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. wishfulthinking

    top ten great reasons for voting obama hussein as your next President...YIKES!

    he's likable
    he has hope
    he has energy
    he speaks well (argh!)
    he fresh
    a new voice
    a new vision
    a new face
    and the number one reason....he's just a pawn people, a means to and end, wake up!

    well, i am sick and tired of listening to such idiotic statements... and i have a dream/hope preacher speeches

    the nation will speak on SUPER TUESDAY!!!!! Believe it!
    .......IT WILL NOT BE obama

    January 6, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  2. Scott

    Obama has been US senator for 2 yrs before start run for president. So he has not been in US senator for long time to have some kind of experience

    January 6, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  3. dennis f.

    It seems to me that both Obama and now Edwards are riding too much on the
    word, "Change". While that should also play a part, yet it should not be the main focus as there are far more important "buzzwords" such as: Economy, Deficit,
    Exports, Jobs, Military, Health, etc. They are not the only ones for "change". Here
    is the REAL change:
    Hillary is also a candidate for change as she is trying hard to become the very first
    woman president. Why is it so hard for the USA to accept a brilliant and equally
    capable woman to be the President? Is it still the "ol' boys network" just like in the
    past? Other countries have had women Presidents, Prime Ministers, etc. such as
    Ireland, UK, Argentina, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, The Philippines, Germany, Pakistan, etc. are they more "democratic" than us?

    Women used to harp about "equality" yet now that there is a woman candidate
    for Pres. it appears that they are not supporting her. Is it jealousy? What is it?
    Iowa's women voted for the two Male Democrats rather than a woman? Wake up!
    wake up! wake up!

    January 6, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  4. bill

    With Obama I do get a hint of the "slickness" that really turns me off in Clinton. She and Bill will do anything to win the game they are playing with the power elite in D.C. I don't get the feeling that she cares about regular people at all.

    On the positive side for Obama, Robert Reich, a person I admire greatly for his concern for this nation, has said some good things about Obama's character. I can't think of anyone in politics I trust to tell the truth more than Robert Reich.

    January 6, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |

    Hey Barack. It's not "swift boating" to go after your unimpressive record. You're the one that never took a stand in Illinois and always voted "present." You're the one that has not held one meeting in the YEAR since you were named Chairman of the Foreign Relations committee.

    And for the record, you're campaign was the one that "swift boated" Jack Ryan in your Senate Race.

    January 6, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  6. Linda

    I am very disturbed by the tenor of some of the comments. The Democrats have a nu;mber of really fine candidates. Those of us who have decided have our favorite and have reasons for that person being our favorite. But let's not demonize the other ones, since one of them may end up being the nominee and will almost certainly be more in line with our values than any Republican nominee!!

    The Republicans have been all too good at dividing the country. Why do we want to join their game! The USA is no game – it's our lives and the world's lives.

    Obama has been involved in public work and service in a range of ways for many years, including his community, legal, Illinois and now Senatorial work. He is a person who has unique gifts and a freshenss to utilize them well, in combination with his high intelligence and interest in the world and ability to inspire. Because of him, many people of all ages who had never voted came out in Iowa. He has the ability to energize people and in a positive way. That is one way in which he is already bringing about very important change – increasing civic involvement including in young Americans. Big. Important. Harnessing that energy and letting it work for good and express itself to our country's gain.

    If I could make a hybrid candidate who had equal measures of Hillary's national and international policy exposure and Obama's ability to bring out the best in people and bring people together to solve problems, I would vote most enthusiastically for that candidate. But as it is, I plan to vote for Obama, because I feel he can ramp up to speed quickly, whereas Hillary (who I greatly respect and admire in other ways) hasn't learned to be engaging and positive and constructive with her opponents, and therefore would be handicapped in bringing about needed change.

    January 6, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  7. Matt A.

    To Michelle:

    There are reasons as to why someone likes your or not. Likability isn't one minute nuance, it's a series of many that determine the one aspect.
    Obama is what we need. There is no way Hillary would win against an opponent like McCain, and there is also no way that Hillary is going to be able to sit there and make the right decisions as she faces the many problems our country faces right now.

    Once again I will say Obama is our guy, through and through.

    January 6, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  8. JR Shelter

    A look at the evidence before us.
    1.) Barack is a brilliant communicator who can energize and motivate
    2.) So far he has energized young voters in large numbers. The pundits said they always disappear when it comes to caucuses; Not this time
    3.) Barack gets independents and republicans to vote for him – just the opposite of Hillary. Hillary unites the Republican party against the Dems in a way that even Republicans can only dream of.
    4.) So far he has ran a flawless, well organized campaign with few if any mistakes as opposed to Hillary who has made flub after miscalculation. Who is really best at running things?
    BOTTOM LINE: 1.) Obama is much more electable than Hillary because he energizes people Hillary couldn't even dream of getting in her camp.
    2.) Obama if elected has a much greater chance of getting something done because he can motivate and communicate on a level that Hillary can't even dream of. Hillary will revive the Clinton haters, polarize and cause gridlock, Obama will form coalitions that will be able to break grid lock

    January 6, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  9. lou

    NObama is right to start whining about November. He will beat Hillary and advance to be the nominee. Then his true background and the facts of his life will become known. At that point it will be too late for him to begin his whining, because he will be too busy tap dancing. Unfortunately, neither he nor Hillary will see the white house, except as guests of the new president, which will be neither of them.

