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. Sharon

    "The person that can't dance says the band can't play".....Obama in a nutshell....
    Why is he soooo mad? I loved the person in his audience who asked him how he could stand up to the republicans when he got creamed last night 🙂

    Hillary has been treated worse for the entire campaign....he can't take ONE night of tough questions about HIS OWN ACTIONS? And he wants to be president? Can someone explain how he would handle the job if he can't handle questions without getting upset?
    Boy, he is really pathetic.....what a baby....
    There had NOT been a debate since his pastor and the bigot remarks came to be....The questions needed to be asked in the debate forum. He was weak and irritated....he really looked bad. I guess that's why he doesn't want any more debates...how funny 🙂

    April 17, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. ACE, Denver

    HA! I love it!

    April 17, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. Mary - PA

    The debate last night was a joke....it's great to see that Sen. Obama can joke about it. We need a good laugh to help us get through this sludge of an election. ABC should be ashamed of themselves. Who the hell cares about flag pins anyway? I don't care about what they wear on their clothes, my concern is the content of their character and their heart. You would be hard pressed to see anything of any value in Hillary's character or heart. I guess that's why she wants us to try to focus on all of this other crap.

    April 17, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  4. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    Obama was "set up". Hillary knew the "storyline'" somewhat and
    her friends George S. and Charles Gibson probably told her to
    relax, that they were going to put him on the spot. I imagine she
    got to choose the channel, the moderators and if Obama would
    have "declined" the offer, he would have been slandered and we
    would have heard "the wrath of Hillary" over his refusal to "debate."
    I am sick of Hillary and Bill.

    April 17, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  5. Anthony Chikwadze

    Ha ha ha Hillary is losing it now.
    If you throw mud at someone , some of it sticks on ya.

    April 17, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  6. Rob

    Wow..in the word's of a famous rapper. Obama's Swagger is off the charts right now.

    April 17, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  7. April

    Obama attacked Hillary for what Bill did, so I guess if he gets into the whitehouse, Michelle will be telling him what decisions to make. I have been married twice, this time for 15 years and I want to know how Hillary made Bill do her bidding, because most real men frown on thier wives interfering with thier jobs.

    April 17, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  8. angela benson

    yes Obama get that dirt off ur feet and walk on to the white house with ur head up and go after all the things we were over look by the republican,for all of amercans,troops,their families and evry one of us who live from pay check to pay check,make Hillary who for fot we are runing a election and not a jerryspringer show and use her for ur doormat as u step into the white,people should read ur book or ur stoey about ur mom and they will know u was not born with a silver spoon is ur mouth,tust me ,trust the people ur will be in the white house.

    April 17, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  9. Linda, Boston

    Bwahaha! That response was perfect. He's not even really complaining about it, he always just makes a point of saying that it's part of the process and to be expected, but that it represents the OLD politics. So he brushes it off and gets back to the issues. And it makes all the people who insist on focusing on flag pins and who his next door neighbor is just look petty and out of touch with what the people are concerned about.

    Last night/today was a perfect example of how the MSM just doesn't get it. All the pundits were talking about how Obama got pummeled, while all the polls indicate that the voters saw it as an Obama victory and the only one who wanted to talk about the things that matter.

    At the end of the day, flag pins aren't going to put food on anyone's table or help anyone get health care.

    April 17, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. Tyler J.B.

    Absolutely hilarious. I was really disgusted by Hillary in last night's debate (and that's to say nothing of ABC's moderators). Go watch it again and look at her eyes during the debate. So often she was looking up and around searching for some kind of truthiness to add to her statement.

    Her physical mannerisms were those of someone who is lying. She's not even that good at hiding those tell-tale signs we get taught as children to identify.

    I'd rather vote for McCain than a liar.

    Obama '08!

    April 17, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  11. Otto F

    So it is going to be not only a new kind of Presidency, it is going to be a new kind of campaign? Mr. Obama is going to stand proud, head high, and brush off the attacks, and the electorate is going to sweep him into the White House out of admiration? But he's engaged in the usual gutter politics already against Hillary "Annie Oakley" Clinton and John McCain. And last night he wilted under fire, which will only be worse when it is coming from the GOP. Or will he be counting on the sympathy vote because ABC was so "unfair" to him? Hillary can take the heat. But the shock to Obama supporters last night was that Obama can't.

