was the ONLY Senator to vote FOR the early release of criminals convited of sex crimes. That would mean if he had his way, boatloads of child molestors would be running around on our city streets and NOT serving their full sentence. Just the type of change we need! People need to look at his record for reals. He keeps using the same buzz words and sound bytes of change but look at his record. Well I know first hand of his record here and it's not pretty! Sat thru 8 sessions on woman's reproductive rights and never voted! Never voted for woman's choice! He is trying to pander too much to the right wingers. I don't trust him. AT ALL.

    The Republicans support this man because they know in their card of cards they will sweep him up and put him out in the morning trash come election day. They are scared to death of Hillary the ONLY candidate that can take these thugs on. Senator Hillary Clinton is an open book and we know all about her past. Can we say the same about Obama? Who exactly is this man? Does he really come from Muslim roots and his father a former Islamofascist? It seems like you cannot question him or report anything negative or someone will pull out the race card. So much for unity and equal rights and fair reporting. They will swiftboat him alright. I fear for what will happen on our streets, think Rodney King. They are setting this up already and would not be shocked to hear they are also behind the ObamaDumbo Ears hype.

    This man is any empty suit and a puppet with nothing of substance to say. Whoever is behind his puppet strings needs to get an award. You do not vote on who is more likeable you vote who has a track record with proven results. Yeah, vote for the nice guy, like they did with GW Bush. Look where that got us.

    If it comes down to the clown Obama, I'm penning in Lou Dobbs!

    January 6, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. Matt B

    I see Obama as the best Dem for change.
    Do we really want our list of presidents to read Bush Clinton Bush Clinton. Come on, this is America not a monarchy. Fresh faces please!

    January 6, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  21. Karen

    While I voted in major elections in years past, I have never been so interested in what's happening in the politics of the primaries until this year. And that is, like many others, because of Obama. He has the ability to bring together political parties...even some Republicans have expressed sincere admiration for Obama's abilities. We, as a country, need that soooooo much! He has the ability to win over Independents and some Republicans. I'm sure the Clinton machine will attack, however, Senator Clinton doesn't have all that much experience she keeps talking about. The experience to put this country in a mess? She is also a "junior" senator without a track record either as a governor or a president. So what. I don't recall the Constitution specifying a candidate has to serve as First Lady to quality for being President.

    I like Obama's view of the "future" instead of Clinton's view of the "past". We don't need any more of the "past". Even more than resenting Senator Clinton's "downtalking" and her cutsey "I'm a woman" speeches is having to listen to Bill Clinton AGAIN. P-l-e-a-s-e spare me.

    The only "civil" campaigning possibilites I could expect from candidates would be if only Edwards, Obama, McCain and Huckabee are the only 4 left. Everyone else either just throws around "dirt" or talks about how great the "past" was and that is quite a turnoff. They are the only candidates who sincerely care about the disappearing middle class. I want to hear what our country CAN do...not what was. Obama has provided that...I do hope some of the rest of the candidates "grow up" and act like presidential material like Obama has. Our country is tired of hearing a bunch of rich folks bickering over who wins "the prize'. This isn't a game.

    Obama is very smart...what he doesn't know...I can trust he will find the answer and quickly. If 50% of the people hate Hillary, how could she possibly hope to bring the country together, bring Republicans and Democrats together, or for that matter bring world leaders together? I do have high respect for Gov. Huckabee on the Republican side. He also has the ability to cross "party lines'.

    Washington has become way too removed from "we the people"! No "mud-slinging" against Obama would sway me not to vote for him. I hope he maintains the "presidential-quality" composure he has displayed so far and not fall for the bait the mud-slinging "elitist" candidates throw.

    January 6, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  22. Another Steve

    Obama needs to stay on message about change and be the motivational speaker he can be and the American people will see he is plenty bright to be President. All the experience in Washington DC has done little to nothing to help the everyday citizen in this country. Tired old arguement about needed experience is just so much BS. Obama represents our desire to get out of the quagmire of polarized politics of special interests we have now. The Bush-Cheney mentality of either for us or agianst us. Unfortunately Bush and Cheney had a moment in history to unite this country after 9-11 and all they did was use this to expand their own personal agenda at the expense of the American public and economy. This has caused more damage to the American ideals than anything I've seen in my life and I though nothing could top Nixons betrayal of the office. Obama could be a great President if he stays on message as the change needs to come from us the people. He is only the motivator and while some persons criticize his speeches as not issues oriented, that is not necessary today with everyone having websites. Our great Presidents were motivational speakers that inspired us to be better. I hope that should he get the nomination he takes Edwards as his running mate as any great President needs someone to watch his back and Edwards has the courage to stand up to the jackels in our government.

    January 6, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  23. Pope



    January 6, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  24. CE, Wisconsin, USA

    Les, George Bush does not speak the King's english. Its one thing to not support the man, that is your right, but to say you have heard the same speech from both of them would not be possible. Bush was always a divider and his IQ always up for debate.

    January 6, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. whophantom

    Just keep your head held high and don't get into the same mud slinging as the losers. Show a lot of dignity as you are doing now and the smart American people will elect you our next President. Pump up the jam on how you would handle our problems here in America and abroad. That's what we want to hear.

    January 6, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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