    January 6, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  10. WorkingMan

    How about instead of this:

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

    You write THIS:

    "Obama was referring to the attacks faced by Sen. John Kerry after he captured the Democratic nomination in 2004 - attacks which were later proven to be completely false. However, by the time the stories were debunked, they had already done their damage."

    Is it THAT HARD to write something like this? How much trouble would it cause for your career? Is the complete truth something you in the MSM just can't EVER muster?

    January 6, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  11. Karen

    Gee Linda, you're a little wigged out there. Sheesh! I felt bad posting his dull as dish water voting record. I strived to stick with the facts and hope for some political discourse. No one needs to see the defintion of an i-pundit. You are it. Good grief, black isn't a dirty word. His school taught the Koran but wasn't a m-a-d-r-a-s-s-a. (no one demands you read any historical or polical literature but do us the favor of getting a dictionary). For goodness sake, go eat a sandwich. I can only hope your this whacked because your blood sugar is low. p.s. his middle name is Husein. psst...Message to Linda's family and friends... 5150.

    January 6, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  12. Jenny

    After that somewhat angered, pro Hilary comment above from Michelle B., I am more inclined to vote for Obama then ever before. I am certainly not voting for a defensive candidate such as Hillary who is supported by angered citizens. Anger is an old tactic and is not appealing to me in this campaign. We need someone who runs their campaign with positive energy, a fearless candidate that offers new strategies and can give us a fresh outlook and start in that office. Have faith in change. Go Obama! You are the one!

    January 6, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  13. Les

    Obama has a lot of experience compared to Hillary as US senator?

    Here's something for ALL of you OBAMA supporters MUST READ

    "Asked why he ran for the Senate in a state where rank-and-file lawmakers have been called 'mushrooms' (because they are kept in the dark and fed, uh, manure), Mr. Obama said: 'Part of it was that the seat opened up. I was living in the district, and the state legislature was a part-time position. It allowed me to get my feet wet in politics and test out whether I could get something done."


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

    And you want him to be President? I think a lot of you people are DOWNRIGHT INSANE!

    January 6, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  14. cleo

    How many elections has Hillary Won compared to Obama anyway. She is running under the umbrella of Bill Clinton. Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2004 with a landslide 70% of the vote in an election year marked by Republican gains. It is naive for anyone to be talking about race is this day and age

    January 6, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  15. PeterB

    Michelle –
    You scream of bitter clintonite!
    Settle down and accept that fact that a true progressive like Barack Obama has this thing sewed up tight

    January 6, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  16. paul, nyc ny

    'They will try to Swiftboat me'

    Now Obama is saying they (republicans) will swiftboat him. Only a couple of weeks ago he was chastising Hillary Clinton's adviser for answering a question about what would happen if Obama was the democratic nominee for president. Her camp received a lot of flack for that answer and now Obama's camp is saying it because it fit right into his big picture. HYPOcritical.

    January 6, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  17. Virginia

    Obama gives a wonderfully, eloquent speech. He seems a smart, talented man. But I have yet to hear him demonstrate he has anywhere near the command of the issues that Hillary has. I am very concerned that voters are getting carried away with inspirational speeches and not getting past that to know whether he really understands the issues and the challenges that he would face as president.

    January 6, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  18. Jack

    For those of you who say that Obama is all talk and no plan, you obviously haven't done your research. Just visit http://www.barackobama.com/issues/ for his stand on issues.

    For Linda, I'm sorry about the embarrassment of displaying your profound ignorance in such a public place but Senator Obama's middle name is Hussein, not "Mohammed". It's actually quite scary to see not only your but many of the other comments here–I certainly hope that the scary people with their bizarre comments who post here are not registered to vote.

    Presidential candidates like Barack Obama don't come along very often–JFK was the last. Obama has the charisma, positive attitude, and some indefinable qualities that put him head-and-shoulders above any other candidate, regardless of political party.

    Obama '08!

    January 6, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  19. Joann Schwartz

    I'm sorry but I do not feel comfortable with Obama if he gets the nomination. Not because he is Muslim, not because he is black, but because of his lack of experience. We MUST all remember that Bush had one term of Governor before he was PLACED in office, no political experience, but a huge amount of old Republicans offering everything up to get him in office for their own gain. Look at where this President and admin has gotten the American people! Do we really want this to happen again? I for one do not! Obama is very intelligent, a great public speaker, but a junior Senator. Also everyone needs to be reminded who he ran against in IL, a not so favorable Republican, anyone with a half a brain could see who was going to win that election. I want someone with experience to be President. The media has done a great job in pushing Obama to the forefront, for that matter Oprah has as well. I just wish the media would stay quiet with all of their so called "experts" and let the American people make up their own minds by listening to the candidates. Great public speaking does not make a great President. To be honest I am sick and tired of people bashing Hilary Clinton. If we all have individual brains out here then stop buying into all the lies that are said about her and just take the time to listen, I mean really listen to her and her platform. After that, then if you still choose to hate the woman and what she stands for at least you made up your own mind with out the help of the media, bloggers and other message boards. I did that by listening to what Obama has to say and what Edwards has to say and what Hillary has to say and I in my own free will like what Hillary has to say followed by Edwards, although recently I have become a little disillusioned with his attacks on Hillary. Hillary has my vote and support!

