April 17th, 2008
03:13 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama brushes Clinton off his shoulders—literally


Listen to Obama’s remarks on Clinton Thursday.

RALEIGH, North Carolina (CNN)-–Democrat Barack Obama said Thursday that rival Hillary Clinton was "in her element" at Wednesday night's debate, telling a North Carolina crowd she "took every opportunity to get a dig in."

He used his hands to motion brushing his shoulders off. "That's her right to kind of twist the knife in a little bit," he said, before adding that he understands why she's using what he calls the tactics of the GOP.

"That’s the lesson that she learned when the Republicans were doing that same thing to her back in the 1990s. ...So, I understand it," Obama continued.

"When you're running for the presidency then you’ve gotta expect it and you know you’ve just gotta kinda let it—" He paused, brushing his shoulders off with his hands before doing the same to his knees and pant legs.

"You know, it's what you gotta do," he said, to wild cheers from the Raleigh audience.

Obama's attacks echo a theme his campaign has been hammering, as well.

In a conference call with reporters Thursday morning, campaign manager David Plouffe said Clinton's recent negative ads in Pennsylvania are part of a "relentlessly negative campaign."

But before Obama directly took on Clinton, the Illinois senator took a swipe at the debate itself, sarcastically calling the back-and-forths the two have been having lately "inspiring events." He added that Wednesday's set a new record in his book.

"It took us 45 minutes before we even started talking about a single issue that matters to the American people."

All this at a time when it remains unclear whether Obama will commit to an April 27 debate in North Carolina. Coincidentally, an audience member asked him why he hasn't committed to that one yet.

Obama, as he has in the past, downplayed the relevance of recent broadcasts.

"I’ll be honest with you," Obama started, "you know we now had 21, and look, I mean the previous three, you know, we did very well, so its not as if we don’t know how to do these things."

soundoff (431 Responses)
  1. Sal in Phoenix

    If this guy can't take a shot from Clinton, how is he going to make it through November..He seems like a weak cry baby to me.

    April 17, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  2. libby

    Every time Obama opens his mouth he sinks himself further.

    I have good news for Hillary supporters turning away from supporting Obama. There is a undercurrent of support building for McCain among Latinos (Mexican-Americans) in Los Angeles.

    Hillary is my first choice, McCain is my second and I WILL NEVER vote for Obama!!

    April 17, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  3. Ready for Change

    Perhaps we should off Obama a pillow. Sen Clinton knows where she wants to take this country and just how she wants to do it.

    I simply cannot believe the same with Sen Obama, he seems really out of his element when he has to actually answer a question.

    April 17, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. Kaya, Houston, Texas

    haha that was funny to watch.

    April 17, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  5. Tyrone Brown, Seattle, WA

    Love the Obama-Attitude:

    – positive
    – patience
    – sense of humor

    We have a brilliant candidate and a campaign to be proud of as we move forward to electing him the 44th President of the United States.

    Obama '08

    Tyrone Brown
    37th Legislative District State Delegate / Obamacrat
    Seattle, WA

    April 17, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. barry

    his performance last night was poor. and he feels picked on....you really think he is up for the job..complaining he was picked on.....just see the articles today on real clear politics...

    April 17, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  7. Graduate Student

    Obama has admitted to liking Jay-Z. He is just 46. He was young when Hip Hop became popular. I think this is why the young people like him; he is a breath of fresh air...faults and all.

    Obama 08

    April 17, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. Kendricks

    Stop this woman before she does further damage! I am a Clinton supporter but what I saw last night has made me change my mind. She is just full of half-truths and negatives.
    OBAMA 08!!!

    April 17, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. Janet WV for Obama

    Way to go! I am sick and tired of Clinton's tactics. I am so happy that ALL polls say Obama won the debate lynching that ABC planned last night with the help of Clinton's pain lyncher George.

    April 17, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  10. Obama will be President

    Fight on!

    April 17, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. Golden Chica

    Go Hillary! Si podemos.

    April 17, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. Jeff E.

