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. Wes

    GO Obama...... And if you really hate this man so much to say if Hillary doesn't get the nomination you'll go for McCain you really aren't listening to the issues. Even Hillary is gonna vote Obama when the time comes!!!

    OBama 08..... Anyone but McBush

    April 17, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  2. Linda

    That' s right, Pres Obama! Brush it off. Continue to focus on the issues and wil will be fine!

    April 17, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. Casy

    It is so funny to hear Obama talk like he is on a higher playing field when the truth is that he does the same thing Clinton does and the Clinton campaign should do a commercial showing Obama preaching one thing and then doing the opposite of what he preaches!

    Obama is a fraud!!

    April 17, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. Bushwacked

    I don't see any purpose in future debates if they are going to focus on nonsense, rather than serious national issues that truly matter. Neither of them is perfect, so let's just leave it at that and forget the 'politics of personal destruction' that Billary cried about so much during 'their' administration.

    Isn't it interesting how Hillary uses Bill's reign when it's to her advantage, but is quick to back off when something he's done or said isn't popular?

    Amusing.....and sad.

    Vote Democrat in November! Any Democrat is going to be better than John McCain.

    Eugene, OR

    April 17, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. Oh! The Irony

    The video footage is hilarious. Funnier part is that he's right.

    April 17, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. Angus McDugan

    Obama has sealed the deal as the Dem nom. Clinton can only disgrace herself and family further by her actions.

    April 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |

    Something that the media's not talking about is the FACT that Hillary's superdelegate GAP has been closed on significantly....She only has a 19 member superdelegate lead.

    April 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. jes

    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.

    April 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. joe

    Actually you maniac, what you have to do is perform decently during at least one debate, tone down your out-of-control arrogance, and stop lying that you are the anointed and chosen one.

    Obama lied twice in that debate (saying his campaign did not attack Clinton on Bosnia when they did on a daily basis - and on the gun records) - and he was a pathetic mess trying to answer to his own baggage that keeps piling up more and more every day.

    Go get a life Obama and take your cult with you.

    April 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. Realistic

    Barack is right on target - What a refreshing change to have an outsides who can honestly comment on what goes on in a campaign, instead of a yellow pantsuit sitting in a duckblind drinking Crown Royal and waiting for the phone to ring for her husband to tell her where he spent the night.

    April 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. Jeff Radun

    Again Mr Obama has pprooved is best feature is he is condecending to Hillary and voters

    April 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  12. JayJay

    A must watch new release youtube movie " Bosnia & Back Again" starring sen.HRC, produced by Jed Report.

    April 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  13. Bob Stephens

    Way to go Barack, flick her off your shoulder as you would the insignificant gnat that she really is. She is acting more and more like the Republicans every day. I guess she and Joe Leiberman will eventually be uniting, after she loses this nomination. Those two are a match made in heaven........

    April 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  14. The Truth

    "If you feelin like pimp....brush your shoulders off"

    OB 'O8

    April 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  15. Oh! The Irony

    The V-Child April 17th, 2008 4:20 pm ET

    HAHAHA… Obama is obviously a Jay-Z fan. "Get…that…dirt of your shoulder!!!"



    Exactly what came to mind....hahahahaha.

    The beat to that song popped into my head when he did that...lol

    April 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  16. Angela

    How dare someone have the audacity to criticize Senator Obama?

    It is called vetting, which is a new concept for him, since no other candidate or media outlet has bothered until now.

    He stumbles and steps in 'it' when he is faced with anything other than delivering a lofty stump speech.

    This type of 'attack' maybe be old Washington – these issues seem silly, but they do matter in the general. Obama can ponder that in December, whilst they are planning McCain's inauguration.

    April 17, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  17. Marc

    Sack up, Senator. Though I can understand your reluctance to get the beat down again on national tv.

    April 17, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. Rich in Seattle

    That was the problem with the knife that Hillary used last night, it was sharp on both ends. She didn't herself any favors by coming off as she did. Obama may have been the one attacked, but she looked like a rabid dog.

    April 17, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. Jane

    Love it, love it, love it. I want to see the video footage. I'm sure it's on Youtube.

    Obama '08 Yes We Can!

    April 17, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. Mike in PA

    That video footage was great! That debate was pathetic.


    Obama '08!

    April 17, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. Photon Torpedo Dallas, TX

    "Brush the haters off..."

    LOL!! Oh well.

    Yes We Can & Yes We Should
    Obama 08'

    April 17, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  22. ABG

    And his remarks are not attacking? Talk about spinning illusions to America.
    He has become an expert at delivering sarcastic remarks to deflect from his poor performance in last night's debate.
    The shoulder flicking is so NOT Presidential.

    April 17, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. Glenn

    Get that dirt of your shoulders Barack!

    Obama '08

    April 17, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  24. cmb

    That's right obama go ahead and brush your shoulder off, I'm glad that this subject is out know what else are they going come up with. go ahead and brush your shoulders off.

    OBAMA 08

    April 17, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. Texas4Obama

    Come on Hillary drop on out of the race and start supporting Senator Obama instead of tearing him down all the time!

    Obama '08

    April 17, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
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