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. Karen

    Duncan...are you speaking of the Patriotic Act vote in 2005 or the 2006 revised Act? Obama's vote was yes on one and no on the other one

    January 6, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  2. s berman

    First Republican ad:

    Latin American families talk of losing loved ones to the drug war, end caption. "Obama calls it "scoring some blow". We call it supporting drug cartels."

    Republican second ad;

    Shot of a small hut in Africa, voiceover; "Obma bought a 1.9 million dollar house while his grandmother lives here. Obama's grandmother has no health care,no electricity, and no running water, why would he care more about you?"

    Third ad;

    Shot of children playing in a school yard, caption; "You wouldn't elect someone who did cocaine to be on your child's school board? Why would you elect one to be President."

    Swift boat will be nothing. The democratic Party will be committing suicide by 17 year olds and independents if they allow them to nominate this man.

    The Republicans will eat him for breakfast. That's just his personal life nothis voting record which is mostly non existent.

    January 6, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  3. Karen

    oh, and Hillary voted the same as Obama on Patriotic Act...yes and no

    January 6, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  4. Bill Culver, Covington,LA

    Les... George W. Bush is NOT a JR. Give it some thought if you are capable of thought.

    January 6, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  5. Andrea Thorn

    Oh for God's sake. He's a product of the Chicago Democratic machine. Of course he has skeletons. THey had to push him up front before he had time to gather any more moss.

    Obama's idea of change is to make the government even bigger and more powerful. I do not want to be a serf!
    Where's my opt out clause???

    January 6, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  6. Geny

    Obama will win. America is ready for change, we are tired of the same washed up people from Washington, who have so far done nothing significant for the people. I mean Hillary talks so much about herself, and that she has supposedly done so much for the people, but what has she done??

    I haven't heard about ANYTHING. All I know is that in 90's when she was fighting for Universal Health Care, as soon as all the big medical insurance companies GAVE HER A BIG CHECK she quieted down. SO if she cares about money that much and can be bought that easily, what makes ME (or anyone else) want to trust her as president?
    I will not risk my life, or anybody else's life in her hands. That's why I will NOT vote for Hillary. GO Obama!! And Edwards for Vice President!!

    PS: I never knew that 8 years as first lady, and traveling to tourist spots around the world with her daughter Chelsea counted towards 'experience'? hmm...interesting.

    January 6, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  7. CC

    After watching Hilary last night, I think she's about to do a "Britney" yet and still beware! She's a "George W. Bush" in a skirt! Very dogmatic, arrogant, with a vicious temper! How she can equate that with change is absolutely absurd! She's not original, and continues to mimic Obama's proven strategies and phrases. Obama has insight, intuition, intelligence, and courage! Obama, the devil may come as a wolf in sheep's clothing, but as long as you keep your faith, and stay awake, you will slay his every attempt! Obama, we're ready to build a new America, and we are also ready for a Change! So let the swiftboaters, the haters, and the devils, Bring It On!

    January 6, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  8. Utrena

    Re: Duncan

    In all thy getting – get understanding...

    Fact Check: Obama's Consistent Position on the Patriot Act
    January 05, 2008
    Rhetoric: "Sen. Obama Promised to Support Repealing PATRIOT Act, Then Voted to Extend It"

    Reality: Obama Has Consistently Said He Would Support A Patriot Act That Would Strengthen Civil Liberties Without Sacrificing The Tools That Law Enforcement Needs To Keep Us Safe

    Obama Said That the Senate Compromise on the PATRIOT Act Was "Far From Perfect" But Modestly Improved the Original Law By Strengthening Civil Liberties Without Sacrificing the Tools That Law Enforcement Needs to Keep Us Safe. "Let me be clear: this compromise is not as good as the Senate version of the bill, nor is it as good as the SAFE Act that I have cosponsored. I suspect the vast majority of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle feel the same way. But, it's still better than what the House originally proposed. This compromise does modestly improve the PATRIOT Act by strengthening civil liberties protections without sacrificing the tools that law enforcement needs to keep us safe. In this compromise: we strengthened judicial review of both National Security Letters, the administrative subpoenas used by the FBI, and Section 215 orders, which can be used to obtain medical, financial and other personal records; we established hard time limits on sneak-and-peak searches and limits on roving wiretaps; we protected most libraries from being subject to National Security Letters; we preserved an individual's right to seek counsel and hire an attorney without fearing the FBI's wrath; and we allowed judicial review of the gag orders that accompany Section 215 searches. The compromise is far from perfect. I would have liked to see stronger judicial review of National Security Letters and shorter time limits on sneak and peak searches, among other things." [Speech on the Senate Floor, 2/16/06]