    And here I thought Wolf Blitzer was a shallow talking head! Those clowns Charlie Gibson and George (I love my Clintons) Stephenopoulos set a new record for shallow pandering. And Hillary just stuck the knife deeper. It's a pity Obama's so resectful of his fellow democrat. She deserves to have her pant suit sullied for all the mud she's slung. By the way, where were her lapel pins last night?

    April 17, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  13. Jack in ND

    I like Joe Lieberman. He doesn't toe the complete party line (I wish more politicians would do more thinking for themselves), and now, he's not encumbered by any party, and still won his seat.

    RINO and DINO aren't bad things...they're steps in the right direction.

    April 17, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  14. MD

    Yeah, exactly!

    Every time she opens her mouth, I feel like I need to run and take a shower.

    April 17, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  15. Tim

    Obama will not win because he is black. The republicans will eat him alive in the general election.

    April 17, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  16. Kendricks

    I just jumped ship from the sinking Hillary boat! This woman is too controversial. I will support a woman in the mold of Margaret Thatcher, Golda Mier as President and not this joke!
    OBAMA 08!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  17. Enough said


    Puhleeeze! He will run circles around hillary and mccain any day. I'll bet my paycheck on it.

    April 17, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  18. SMART1

    The news media is really going to be on his back now, because he insulted their strategy. George Stephanopuolis is a friend of Shawn Hannity's of FOX news who hates Obama. I am sure you've seen him foaming at the mouth whenever he discusses Obama. So, Shawn hounded George into asking those questions last night especially the Ayers question( which was totally irrelavent to anything) because he has been trying to get that story out into the mainstream media (since no one with INTELLIGENCE and decency watchs FOX News) . George asked those questions to throw Barack off of his game. Which they did because if I thought I was going to a debate and not a "tabloid questioneer" I would have been distracted by those idiotic questions. Why don't you wear an American flag pen????

    When gas is costing 4.00 per gallon people are loosing their homes and there is a war going on that is killing thousands of our TROOP!!!!! I would have been thrown off because my mind would have been thinking. ARE THEY CRAZY??? Barack is not a man who takes nonsense very well he is a man who came to do a job and not to play silly politics. Also George Stephanopoulis is friends with the Clintons because he was the news anchor on Whitehouse hill when Bill was the president so again was this a fair debate?


    And if I were him I wouldn't do another debate so that she and her Republican friends can get another chance to try to lynch me!!!!
    But given the unfair cicumstance I think he did very well because I would have lost my cool.

    Hillary was in her element all that negativity made her feel right at home. The shameful part is that it did a dis-service to the people of Pennsylvania. The mediators had their own agenda in mind, I notice that they all have a hard on for Barack is it because no matter what they do he rises above it? Also I am sick of the media speaking for me I can speak for myself ... Thank You very much

    Please don't be mad media. Post my comment 🙂

    April 17, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  19. NC4Obama



    April 17, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  20. brandy

    I really want this guy as my president.
    I heard an news journalist once say he would make the coolest President of all time. SHo U Right!!!

    April 17, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  21. William Worcester

    Obama acts like a kid in the school yard. He goes for personal insults, like calling Hillary Annie Oakley, or has his surrogates dis her and when she says anything about his past, character or shady dealings with Rezko, Ayers, Wright, etc., he goes crying "Mommy, Hillary's being mean to me, stop her from being so negative, she's doing politics as usual, wah, wah, wah.'"

    April 17, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  22. BonoX

    geez, this just looks so arrogant, the man has serious chip on his shoulder and he seems just too dismissive on everything.

    April 17, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  23. libby

    Watch out for the Obama sock puppets!

    Angus McDugan is also Realistic, Bob Stephens and Oh! The Irony are all the same guy!

    April 17, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  24. max, houston

    "typical to say the least......"

    April 17, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  25. Andrew, Chicago

    He's exactly right. Debates ARE Hillary's element because she can back up her proposals with facts and details and not empty promises of hope.

    April 17, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18