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. whophantom

    Les, take the time and go to his website and read and listen to to his ideas and plans on dealing with our countries issues. He talks the talk and I feel he can walk the walk.

    January 6, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  2. Rob Springfield, IL

    We shouldn't be worried about the republican machine attacking Obama just yet. The Clintons have powerful friends that will stop at nothing to prevent Obama from winning the nomination. Hillary should still be our greatest concern.

    January 6, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  3. Ayyub, Richmond, Va

    Hillary attacking his voting record is OK. But, the things she misses is that he's record complies with his stance on issues today, while with her record it's doesn't all of the time. Hillary needs to watch her mouth because I was suprised no one up there or even in the crowd shouted out about her famous Iraq vote. Obama is right, they will come after him and he needs to keep his eyes wide open. Hillary and the GOP attack mechines will try to nearly kill him. They will throw anything at him, even lies or the half truth like Hillary did.

    January 6, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. gen. Andrew Jackson

    Majority of americans was duped by the conservative right, on all issues and that serves them right, this sub-prime creation was a tool created by those supporting this administration , to keep a false sense of economic growth within our economy, and those same people supported a false reasoning to invade Iraq. So now it is time to make better choices. Good luck my fellow AMERICANS!!!!

    January 6, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  5. Sluggo

    He is a handsome black man with a depp baritone voice. I will hire him for a TV commercial

    January 6, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  6. nadeem

    Obama has done a fantastic job of responding to the Clinton attack machine, and will do a fantastic job of responding to the republican swift boaters as well.

    So far the people believe Obama and not Hillary, one simple reason. Obama has not lied to the American people, the Clintons on the other hand, well you know the story there.

    January 6, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. Scott

    CNN Managing Editors:

    How about showing the real news on your Ballot Bowl?

    WHY is so much time being given free to the Clinton campaign and you are emphasizing the MASSIVE crowds that Barack is drawing?

    Looks like once again on Tuesday, Wolf Blitzer may need to say what he said Thursday night after Iowa: "boy, I didn't see that coming."

    January 6, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  8. Rene J.

    If you believe you will be "swiftboated" you better start talking substance. I'll vote for you in 8 years, but not now. As a serious Democrat, I think there's too much at stake to roll the dice on a lightweight.

    And by the way, your "nice guy" status is debatable based on two things I witnessed this week:

    First, you did not have the graciousness to acknowledge your opponents in the Iowa acceptance speech (very rude)

    Second, your retort to Hillary last night of "your likeable enough" was immature and pompous.

    January 6, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. Bella Girl, Chicago, IL

    I don't know how anybody could watch that debate and feel like Obama is ready to be President. He just didn't seem like he knew as much as the others. He was the least impressive to me. We're not voting for class favorite. We're voting for President. If Charlie Gibson can throw him on his signature issue of lobbyist money, I can only imagine what the Republicans will do to him.

    Let's not get this twisted. All of these candidates have operatives, consultants, pollsters, etc. that have been, are, and continue to be part of the Washington elite. John Edwards and Barack Obama espouse this idea of 'change' and ridding Washington of the status quo, but it's a bunch of hooey because we all know that if elected, they will bring with them their warm, fuzzy, Washington affiliated people that drive their message and control their actions. It just shows me that Obama is not genuine, only that he lies thru his teeth. So, although, many may view John Edwards and Barack Obama as new faces that will bring the welcome change needed, we must see beyond that and examine who and what surrounds them in their political circles. Even though the presentation and look may have changed a little, we must realize what still looks like a duck and quacks like a duck is indeed a duck. The same people continue to drive the message and control our government. It reminds me of the movie American Gangster in that none of these candidates' hands are completely clean, and so we, voters, must then distinguish between the lesser of evils, which is an impossible task. Evil is evil however one teases it and whatever way one spins it. Who wins? No one. As Americans we must deal with the broken political process, and in light of this sobering reality, voters should want and demand someone with the most experience to bring about the wanted change and deal with evil elsewhere in this world. Words are words, however inspirational they may be. I don't need inspiration; I go to church for that. Don't tell me what you're gonna do in pretty language. Tell me how you are going to do it. What I need is someone who can work for me and all Americans and come through on his or her promises. I believe Hillary Clinton is our wo(man)!

    January 6, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  10. Barbara

    Gov,Jim Doyle of Wi is endorsing Obama

    January 6, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  11. Duncan, Richmond, VA

    A question for all you Obama supports.. how can you claim to be an American (I assume you are if you are voting) and yet support someone who voted for the Patriot Act? Serious answers only please.. truly, I really would like to know..

    January 6, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  12. Stephen

    Thank you to all the haters!! We could not get to the nomination without you. Obama will win because the cards are stacked against him, Obama will win because the people of America will look beyond the politics of fear and look toward the politics of hope and what this country can be. Again thank you, you give us the drive to prove you wrong and improve America.

    January 6, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  13. CALVIN


    January 6, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  14. Simon, IA

    Obama has no chance in front of McCain. Democrats vote based on heart. Republicans vote based on mind. Most of the country at the end goes for mind (atleast 51% ).

    Just like McCain told Romney , yes you are an agent of change. Similarly, we will see Obama being taunted as a messenger of change because he changed in last 3 yrs.