    2006: Obama Voted For a PATRIOT Act Reauthorization Bill That Included Three Key Changes Designed to Prevent Abuse of Authority By Law Enforcement. The final conference report to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act, passed by Congress in March of 2006, included three key changes that were not in the original bill that President Bush supported in 2005. In a report on the changes made to the final conference report to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act, CQ wrote, "One allows recipients of a court-approved request for business records to challenge a gag order, although to overturn it they would have to wait one year and prove the government acted in "bad faith." The second change removes a requirement that recipients of national security letters, which do not require court approval, disclose the names of attorneys they consult or intend to consult. The third change clarifies language in the 2001 law to ensure that libraries operating in traditional roles and not as Internet service providers would not be subject to national security letters." [CQ Legislative Summary on HR 3199, 12/18/06]

    Ø The Final PATRIOT Act Conference Report Included Key Changes Based On a Bill Obama Cosponsored Almost a Year Earlier. In 2005, Obama cosponsored a bill, the Security and Freedom and Enhancement (SAFE) Act of 2005 (S. 737), which amended the PATRIOT Act to safeguard against privacy violations. The bill required added safeguards to the "roving wiretap" provisions of the PATRIOT Act, requiring that electronic surveillance warrants contain specific information about the identity of the target or the place being wiretapped, and requiring that surveillance of a place only be conducted when a suspect is present at that place. The bill also limited law enforcement's authority to delay notice of a search warrant to circumstances where issuing a warrant would endanger an individual's physical safety, result in an individual's flight from prosecution. The key changes made to the final conference report on the PATRIOT Act were based on provisions in the SAFE Act. [H.R. 3199, S. 737, 109th Congress]

    Obama Joined A Filibuster To Block Bush's Version Of The Patriot Act

    2005: Obama Voted to Block a Conference Report on President Bush's Preferred Version of the PATRIOT Act. In 2005, Obama voted to block a vote on final passage of the original version of the PATRIOT Act reauthorization bill, which was supported by President Bush and sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN). The bill made permanent 14 of the 16 provisions of the original Act, which was set to expire at the end of 2005. The two remaining provisions, which dealt with access to business records and "roving wiretaps," were both extended for four years. [Vote #358, H.R. 3199, Motion rejected 52-47: R 50-5; D 2-41 (ND 2-37, SD 0-4); 12/16/05]

    January 6, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  9. Shannon, Charlottesville, Virginia

    duncan, i'd like to know that, too, and i am an obama supporter. i'd vote for any of the democratic candidates, but there are a couple mild concerns with each candidate (compared to severe concerns about every republican candidate), and this would be one of my bigger questions to obama.

    January 6, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  10. Michael in CA

    I agree that Hillary has the plans and convictions to do what's best for our country. Obama (a) was not interested in running for president when we was elected in '04 and (b) he claims t be this great champion and someone who has cleaned up DC. As Charles Gibson noted last night, the ethics reform bill didn't really clean up the way Obama is saying it did.

    Hillary was justified in almost jumpin gout of her seat, I cheered, and exclaimed I'm the one with change and the record to prove it! Obama if you do win the nomination beware the GOP attack machine, it plays on fear. We know that one person has wethered the GOP and that person is Hillary. Oh, and those of you who thin Obama has a strong record, just check out hi votes in IL state legislature. He didn't stand up and vote yes or no, he didn't take a stand to appease everyone. Oh, well if that's what you want go for it.

    Hillary you brought GOPers in Upstate NY in your corner and you can do it again with the rest of the country!

    January 6, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  11. Mark

    What is interesting is how can Hillary bash him to make herself look good, then if she doesn't win the nomination then tell her followers to support him? She obviously wouldn't want them to support a Republican but how can you trash someone then support him?

    January 6, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  12. Christopher

    As a registered Democrat, I would be happy with either Obama or Clinton as the Democratic nominee. However, it is foolish to believe that Obama's two years as a first term senator can be compared to Hillary's 35 years of exposure to government at local, state and national levels plus her two terms as Senator. Her exposure alone to the important international players makes her above and beyond the most qualified candidate whether or not you think that she is personable or not. We are in dire need of experience not just hope.

