April 17th, 2008
03:13 PM ET
12 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. Marissa

    PREACH, OBAMA!!!! 🙂

    "I...dust 'em off....I dust 'em off." ~Jay-Z, "On the rock"

    April 17, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  2. Stacy Clarks, TX



    OBAMA 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. KJ

    It is time for Hillary to step asided and allow Obama to unite the nation. As much energy as her campaign uses to think of ways to belittle and degrade Obama, perhaps that time would be better spent on how to bow out gracefully. The "win at all costs" approach is not working for her.

    April 17, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  4. Jeff, Hampshire, IL

    To "jes" and the other "elitist" Obama bashers. Please enlighten us with your wisdom and help us understand how you came to the conclusion that Obama is "arrogant and pompous". Are you saying that millions of us are to stupid to see this?

    Obama '08

    April 17, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  5. SA

    Oh yeah Sen Obama! Was your hand paralyzed in the debate yesterday? Or was it your mouth?

    April 17, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  6. Nora

    LOL, it is so funny that most of us pictured that song when this commentary mentioned that Obama brushed it shoulders off. Ha Ha I hear the beat in my head as I am typing. The O-Train Express is coming around the mountain. ALL ABOARD!!!!

    April 17, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. Eddie

    I see ,all of Hillary Supporters are as rude,bitter,angry,hateful,and negative as she is.Obama has not attacked,but pointed out some very inconvenient truths about Hillary that her old racist white woman do not want to here.

    April 17, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. Tate, MD

    Hillary is a political suicide bomber. If this woman does not get the nomination, she will take down Obama and the party together along with her. I used to respect the Clintons but not anymore. By any chance if she gets the nomination, this will the first time in my life that I and my family will vote for McCain.

    April 17, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. Dennis F

    First it was Reszko then it was Rev Wright. Last week it was the Bitter (guns and religion) issue and yesterday the Weatheman Underground. Maybe next week it will be Black Muslims or the Panthers or something worse. Obama truly is the teflon man or maybe it is because he is black and the media want to be careful with him, God forbid.

    If Hillary had been involved with any of these controverseys well she would have had to run out of Washington but well she is a women so lets put her down and down again. What a joke, the double standard is alive and well in America. It perfectly ok to crap all over a women but a blackman, no. Well if the women of America do start to consider the idea of a Block vote to ensure that he does not win, then they deserve what they get.

    Obamastill has not explained himeself satisfactorily but it seems good enough for some Americans to put him into the Presidency.

    April 17, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  10. joe

    and you want to be president of the united states?

    if you cant handle it obama, go home to rezko and ayers

    and wright and cry to michelle....


    April 17, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. Tiffany

    That should be his new intro song before the next debate.

    April 17, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  12. Deb of RI

    Smug, condenscending, arrogant and the list goes on...he's very cocky on his own turf. It's funny how he talks the talk when he's in a state where he's sure to win. He will probably win the nomination and Hillary can beg her supporters to vote for Obama but this one won't and in case you haven't heard, McCain is looking better and better in the polls today.

    April 17, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  13. John

    Maybe Obama can brush off Hillary, but can he brush off Larry Sinclair? Don't know what I'm talking about? Go to you-tube and search Larry Sinclair. Just another one of Obama's friends to crawl out from under a rock.

    Hillary or McCain 08!

    April 17, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |


    April 17, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  15. SONIA




    HE SHOWS ,,HE IS A BOY ,,,,,,


    April 17, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  16. Jarad

    he he he , obama is obviously thinking too high of himself..
    So arrogant......

    April 17, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  17. tonytony

    hillary's ad says:"who will answer you call to the white house at 3.00am?"
    guess what"nobody",she's had too many beers and shots of"whisky"..she's drunk...
    the answering machine will respond to your call as follows:
    "sorry that nobody is here to answer you call..thanks for voting for me,but I'm not available now,plz call tomorrow after "hangover"..and I'll get back with you as soon as possible....ha!ha!ha!..thank you...
    by the way"this is just a "FANTAZY"cz she's not gonna be in the "white house"...IT'S GONNA BE DA MAN,,,"OOOOBAMA...."that's the next presiden of the united states...go obama2008

    April 17, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  18. EDW

    JES – Barack Obama is both well educated and intelligent. On top of that well spoken and sympathic to what we're all going through.

    April 17, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  19. Independent

    I agree with Obama. If he wins I will vote democratic if he loses I will vote republican.
    Obama '08

    April 17, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  20. Matt, NJ

    Obama 08 Yes we Can NC!

    April 17, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  21. Kathleen Parker

    Like Martin Luther King (who by the way was younger than Obama)Barack knows you don't have to have experience to know what is right and what needs to be done. A true leader often has to find a new path and Hillary, unfortunately, is still traveling the same old path. Forget the negativity; the voters are intelligent enough to understand the issues if they could just hear them instead of all this other nonsense.

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

    He always acts like a victim and whines when Hillary backs him in a corner, and then he gets his campaign to attack Hillary. Not long ago he was calling Hillary a whiner over his misleading mailings. Obama just doesn't understand that he needs Hillary's supporters in order to beat McCain. I see that some of the Obama supporters are finally starting to realize it to. It's too late though, no amount of begging is going to get me to vote for Obama is Hillary dosn't get nominated. I will vote for McCain and so will and so will millions of democrats that are sick of Obama's arogance and hypocracy.

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

    Get a life Obama after last night Hillary beat you down. You are now refusing to debate her anymore because you are cracking. You cant hide behind your facade anymore.

    Hillary just needs to continue the Saturday debate on CBS with McCain and skip the middle man.

    April 17, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. I don't buy it...

    Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, tsk, tsk, tsk...... So you make attacks without checking your facts (seems to be a trend). When making an attack stick, you must have some credibility. You have very, very little of that, and sinking all the time. In a poll on Tuesday/Wednesday, the number of Americans who thought you could be trusted was 38%,
    With that number, no matter what you say, it won't stick. it only reflects on you badly. When your opponent knows this, and can actually make jokes about brushing you off, you have a serious problem. When your opponent shows you disrespect by making "brushing off" jokes, and no one jumps to your side to defend you, outraged, you're in big, big trouble.

    The people in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina (your last walls of defense) are lining up behind Barack. Your double-digit leads are gone. Your superdelegates are gradually but steadily moving into the Obama camp.

    It's over, Hillary. Nothing short of Obama dropping out completely will get you the nomination now. Please, please, please, withdraw, and throw your support to Obama. The Democratic Party needs to pull together. The big battles with the Republicans are looming....

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

    Yep! Get that dirt off your shoulder. *flick* See ya, Hill.

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