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. sue

    Obama is both cocky and patronizing. Just like his followers.

    April 17, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  2. Republican from Red State (Texas)

    If Obama wins the Dem nom, I'll vote for a democrat for the first time in my life. If Clinton gets the nom, I'm going to stick with the republicans. I like the idea of cleaning house and starting fresh in Washington. Obama offers the best chance of that happening, and McCain is the 2nd best chance. Clinton will bring back all the same people. The US is not a monarchy.....we need change.

    April 17, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  3. enomisa

    Hillary the true leader finds her voice.

    She shone last night. What grace and poise and intelligence.

    She was brilliant.

    Just one problem…
    Just when I was starting to buy into the audacity of hype….I mean hope… don't parse my words.

    I am a uniter, I am…. You just don't understand me.

    I am a Christian, I am… I just practice a doctrine of Hate.

    I don't align myself with bad people…. no I don't… I don't really know them, I didn't have fundraisers at their homes… they didn't buy me a house.

    If you are not with me then you are all liars, liars pants on fire.

    Oh My…. Bye Bye 'bama

    April 17, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  4. Desiree

    If Obama can't handle this, he'll never be able to handle the republicans. He should just man up and just admit he had a bad night, no one is perfect, but to play this wounded victim role is really unattractive and unbecoming of a leader. Do your history, this is a picnic compare to the founding fathers. The job of President is tough and he needs to stop whining.

    April 17, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  5. done

    Hillary wiped the floor with you.

    You did not have the Obama worshipping CNN and MSNBC to run interference for you.

    You came across very hesitant and hedging.

    April 17, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  6. Kim

    The media is so thrilled because Hillary supposedly made up the cute nickname McBush. Of course if you blog here you know that nickname was used here for a week before the adopt an idea Hillary ever said it. We have a nickname for Hillary too 'Bush Lite'.

    April 17, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  7. Bridgette- PA

    Come on Pennsylvania, let's shut Hilary down on 4/22/08.



    April 17, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  8. John Ainsworth

    The mud is getting thick on Hillary's face. Don't matter who you support.....she is a loser. Loser. Please go home, and take boring Chelsea and bore Bill with you. Bye bye.

    April 17, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  9. Baby Girl

    I think Obama was a perfect gentleman. He took a beating from Clinton past guy but guess what Hillary will get what she deserve.

    April 17, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  10. SZ

    How immature, not to mention arrogant. He won't win in November.

    April 17, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  11. Debate watcher

    Yes, Barack Obama is both intelligent and well educated and it really shows. His level of astuteness helps him to gain voter support and to see how irrational Clinton can be when she uses her wrecking ball. Clinton supporters make statements about themselves when they participate with her devaluation of a decent human being.

    April 17, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  12. Rachel

    hmm well when hillary's support brush you off barrack what will you do?

    April 17, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  13. Gwen NC

    not the positive uplifting inspiring politician you once claimed to be, keep it coming show your true colors

    April 17, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  14. Kris In PA


    April 17, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  15. Mike

    While the Democrats are imploding with dirty,petty tactics. Racism and sorry Liberal media bias. One Man has held his head high. Stayed clean and honerable and spoke truth even when it backlashed against him. O8bama. There truly is no substitute for 08.

    April 17, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  16. Vivian

    I think ABC and the two journalists, Gibson and Stephanopolis, whatever, had some nerve to waste out ime discussing the kinds of questions at a debate for the first 50 minutes. I am not saying tthat nothing should be discussed, but my goodness, how long will we have to discuss all that bull for? I am sick and tired of Hillary's nasty tactics, she is the most annoying, divicive person i have ever seen. I am so tried of the picking and picking on the same issue. Does she not realize that it is not sticking? she needs to stop! If people don't make a big deal of it and she conitunes to point things out, it only hurts her because she looks like an idiot repeating the same issue. Give it up Hillary! Obviously people did not trust her, that applies to me as well, I never did trust her. But, now more people distrust her because she out right lied to the public to gain political votes, lied about her exprience, and has tried to tear down Obama with devicive remarks and political tactics. Guess what, we trust even less now! she needs to move on and maybe, she should start baking cookies!!! I am tired of looking at her and tired of how she has treated the democratic party. She is one selfih B-- . Peensylvanians have been getting sick of her bull also, I hope they vote for Obama and get this darn primary over with. The dems are getting very close to losing the whole thing because of hillary. How stupid is she? how dumb? how selfish of her!!!!! I don't know how Obama stays so cool, cal and collective with all her dirt!!! she really needs to quit. I give Obama so much credit for being such a calm man and so presidential while he was being picked apart. Good for him. now that's the kind of president I want.

