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. Venus

    Bo Obama! This is great! Thanks Hillary and Bill and ABC – you are providing Obama with great pratice! He is going to be a once in a life time president and a great world leader!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. MW Los Angeles

    As one of many American's I feel Barack did fine. He tried to be as positive as possible with an opponent that is as negative as possible. He could have brought up all the BS that has been printed in the news lately but he took the higher road. I wish Clinton would try that for a change.

    OBAMA 08

    April 17, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. Rod

    Now that is HYSTERICAL!!! Go Obama!!

    April 17, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. Suziku

    Go Obama!!!!

    April 17, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  5. Sharon

    "The person that can't dance says the band can't play".....Obama in a nutshell....:)

    April 17, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. Chief lagosboy, NJ

    Yep! David Plouffe, is so right that garbage yesterday night, sorry I mean debate was so one-sided and pro-Hillary, it was sickening to watch. Moron Charlie Gibson and Little George Stephanoupolis you both are a disgrace and should be both fired for giving such bias and shameful performance. ABC should never host another debate NEVER, they are out of there league, I honestly thought I was watching the FOX Network. Very disappointing, I got the email and I have already donated, Moron Charlie Gibson and Little George Stephanoupolis should also donate to Obama for wasting our time last night! Shame on you ABC!

    Our President Obama 08' & 12'

    April 17, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. Former Barack Supporter

    I am 21 year old student at Yale. Barack's ideal demographic. Over the course of the campaign, I've found him to be despicable. His hypocrisy is more cringe-worthy than Clinton's blatant lying. He was the first candidate to go negative, and hasn't held back in terms of negative advertising, and yet he's the new kind of politics? He's the worst kind of politician, because his deceit is of the most insidious variety. He postures himself as if he is above it all, when he is just part of the problem. His brush-off is about as condescending as it gets.

    April 17, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. white female

    Go Obama.....gaints do die the bigger they are the harder they fall.
    Oh she is going to fall........get walk you're walk BUDDY we got your back. Oh when the day comes and they all have to answer to you as MR. PRESD. WHAT A JOYOUS DAY THAT WILL BE

    April 17, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. Ben

    Obama will defeat the McCain-Clinton ticket!

    April 17, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. allen

    Ilove this guy. Positive no matter how difficult it gets!

    April 17, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. I Will Never Vote For OBAMA

    Obama, if you can't take the heat from Hillary Clinton, then you will be in for a shock come the general election.

    I cannot believe how wimpy Obama is.

    I loved yesterdays debate. He was finally asked hard questions and Mr Slick Orator stumped on several. The longer this primary holds on the more Obama is exposed so I have Hillary and her supporters to thank for that.

    April 17, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. Bob, NY

    Hopefully he will still be as good at brushing things off next year, when John McCain is the President of the United States..

    April 17, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. jR

    Obama thinks he has the nomination and presidency coming to him. Well Obama, its just not your turn. Do a little more grunt work in the political arena and maybe you will be ready. You have already, unfortunately, become tiresome. Keep your day job in the Congress, do work for someone other than yourself and then give it a chance.
    You remind me of children that need to be sent to their room...you shoud go to your room and learn that you are not the gift to the universe as you seem to imply. But someday you might be.

    April 17, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. Theo Varelas

    He is so right, clinton is nothing more than an annoying fly to him right now. Just brush that fly off your shoulder.

    April 17, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  15. chyk o

    Negative attackes in this campaign will not put food on the table for those Americans who need help, nor will it solve the gigantic world problem that is effecting us globally – global warming, declining dollar resulting in high cost of importation, home crisis, energy crisis with record setting oil prices, wars, etc.

    I wish that people should speak out againt irrelivant discusions and quickly point out to the perpetrators that the era of negative mud slinging is over. That we need a different kind of politics where issues are discussed, so that people will be informed and make a decision on who will earn thier vote.

    April 17, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  16. M.S. Indiana

    Nice... remember to change the air filter, it will be clogged with dust now

    April 17, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  17. Latina Here

    Arragance is showing more and more...stop being a baby what are you going to do when you go against Mcain cry?

    Hillary you did a grat job yesterday!

    April 17, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |



    April 17, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  19. Matt, CA

    He's getting to the point where any tabloid-esque controversy turns to benefit him because it emphasizes the point that he is not your average politician, but dedicated to CHANGE.

    The GOP is going to launch attacks that are only going to help him.

    April 17, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  20. Freddie of Long Beach, Ca

    How do you cover your lousy & amateurish answers on last nite debate? Grow up Obama! You look so inferior to HILLARY last nite!

    It will be a waste of talent, experience & wisdom if we will not give HILLARY a chance to lead this great nation! She is the master of the game!

    April 17, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  21. M.E.M Kansas city

    You Go OBAMA ! I'm a fan to. Get that dirt off your shoulders.

    April 17, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  22. WendyOne

    He sounds like a poor loser! NOBAMA –NOWAY, NOHOW!!!

    April 17, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  23. Michael


    April 17, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  24. Darth Vadik, CA

    They just cant get to him. If Hillary's campaign did this to McCain, OH MY GOD", his head would have exploded.

    speaking off,



    April 17, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  25. bob

    its called

    April 17, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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