    And Obama's actions dont follow his words in Senate. Big big minus point. Actions speak louder than words.

    Democrats are doomed in Nov if Obama is the nominee.

    January 6, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. John

    Don't worry, Obama will be OK. He is doing fine already in NH: according to a new poll today he gets 39% of the votes compared to 27" for HRC.

    GO OBAMA!!!!!!!

    (Oh, and a BIG HI from Switzerland everybody )

    January 6, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  16. Ayyub, Richmond, Va

    A question for all you Obama supports.. how can you claim to be an American (I assume you are if you are voting) and yet support someone who voted for the Patriot Act? Serious answers only please.. truly, I really would like to know..

    The Patriot Act at the time was to protect our national security. Too bad it was horibble. If you a Hillary support and and American why would support and vote for someone who voted for the Iraq war which KILLED THOUSANDS unlike the patriot act which killed nobody!

    January 6, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  17. Cinderella

    Does anyone listen to the candidates promises? I know they are JUST promises, but pertaining to fixing Healthcare which is my number one priority at the moment...Clinton says she will have it (healthcare problem) fixed by the end of her SECOND TERM. I can't wait that long! Why not do something about it in her FIRST TERM. Who says she'll have a second term.
    Maybe it has everything to do with the HMO's and Insurance Companies that have gave her a lot of her conributions? hhmmmmm, ya think??

    Research research research!

    January 6, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  18. nagbe

    God love and blessed this great nation so much that i believed he have given
    wisdom to an unknown and a unthinkable man OBAMA to lead and unite this nation so that we can reclaim our leadership of the world. un-neccessary threats to the rest of the world will give birth to more evil. the world need peace, to achieve it we as american must unite, not on party line and OBAMA is a uniter.

    January 6, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  19. Harold Bishop, NH

    We're with you Barack!

    We're with you!

    January 6, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  20. Just-Don't-Get-It, Chicago IL

    To all Obama supporters:
    Would one of you please explain to me HOW Barack Obama will bring CHANGE? I don't get it. I am a liberal. I am a Democrat. I am an activist. I have listened closely to Obama in debates and speeches, and I haven't heard anything substantive. He seems like a Pollyanna candidate who wants us all to play the "glad game." Would someone please explain to me (in concrete language, please) what all the excitement is about? I will get onboard if someone can help me understand what his campaign is all about. Touchy-feely rhetoric or meaningless slogans like "hope" or "change" will not suffice. I want a real explanation.

    By the way, Les is right. George W. Bush's rhetoric in the 2000 election was very similar to the rhetoric now being used by Barack Obama. George W. Bush did not run a divisive campaign at all. It was all about how we are all "Americans" and how we needed a "new" politics of unity, how he was going to be a new type of leaders, etc. Strange.

    January 6, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  21. Hays

    Thank you Les and Bimmer!

    "Fresh faces?" This isn't a high school election for Prom King and Queen. This is the Presidency. I will reluctantly vote for Obama if he is the candidate but he has NO business being the candidate and ONLY won in Iowa because a very weak, suggestable group of people listened to A TALK SHOW HOST! DO you want Oprah Winfrey choosing your President?

    Obama hasn't voted. Obama wasn't even in office to be faced with a vote on the war. And you do not govern in a vacuum; you NEED to have support within the infrastructure of American government. Of course Huckabee and Romney are sighting Obama–DON'T YOU SEE???? Saying that Obama is the one they fear is the best way to attack Clinton because THEY KNOW that she is THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN BEAT THEM.

    Wake up Democrats, or suffer the consequences.
    Hillary R. Clinton 2008!

    January 6, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |

    Given what we are facing as a nation today – the economy is imploding, we have critical mass in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Sudan and others we can not afford to have a president with a lot of speaking abilities and very little experience, this elections is not about who can be the best cheer leader it's about who can be the best world leader, one who is ready for the task from day one and not one who has to learn form scratch. American can not afford any more of that. Would you ever select a doctor simply because he was better at telling you what you like to hear or because they have a better hair cut and not the most experience one? That kind of selection could be disastrous for this nation. The republicans are all sipping bush's cool aid and banging on his war drums. Hilary is by far the best chance we have to shore up this nation during these very perilous times. I going to vote with my “children” in mind and what is best for this nation and that vote will be for Hillary !

    January 6, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  23. BP

    Obama just talk and talk. Empty speeches. I don't get mesmerize by this.

    Mr. Obama you are no John Kerry.

    I cannot gamble and vote for Edwards or Obama. With the situation we are experiencing right now (domestic and international), we need a leader who is experience in both domestic and international issues. On democrats, Clinton, Biden (unfortunately he dropped out) and Richardson and on the republican is McCain are the best candidate to lead our country.

    January 6, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  24. twila

    Obama's likability, message of change, and uniting the country....
    This nation needs to be reminded that George Bush was elected based on his likability, his promise to change Washington and unite the country... and we all know what happened since he became elected......

    January 6, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  25. William

    If Obama wins the democratic nomination, he will go on to become the first inter-racial , inter-faith president of the United States. We hope he will bring back the troops home and hop[e he will bring peace in the Middle East which no ex presidents could acheive. He will be able to do it because he know the hearts, mind and ideology.

    Go Obama 2008.

    January 6, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
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