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. James, PA

    That is so funny...I love Obama.

    April 17, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  2. Wake Up!!!

    Obama , your throwin in a little of that black flavor now??? Oh crap now he's going to have to disown Jay-z. What black man says Bruce Springstein is the person he most want's to meet. Your fake ___ may have my coumminty fooled but this is one brother who knows a buster when he sees him. I wonder are you going to superman that ho e (Hillary no pun intendid). I forgot you did back in the day. I am not made at your game. If everyone want's to by into your pimp juice so be it, but your not puttin me out on the track.

    Newly independent: No Obama,Clinton or Mccain 08

    April 17, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  3. Hillary is the better one

    Sore loser.

    He's bitter because she clearly won the debate- that is why he is back to refusing future debates.

    He knows he can not stand without his props: hecklers, jeerers, primary riggers, lawyers to block the vote/revote, Celebrity fests.

    Hillary has done it all on her own merits.

    April 17, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Hillary sure seemed pleased with herself standing up there with the Clinton lap dog Stephanopolos leading her inane attacks. Obama condecending? He was there to debate the issues, not play elementary school name games. Does he have contempt for Hillary's juvinile behavior? Wouldn't you?

    April 17, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  5. Barb Canada

    Hypocrisy!! You have been every bit as nasty, sometimes more so! You have a brain-wash way of using every moment to say you don't do the attacks! Good news, if you don't win the Election, at least you have a cult like following, one that I might add, every bit as nasty as anything I have seen! Way to bring people together, and make us around the world think better of you!

    April 17, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |

    I don't agree with Obama. If he wins, I will vote Republican (and so is my large Latino family) if he loses, I will vote Democratic (and so will my large Latino family).

    I will never vote for Obama.

    April 17, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  7. Dude

    I think it's good that this is drawing out the way it is. Identities are really starting to come out in the nominees. It helps voters get to kno who the candidates really are!

    April 17, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  8. Wake Up!!!

    For the spelling flickers....Mad not made and buy not by.

    April 17, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  9. nancy g.

    hillary seems less and less likeable after each debate--last night her "body language" was rather irritating with the smirks that she made during obama's comments.

    April 17, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  10. Sophie

    Ha! He was just as bad as her in yesterday's debate (the cookies-comment, his inability to say anything good about the Clinton-administration...he'd rather praise Bush Sr.!!), so he needs to shut up. I'm sick of his holier than thou attitude...
    Clinton needs to realize that it's in her advantage to talk issues,.When they do that, SHE ACTUALLY WINS!!! He just comes across as ignorant...

    April 17, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  11. Bitter - New Orleans, LA

    Does CNN report when he goes to the john? Seriously...you obamaniacs get excited over the dumbest things.

    April 17, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  12. dude

    just lookin at the daily news... seems a white, german just made some comments on america... "laments u.s. injustices to blacks, indians." More:

    "Americans have always been a people of hope," he said during his homily. "Your ancestors came to this country with the experience of finding new freedom and opportunity.

    "To be sure, this promise was not experienced by all the inhabitants of this land; one thinks of the injustices endured by the native American peoples and by those brought here forcibly from Africa as slaves."

    Reverend Wright and the Pope have some overlapping similarities in opinion. Seeing as we americans have dismissed the good reverend and racist and hateful, we should probably be outraged with catholics too.

    April 17, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  13. sick puppy

    Obama can not seem to win on his own merits.

    He needs to deride and mock his opponent. Why? Because he feels inferior and can only shine by belittling others.

    He needs outside celebrity and DNC support. He needs 4 times the amount of money.

    He needs to plant supporters to heckle and jeer his opponent.

    He needs thugs to block Hillary voters from voting at caucus.

    He needs Oprah and the Kennedys and Kerry and all the big and really OLD style democrats.

    April 17, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  14. Dave Clark

    No more arrogant smart presidents. Let's stick with arrogant, moronic Presidents. That has worked out great for us the last 8 (Bush) years. Why can't someone run who doesn't like himself? Yeah, right.........

    April 17, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  15. Thomas

    What a jerk Obama is, he will get whats coming to him...

    April 17, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  16. Citizen-Denver

    Good job Barack, last night she was acting like evil. Hey Barack, No More debates with this JOKES, she is trying to make you unelectable and look forward in 2012. Keep campaigning because she out of cash and she cannot compete any longer. All she can afford now, is to debate and talk trash. Go Barack . I will vote for you no matter what.

    April 17, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  17. KIKI

    Listening to Obama speak – he's not very well spoken. You morons who think this "Savior" is going to change our country are so pathetic. Be careful what you ask for.

    April 17, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  18. Nov payback

    Unfortunately you may actually win the nomination- due to all the corruption the DNC introduced into this primary.

    You may win even though you are the lesser candidate and Hillary is clearly the better option.

    The DNC placed their bets on you instead and now we are all stuck with their bad judgement and the consequences of their ineptitude.

    But... The Hillary democrats are as tenacious as their candidate. We will NOT forget. NOV is payback day.

    April 17, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  19. dAnnE

    Is that not the American way...when knocked down, get up, dust yourself off, and keep moving forward? That is exactly what Obama is trying to show. Humor is the only way that I will get through the rest of this season. Come on people (i.e. Hillary supporters) lighten up.

    Get...That...Dirt off your shoulders...and slacks in Obama' case. lol. Thanks for the laugh Obama.

    April 17, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  20. Chris from San Antonio

    Telling isn't it, when Hillary uses Republican tactics and Republican talking points.

    April 17, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  21. David

    That's awesome. This guy knows what he's doing.

    April 17, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  22. yael

    This was the most even-handed debate to date. Obama's followers believe that any questioning of their leader is heresy.

    April 17, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  23. Doug

    Just wanted to send comments regarding the debate. I was dissapointed. I am a thoughtful person who cares abour real issues and getting things done. The questions and content of the debate were more more of a gossip and gotcha type issues. For someone who grew up through Vietnam, Watergate, etc... I typically admire the press for getting to the issues while politicians try to avoid the hard subjects and facts. Last night, i saw the reversal. Journalists (i.e. "entertainers?) asked irrelevant questions and are actually getting the public off track. One candiate (Obama) was steadfast, honest, and wanted to talk issues. Come on CNN – can you rise above this and talk issues or will we continue hear what someone's preacher said a year ago Sunday, or what white lie someone said to try and prove they have courage, or what lobbyist someone has dinner with? Keep doing what you are doing and talk about these frivolous things and and we will have more George W. Bush's and less Abraham Lincoln's, FDR's, JFK's, etc....
    Deeply dissapointed in with this debate.

    April 17, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  24. Mike J


    Took the high road yet again, even after that absurd excuse for a debate.

    April 17, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  25. Big man

    His shoulders are not big enough to hold a woman of Hillary's stature.

    That is why he had to cheat to try to win the nomination.

    Even so, Hillary managed to hold her own- even with her voters disenfranchised.

    Funny isn't it? Watch us in Nov when we remember to show the democratic party the same loyalty they showed the party members.

    April 17, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
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