    April 17, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  12. Kentucky

    What a great way to deal with pestie people – just brush them off your should.

    Obama 08

    April 17, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  13. Fed Up Democrat

    I just love his finesse. He uses humour everytime to deflect all that negative and ridicilous nonscence comming from haters. He keeps his decorum and grace and still is Presidential and respectable. Not for nothing, we keep forgetting that there are a lot of scared people out there that don't want him to become Pres, because when he does, it will be the end of their world as they know it. Every man, woman or child who have had abd or having a struggled life will have him as the ultimate role model and advocate. people will want to work hard to fulfill the American dream as he did.He has already let the cat out of the bag and we all know,,YES WE CAN!!! YES WE WILL.Obama 08 🙂

    April 17, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  14. demo craxy

    That is true that is all she knows , she represents old status quo, she is same old same old politics, so it is all she does and has done in the campaign
    the more she attacks you senator the more people see her lies, her dishonesty, her untruthfulness, adn all her blah blah blah

    she is worst than the republicans so look at it that way , if you can defeat her none will stop you.......she is the worst and the most toxic element our political system can ever produce.....

    I will vote for you Senator Obama....

    April 17, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  15. paul

    He is arrogant whenever it serves his purposes. Last night he was crying foul left right and center and now he acts as if he is above it.

    Give it up and cant wait for the republicans to start making their true attacks on him.


    April 17, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  16. fred

    Where in the heck do you get Obama is well spoken!! All he did last night was studder!!! That is what he has done a every debate!!

    If it isn't written out for him...he is tongue tied. duh, duh, duh!!!

    April 17, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  17. linda

    What Obama was saying, is the average people are too dumb to get his superior,cool,liberal message.What an arrogant snob.This is from a twit who attended the most expensive private school in Hawaii and then an Ivy league college.I guess he is more comfortable with Jeremiah Wright

    April 17, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  18. Emma in CA

    So many of you Hillary supporters are making a statement that you are definitely okay with a potential leader who is dishonest, petty and disrespectful of others to get her way. Who would really get the kudos if she were elected? Does Bill Clinton ring a bell? It is difficult to know which one of them has a higher degree of narcissicim.

    April 17, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  19. Spirit of America

    Once again, the arrogance and elitism comes through loud and clear.
    What a pompous hypocrite!

    April 17, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  20. Reality Check

    Hey Jes – If you can see something the rest of the world doesn't, that means you're either a clairvoyant or a kook.

    Let's just say a clairvoyant would know that Billary's gonna be stumping for Obama pretty soon...............................

    April 17, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  21. Monica, Texas

    You got right Obama it is ashamed that so many of these political analyst are so disconnected with "us" common folks that many view the fact that you did this seems to indicate that you feel you loss the debate....When actually you were displaying how many of us feel. We are just ready to get on with how your presidency will help with the economy, joblessness, gas prices, mortgage rates, etc....I could give a ^%$*# about Rev. Wright, Bitter comments, Bosnia, etc. any more it's about our future with no time to waste on the "silliness" that was presented like on last night's at the debate.

    ABC you should be ashamed....Leave tabloid reporting to Fox you are much better than that....

    April 17, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  22. cle

    He is so sickening. I will def vote McCain if he is the Dem nominee.

    April 17, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  23. jt

    Obama is going to loss is November!!

    Hillary is a better choice!!!

    April 17, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  24. Elisabeth

    Mr Obama if you fall down from your pedestal you may regret your arrogans. Keep holding your chin high, look down at people like a childish selfappointed emperor and you will lose.

    April 17, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  25. Noah

    I have posted several times today. Its obvious that CNN has an agenda on who it will allow to speak. This is not just me.

    Obama is whining, not winning. He lost and now once again he changes the subject.

    Done here waisting time. Obama supporters complain about the debate, but continue to play gutter politics on the board. CNN does not post everyones entries, leading to a one sided bashing of Clinton.

    I know I made the right vote..

    April 17, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
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