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. Cali-Independent

    Ya gotta get that dirt off ya sholder! I feel a change coming on, its crazy cause i go through these blogs and out of 30 blogs there will be 25 people supporting Obama and the other 5 Hillary or McCrazy. They need to start using these blogs as samples to come up with their polling numbers.

    April 17, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  2. Paul

    That's why I've HOPED for and supported him since his keynote address in '02

    GO BIG O'

    April 17, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. Henry

    """jes April 17th, 2008 4:27 pm ET

    I wish to God people would wake up & see what a arrogant & pompous man he is. Not only is he inexperienced but he is a perfect example of the difference between being well educated & intelligent."""

    No my friend, you're totally wrong, Barack is right, instead of attacking Hilary Clinton and offense people, he'd better let down, that's the right thing to do, Hillary has been attacking him from the very beginning, by email, in the media, in her campaign, she has engaged in a dirty, nasty and shameful "kitchen sink", remember what her campaign had said before Ohio and Texas, I quote: "We're gonna make a "kitchen sink" and wait to see how voters react and how he handles that", but Barack is strong, he knew that acting like Clinton would be shameful for him, so right now, instead of answering her negativity it's better not to answer and just let her do what she's best at, the Republicans attacks.

    We don't need that, we need debate on real issues, how and what they plan to do to solve our common problems, that's the debate we're looking to see, not negative and false attacks as it was the case yesterday. A lot of people don't trust Clinton anymore because of that, SHAME ON HER;;;

    April 17, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  4. KLangguth

    Brilliant!! A great pivot to the general election and a great way to neutralize what's coming from the Republicans. We have too many problems in this country to be worried about flag pins. He's right. The voters saw right through this debate.

    OBAMA 08

    April 17, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. Aham

    This guy is hiiillarious!!! hahaha brush that dirt off your shoulder maan!! She definately was in her element last night smirking and just having a ball cheapshotting Obama at every opportunity.

    A smart person would have recongized the silly game being played by ABC to boost ratings. Obama was smart enough to see it coming and did his best to avoid it. Hillary instead played right inot it like an idiot, in the end all she succeded in doing is making Democrats look childish.

    OBAMA O8!

    April 17, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  6. Bitter Allen Hussein, Visalia CA

    Grace with humor. Don't let Billary's dirty tactics and the former Press Secretary of the Clinton Administration George Stephanopolus one sided attacks get you down.

    April 17, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  7. Rose - Baltimore, MD

    Yes get the dirt off Obama. By the way 3 women super delegates In PA have defected from Clinton to Obama this morning because of her negative campaign. 2 of them are reps and one is a state senate.

    April 17, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Obama will lose to Mccain because a lot of Dems will vote for Mccain & I am one of many

    April 17, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  9. Mike

    ok ok ok make way for the clintonians

    April 17, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  10. Canadian Neighbour

    Well done Obama !

    God bless you and God bless America too !

    April 17, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  11. Mike

    that is just sad... he folded like a lawn chair last night... now he is trying to blame Clinton...

    April 17, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  12. Independant




    April 17, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  13. cathy

    It's sad Barack is probably going to have to run against her until November. I think she is going to be McCain's VP.

    April 17, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  14. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    They both are hacks of the Democratic "way left"...

    I contend it's not so bad that Americans are ready to taste socialism in order to get an ear in Washington.

    Become Independant–then let them change their policies to adapt to what YOU want.

    Free markets...fair pay...strong military defense–honorable withdrawel from Iraq....and free choices regarding your healthcare.

    April 17, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  15. sbritto

    All you Obama supporters make me laugh. You can't face the fact that he performed poorly during last nights debate, so your going to try and spin it as if he walked away from it the winner. Well I hate to tell, you this , but he came off as being more unexperienced than ever. All he did was stutter. He couldn't seem to get a decent response off quickly enough.

    Hillary came out on top.

    Go Hillary!

    April 17, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  16. Strega

    Obama looks like he is sweating bullets today and all that fanfare of him brushing off his shoulder just proves that he is GHETTO, from the inside out.

    He just can't answer the questions of his lies and his radical connections without stammering and crying foul. And if he can't answer to diplomatic moderators like Charlie and George and/or his same party opponent- he WILL find himself with a severe whipping from the GOP in November IF he steals the nomination, that is. (FL, MI, Corrupt Caucuses- come on.. that boy is no winner!)

    April 17, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  17. wolfsbane

    Hah, Clinton and the Republicans tried to go dirty on him, and he just brushes them off!

    Obama is the candidate to focus on the issues – all Clinton and McCain can do is try to drag him down to their level.

    He is an elite candidate – he's the BEST candidate.

    April 17, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  18. Kathy in Oregon

    Talk about hypocrisy...

    LOOK at Obama - he's taking every opportunity to "get a dig in" - and "twist the knife in a little bit," as he's complaining about Clinton engaging in such behavior.

    What an arrogant HYPOCRIT.

    BTW - Shouldn't OBAMA be talking about the issues... rather than wasting time trashing Clinton?

    Oh, that's right. This is a man who preaches one thing, yet does the exact opposite.

    What an over-blown ego - he's gonna FALL hard.

    April 17, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  19. Now for Obama

    Look at the mixture of his crowd! You will never see that much diversity at Hillary or Mccain's rally! LET'S UNITE BEHIND THE UNIFIER!


    April 17, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  20. Kay-Arizona

    You Obama supporters had better hope your candidate dosnt get the nomination. He will have a complete meltdown (or you will) the first time the Republicans take him on. They get serious. So far its been elementry school while he and his supporters dish out abuse and rude remarks to Hillary Clinton and you all think its "cute".

    April 17, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  21. juliemn

    I dont think this is anything to be proud of, he sounds like he's whinning, He wants to be president ,and he acts like a school kid. Pathetic.

    April 17, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  22. Tina

    Please....no more debates. You know Hillary is lying when her lips are moving.

    April 17, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  23. Joseph, NY, NY

    Liar you have stooped worst, you started the negative attacks when you called her dishonest and a Washington insider, which you are also by the way, oh wait that's right you were hired to work in Washington but you don't do your job.

    April 17, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  24. Holding out hope in NC!

    Obama's getting a little scary with his rhetoric. So, if someone criticizes him or dares run against with any kind of commitment, they're "stabbing him in the back." He does think he's the Messiah. Bush thought the same thing. So did Caligula and Nero. Why do you think some of us our fighting so hard for Hillary.

    April 17, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  25. Roger B from Portland, OR


    How is he condecending to voters? People keep saying that the "bitter" comments were...but I just don't see it. I don't see him as pompous, or rather, no more pompous than any other politician that has ever existed anywhere!

    There is a difference between well educated and intellegent.

    But there is also a difference between intellgent and wise.

    April 17, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
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