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. Marcus

    Obama is the man!!

    He just keeps on impressing.
    Thank god he's got the courage and will to put us on the path.

    Barack, you've got my vote and gratitude.

    April 17, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. Brandy

    To Jes,
    poor thing...you are so bitter! These For Hillary bloggers make very mean comments with no basis at all! Why are you guys so mean? I'll pray for you.

    Obama 08

    April 17, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  3. Gina, West New York

    Okay, So as a Clinton Supporter I still have to say this:
    Obama looked SEXY as hell when he did that. OMG. Hillary could never have pulled that off. She's too traditional, but at least she'll get the job done.
    Hillary 08

    April 17, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  4. PA Democrat

    You cant help but Love this man! He is a true fighter and given his race there is no doubt he has endure much much more than we know – like recent reports of a Kentucky congress man who called him 'boy' and we all know that a racist condecending comment.
    Hats off and kudos – for that reason he will win this Presidency!
    It will be a very tight race in PA and my vote is for Sen. Obama.
    Bring Decency and Integrity back to the White House!
    P.S. He got 6 superdelegates now from NC – Niceeeeee!!!!!

    April 17, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  5. Gail


    YES WE CAN!!!

    April 17, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. jyh1920

    "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."

    I didn't realize this! That is really news.
    He's less than 400 delegates from the nomination...


    April 17, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. ART in TX


    YOU KNOW...I'm so sick of them trying to call Obama negative. Americans who read are not stupid. He is calling Hillary out based on her LYING. She's a compulsive liar and distorter of the truth. So if she can't take the truth...leave him the freak alone then.

    April 17, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  8. JM

    I am so glad that he remains focused after that farce of a debate last night. I can only hope that the delegates are paying attention and get off their duffs and get behind Obama. The petty old politics of Clinton's needs to be stopped.

    April 17, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  9. Barbara

    Obama ............. Brush that dirt off your shoulder, you know what dirty tricks you and your friends have done!

    April 17, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  10. Rosemary Storaka

    Just once can this man take responsibility for his mistakes and failures. He stunk last night, couldn't answer questions and now is whinning. One good thing is that after a national election this man will be forced to remain in Illinois where he can live rather well with all the money he has made promoting his book in this illusion called a campaign.

    April 17, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. Cyp

    Obama is a actor
    Not Presedential Material

    April 17, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |

    Obama is acting immature. Obama acts like questioning him in any fashion is some kind of OLD POLITICS. He accepts us to believe he is a new politician. I don't buy it. He was caught in several lies last night and he will pay for them as journalists scratch their heads and think about the debate more. He also affirmed his fundalmental misunderstanding of religion. I know the Pope's presense most make that clear. We do not love God out of bitterness or frustration, Ok.

    April 17, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. Karen in Cape Cod

    Am I the only person who recognizes the INCREDIBLE ARROGANCE of Barak Obama? He is leagues BEYOND ELITIST! He really must believe he can walk on water!!

    April 17, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  14. LD

    You're right Obama. I am with you and for you

    April 17, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. s

    I agree stick with issues. ABC gave Hillary a chance to point her finger all night. I am tired of the debates. Please pick a nominee (Obama), and let's focus on McCain. By Hillary staying in the race she really is hurting the party. I would not be surprised if she were McCain's VP pick.

    April 17, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  16. Veronic

    Hillary....It is about time to say Good Bye.

    No more donation to your campaign.

    April 17, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  17. Venus

    This is funny as hell! You can get the whole story if you check out the Huffington Post!

    April 17, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. mitch from ark.

    i love it! the politics of the past,are over,and barack is going to keep brushing off the dust,of the grid-lock-the-gov't,challengers, to his 'message of change'.OUT WITH THE OLD!!!!finally the 21st century has made it to the USA!!

    April 17, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  19. HEIDI

    jes April 17th, 2008 4:27 pm ET

    And while your asking someone to wake up when will you and Hillary stop dreaming that their is any possibility that she could win.



    April 17, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  20. Kaseam Ali, Philly, PA

    Like Jay-Z says, "You gotta get that dirt off your shoulder"

    Obama 08

    Too cool.

    April 17, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  21. Mina

    This is an outstanding reply! Way to go Obama.

    April 17, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  22. Avis, Richton Park, IL



    April 17, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  23. L.A. Ben

    This is exactly what he needs to do. These ridiculous claims by Hillary and McCain have nothing to do with the issues, and the public's ability to get suckered in by these infantile tactics is really beyond me.

    Mark your calendar – May 6th. When Barack pummels her in North Carolina and edges her out in Indiana, Hillary's gonna have to waive the white flag.

    April 17, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  24. NC Primary MY TURN!

    How dare you Clinton supporters accuse Obama of being condescending and arrogant. Your candidate has shown at every opportunity how condescending and arrogant and untrustworthy she is. Read the polls you fools. We will never support another Clinton and we will work to defeat her if she is the nominee. She deserves no forgiveness for the campaign she has run and you Clintonites are Hypicrotes.

    April 17, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  25. Change

    According to Obama, change comes from bottom up, not top down, and he represents change.
    But he wants to be on the top! Isn't it funny? He should go to the bottom to make change there.

    April 17, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
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