    January 6, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  13. Sholbo, Atlanta GA

    Hillarybee is so mean spirited that I will prefer to be locked up in a room with thousand snakes than sit on the same table with her.I saw the debate last night ; She sure shows how angry and bitter a person she is. She got angry and all I wanted to do was to just ask her to shut the hell up.Obama looks so presidential yesterday and I wish him goodluck.

    January 6, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  14. Michael

    If Obama wins...it wouldn't surprise me. People in the United States are so shortsighted and easily swayed by political manipulation.

    How else do you explain George Bush being elected TWICE...?!

    The same George Bush that was able to get the support of so many Americans in his goal of going to war with Iraq AND alienating the rest of the world in the process.

    Barack Obama is a wonderful orator and appeals to so many of the younger generation with his broad smile and poised look. However...I am DONE with people who...like George Bush... do not have the credentials or experience to run this country.

    If Barack Obama had Hilliary Clinton's experience and record of fighting the "bad guys" in Washington...I would be voting for Barack Obama. He doesn't and I won't.

    The job of President of the United States should not be entrusted to someone who spent so much time hanging around students and teaching students instead of GROWING UP in the real world of Washington.

    When Barack Obama finally stepped into Washington, he was absent on more than 70% of the measures before the Senate. If that is his record...then he shouldn't even be running.

    Obama for President...another mistake by the American people.

    January 6, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  15. Zack M.

    Obama voted for the patriot act, but offered a specific list of amendments along with it. Check it out for yourself, don't just follow blindly what hill says

    January 6, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  16. Mark

    God bless this man. Obama all the way!! For once someone will atcually care about AMERICA and not about special interests.

    January 6, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  17. Michele

    Good grief! At this rate Obama supporters will have him carrying in the cross. Talk to people from Ill. With Obama there is no 'there' there.

    January 6, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  18. llew gar

    BUSH'88>Clinton'92>Clinton'96>bush'00>bush'04> clinton08?

    January 6, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  19. Tim Calhoun '08, Moreno Valley, CA

    Re: Bimmer, this idea that Obama is weak on terrorism is nonsense. Obama wants to finish the job in Afghanistan (which we should have remained focused on in the first place) with an eye towards possible Al Qaeda and Taliban targets in Pakistan. We've heard for years now that Bin Laden is actually in Pakistan, so why haven't we done anything about it? Then again, our current Commander-in-Chief's family has ties with the Bin Ladens that go back decades, so I guess it's no surprise he's still alive.

    Everything Obama has said suggests he would make intelligent, informed decisions about possible military actions, as opposed to Sen. Clinton who helped sign Bush's blank check for Iraq.

    January 6, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  20. Marsha, Portland, OR

    They don't even have to swiftboat you. You don't have enough experience to be President. I'm a democrat and I won't even vote for Obama if he wins the Primary.

    January 6, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  21. Dave

    IF Obama wins you will see the highest voter turnout of all time.
    And the voters will not be for him.

    January 6, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  22. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    You're right Obama, all candidates will come after you with everything they've got. They have already stolen your "CHANGE" platform and are now using it for their own. Keeping them awake at night planning how to swift boat you will probably cause them to swift boat themselves. Boy, do I hate dirty politics.

    January 6, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  23. Linda

    I believe experience does matter. Would you have a major operation by some one with little experience or Would you find someone with many years of performing the operation you are seeking? If it was a life or death situation for you or a loved one what would you do? Hillary has the experience to handle the Republicans and her experience shows that she is highly knowlegeable in foreign affairs and she is a woman of her word. Look at her history. Not to mention, her husband was a former president that she can turn to to help resolve our foreign issues with the rest of the world. She has a plan to end this war, offer better healthcare for all americans, and like her husband get us out of this huge debt. She has all the qualifications to get the job done in Washington and all the key players to support her while she is there. It is about politics and she knows how to play the game better than any of the other candidates. Vote for Hillary. She will save us.

    January 6, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  24. S. A. Lockhart

    When the venue allows him to be specific, he is. For example, I heard him state that we should do what the Japanese do to Chinese imports. He said we should inspect them in China, meaning the process too.

    In case Mrs. Clinton and anyone else has forgotten, words are what many Americans religious beliefs are birthed from. Words are what millions of believers thrive from each Sunday morning. Lets not change the rules when we are not good at that part of the game.

    January 6, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  25. AL

    obama has shown the effects of positive messages. Others should take clue from him

    January 6, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
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