    April 17, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  17. For Romney

    I was for Romney and still am. I really don't know who to vote for. Except I know I won't vote for Obama. I listened to a little of the debate last night and when they asked a question about his preacher or other people of undesireable retributes, that he has had dealings with, he would not answer the question. I personally don't trust him with the government of the United States. ;He wouldn't even salute the flag. That is another question he worked around and didn't answer. I just hope and pray the people of this country will think twice before putting their stamp by Obama's name. CNN will probably not let this go through since you are certainly pro-obama.

    April 17, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  18. Jessica Vormwald

    Obama is accusing Clinton of using the tactics of the GOP? How about denying voters in Florida the right to vote? Isn't that the TACTIC that "won" the GOP the 2000 election.

    By opposing a re-vote, Obama showed his true political colors. I would never vote for such a hypocrite.

    April 17, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  19. Susie

    Arrogant, condscending, self-righteous.

    April 17, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  20. Matt

    I refuse to vote for Obama. CNN can try to shove him down my throat all they want.
    I'm not voting for him.

    April 17, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  21. enomisa

    He who slings mud first, always complains about the other person.

    You have been getting digs in since day one. And everyone else tried not to attack you.

    The race card played early made sure that no criticism would be coming. Everyone was afraid you'd call them racist.

    So you got and advantage and an edge.

    The caucus format was pandering to your demographic and gave you an additional boost.

    Disenfranchising Fl and Mi gave you a turbo boost.

    The DNC was happy because they thought you were the party's best hope to win. But Hillary showed that even with all the unfairness, the attacks, the hate, the sabotage and the swifboating- SHE STILL HELD ON TO 50% OF THE PEOPLE.

    The Democratic party and the DNC must be running scared now. They lost the gamble. Now you may never get the support of the Hillary democrats.

    They think we will come around if she stays in the race until she loses- but we will not forget that she would NOT have lost if this primary wasn't rigged against her and in your favor. We will not forget all the ballots cast for Hillary that got tossed out.

    Hear us well DNC: NO Obama by force.

    April 17, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  22. Darth Vadik, CA

    I wonder if Bill O'reilly thinks that Barack runs around in a restaurant yelling "hey MFrs, where is my GD iced tea".

    April 17, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  23. nancy g.

    after each debate, hillary seems less likeable. she seems to smirk a lot when barak is making his points-she needs to watch this "body language" if she wants to remain in the race!

    April 17, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  24. linda

    More media misinformation about how unlikely it is that Hillary can catch up in popular vote – she is currenly only 94,000 votes behind Obama and will likely take the lead after Pennsylvania, Yes, Florida and Michigan count – popular votes were certified in those two states and the DNC cannot scrub those although they may not seat the delegates selected as a result of those votes. This still doesn't change the fact that there is a popular vote total that the media is hiding from the public.
    It amazes me how one sided in coverage CNN and several other news agencies are. Slam Clinton, poor little B Obama….How about asking Obama….how much did Rezko actually finance for you and how much was related to your being elected? Your spiritual advisor makes Bin Lauden look as though they believe the same things, and what about your friendly neighborhood terrorist, Bill Ayers? Your campaign admittedly said you were friendly and on 9-11-01 this fool said he was not sorry for the bombings he started in the US. And he is a professor.. Please, only in a campaign….I believe Obama should get out before he gives this election to McCain

    April 17, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  25. HSNP

    Sen. Obama doesn't want to debate any more because he stinks at it.

    April 17, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
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