    January 6, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  20. Joel, Pittsburgh, PA

    Linda wrote:

    >I cannot believe this has not been all over the TV and newspapers.

    I can believe that it hasn't – because it isn't true.

    January 6, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  21. bob

    My observation...... for what it is worth. I think the American voting public will come out in record numbers if Obama is nominated. He trumpets "change" but he has no plan! After reading a great deal of these comments, I have not read a single one which defends this man with substance. He reminds me of Bill Murray in the movie "Stripes". He gives the great oratory and excites his troops but they stampede out the door with no plan and then begin scratching their heads wondering what they should do next. Putting this man into the most powerful position in the free world would virtually be the blind leading the blind. A very bad recipe indeed especially with such a delicate economy over the course of the next several years due to deflationary pressure and an unfavorable demographic cycle for consumer spending. My prediciton is that once America gets the chance to examine him more thoroughly, voters will come out in record numbers to avoid putting their fate in an untested, unproven person. He will bring out the "Fear" voters just to stop him at all costs.

    One more thing. Why can't this guy do his job for the people of the state of Illinois? We voted him in as our Senator and all he has done since he took his oath to serve as our Senator is campaign for a higher office! If he is ever elected as our President, he will likely put the people of the US in his rear view mirror just like the people of Illinois.

    Bob – Chicago

    January 6, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  22. me ofcourse

    Too early to talk about swiftboat!!!!!! Read this:
    Politics is a very complicated subject...
    Politics is not about looking good or trying to lecture people...Obama is the one beeing artificially prop up, not Clinton. The latter can actually do the work and bring us back to stability and confidence. Gop supporters and Independents are voting for Obama because they want somebody that they can easily tear down during the general election.. Think about it! In real politics race can not play a big factor, but experience count... This is the first nation in the face of the planet... Carefully select a 'Leader', not a talker or an immature.. Let us not mention Edwards; he's looking @ obama shoulders for running mate like last time; but this time he is not getting.. Even the most sublime forces of nature will not let it happen or let America in the hands of 2 immatures!! If they get the nomination, that will be it for the Democratic party!!! Thus, I'll be campaigning and voting for McCain or any other GOP nominee..This is not personal or the race for the Senate.
    YOU ALL WANTED GORE, BUSH WON... That is how it works... YOU ALL LIKE IMMATURES AND VERY ENERGIZED GUYS, but Clinton will have the most delegates at the end of the dayyyy.. Don't be last to line up to vote for her

    January 6, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  23. Joe

    Mrs Clinton is trying to play the race card. This could break her political career–warning to the clinton machine.–

    January 6, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  24. Haywood Jablomi


    You're a friggin' moron.

    While Obama does likely have a middle name that makes you hate him, strictly because it isn't a 'normal' WASPy name, it is Hussein, not Mohammed. (Last time I looked, Mohammed was a biblical name anynow, so I'm not sure why your'e bible-thumping big forehead would have such an issue with it.)

    His parents moved to Indonesia before he was a teenager, which is the last time he was in a Muslim school. He's a Christian – not that this even matters to me. We need a good president and public leader, not a minister. If you need more moral leadership, then why don't you spend more time at your churcn. The last time you elected a supposedly 'good old God-fearing southern boy', we ended up getting blind-sided by terrorists, spending billions on a senseless war that does not make us safer from some imminent threat (misplacing billions along the way), the pharmaceutical companies get to tell the government what profit they'll be taking, rather than having to compete like you supposed 'free-market talkers' claim you want, he and his administration lied countless times to us, committed treason by outing a CIA agent, and who knows what else.

    So, can you quit passing along stuff you heard while listening to Rush Limbaugh and actually do some reading and get some facts straight first? Then, maybe you wouldn't sound like such a psycho idiot.


    P.S. Based upon previous presidents from Illinois, I think we'll al be in pretty good hands with either Obama or Hillary (who went to school in the Chicago area when she was growing up.) They're both smart and good fighters and shouldn't be underestimated. We've had enough good 'ol boys for my lifetime, thanks.

    January 7, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  25. Marcia, Erie, Colorado

    CNN, please remove the racist and counter-factual craziness from these comments. I refer to the post by "smart" and the one that asserts Obama's middle name is Mohammed... I'm not an Obama supporter but I do think such a major news outlet as CNN has an obligation not to propagate vileness of this sort.

    January 7, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
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