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. Lawrence

    I don't know what the HRC supporters expect – that Obama would go into the corner and cry with all these attacks against him?

    Better that he brush them off – figuratively & literally. That I can respect from a man who should be President.

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

    Obama is going very easy on fighting back at Hilliary I believe because she is a women that is a good thing.

    April 17, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. Ga Girl

    I am sorry , the video is horrible , it just go to show how awful he is , he talks like he is so different , when all in all he is the same as all of the rest of them .

    talk about cleaning off the shoulders , I thought that is what he has been doing all these months and years , look at all the things he lets go by him and pretend he was there , he didn't write , he didn't agreed with , he just wants whatever it takes to make him , he is not even concerned about anybody but himself
    I Do Not Trust him even a tiny little bit , I sure hope that this thing is over soon and we can be done with having to listen to him and all his speeches

    Hillary or McCain

    April 17, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  4. Do the right thing

    The Media is the 'NEW LYNCH MOB" of the 21 century. We spend 5 days on one word "bitter", what a joke! The world see how the "Media" can fan a flame of nothing into controversy. Wake of America don't be swift boated again!

    Barack the "ROCK" 08!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  5. D.Kimbro OHIO

    To Unrealistic: I would take it that you are for That Monster HRC. Well atleast there is a discussion about being intelligent, and well educated. We have a candidate that embodies both. It's not to late to wake up and realize, that he is the best option. Hillary has to big a problem with the truth. Can we really take a chance on her. Atleast unlike some other who post, you seem to be both educated and uintelligent. NICE JOB!!!!

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

    I love this guy! It's time Hillary humbly dropped out before being brushed out by the superdelegates.

    Obama '08

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

    The Republicans have seen through the Clintons for 16 years... it's good to see (at least half) the democratic party finally coming around.

    Nice Job...

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

    Too bad he can't brush away that pathetic debate perfromance last night.

    Or Reverand Wright...

    Or Tony Rezko...

    Or Bitter/Cinging to comments

    Or the Gun questionnaire he never saw (but signed)

    April 17, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  9. Roots of Bitterness

    HAHAHAHA That's what I'm talking about!!
    Brush if off Obama, Brush it off!

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

    When he did not do well in the debate, he trashed it!!

    He can't even take a setback like a man, worse than a woman!!

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

    Don't allow Annie Oakley and the Media to drag you in the mud with them, YOU have the American people on your side... but they are STUCK in the PAST
    Obama/Edwards 08 Si Se Puede

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

    Obama got his newbie butt handed to him lastnight. Hillary showed him where he stands in the political arena. It is about time he got some hardballs. cnn and msnbc has thrown him softballs all campaign.

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

    Someone accurately exposes your weaknesses, faults, and lack of readiness for the office of President, but you find a way to completely ignore these truths.

    There is nothing Barack is going to do for America, that Hillary has not planned to do from the start. There is more Hillary plans to do, that Obama does not.

    Barack whole campaign has been smearing Hillary's image to be "a monster", a "witch", so that Barack can argue that he is somehow the better qualified candidate, and Hillary is somehow going to do nothing for America.

    Explain how it ISN'T experience for Hillary to have a west-wing office for 8 years in the White House. Name the other 1st lady in history to have a west-wing office?? There is no other.

    April 17, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  14. rese

    HA-HA WE WILL WIN IN THE END!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  15. Ana in L.A.

    My goodness he's an arrogant jerk!

    April 17, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  16. Former Obama Supporter

    Obama is acting as if Clinton asked the questions. Is he crazy? And this guy is acting as if he isn’t a politician. Didn’t is just say recently that he is a darn good politician? He is just so arrogant that if he gets the nomination, none of the Clinton supporters are going to vote for him. He is just so smug it makes me sick to my stomach.

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

    way to go Mr.O i like the way you don't participate in the crap slinging on the debate and kept with what really matter to the american public

    and if tax have to be raised so the next generation an have SS benifits so be it , I prefer to hear it now not 6 months in to the anyone's term

    April 17, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  18. canadian royal

    lol, after a poor debate last night atleast he earns cool points! i can see why this would make hillary fans mad. he's cool, she's not!

    April 17, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  19. Yuk

    You Obama people really can make one gag. Obama himself is no better.

    If Hillary is out – McCain is in. Hillary supporters get ready for the big cross over!!!!! Does anybody really think a Hillary supporter would cast a vote for Obama after all the nasty remarks – not a chance.

    April 17, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  20. HEIDI


    April 17, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  21. Trina

    Jes...I think you need to face the fact that Barack IS in fact not only well educated and intelligent but he is brilliant as well and connected more than you will ever be able to figure out. He knows who you DON'T know. Be careful when you make statements about one of the chosen. You'll never know where you may end up. Besides, you're gonna have to respect the next President some day. lol. Harvard...Barack, President...YES HE CAN and DID.

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

    God, I love him even more now.

    April 17, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  23. Bitter Pennsylvanian.

    I find it refreshing that instead of attacking Hilary directly back, he brushes it off and excuses her behavior, which only does her more damage.

    Obama '08

    April 17, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  24. Rena

    I don't know anything about Jay-Z guys but yes he haS done the right thing to brush her off. Jesus, told the disiciples to kick the dust off their heals if they don't receive them. So in likewise Obama has kicked the dust of Hillary off his heals and is moving forward to VICTORY!

    April 17, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  25. Penny

    I was glad they asked the questions they did. I know the issues from watching stump speeches and researching their web pages. I have serious issues with his affiliations with Ayers, Rev. Wright, Rezko and their affiliations with Farrakhan. Still, I have no clearer understanding of any of these issues. He used his response time to say how trivial these matters are, while never answering the questions. Well, I don't think they are trivial and I would like answers to the questions.

    I thought personal attacks were "old" politics? I thought Obama said this isn't going to solve the important issues that the American people care about? I thought he said we are wasting time with this kind of negative attacks? I thought he wanted change and wanted to bring everyone together? He does this all the time. He accuses the Clinton campaign of "dirty" politics, and the very next day, he is out there rolling in it.

    So I will ask you then....why is he wasting time talking to the people in NC with these personal attacks instead of talking about the issues the American people care about?

    I see, he is in a small town in NC where people cling to their guns and religion and don't care about the issues....BECAUSE THEY ARE BITTER.


    April 17, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
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