April 26th, 2008
07:51 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama: 'I've been taking some hits'


Watch Obama explain why he sometimes takes political punches without firing back.

(CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama used a question during a campaign event Saturday to explain his unusual approach to politics.

“How do we get rid of that huge divisiveness in this country?,” a voter asked Obama in Anderson, Indiana.

“The president sets the tone,” the Illinois senator said before explaining the bipartisan approach he’d take if elected to the White House.

“But, I’m also going to try to show this during the course of the campaign,” he added. “Sometimes you take some hits. Even during this campaign, I’ve been taking some hits.”

“One of the things that I learned in the school yard was: the folks that are talking tough all the time, they’re not always that tough. If you’re really tough, you’re not always looking to try to start a fight. If you’re really tough, sometimes you just walk away. If you’re really tough, you just save it for when you really need it,” Obama said.

“I’m not interested in fighting people just for the sake of scoring political points.” “If I’m going to fight somebody it’s going to be fighting over the American people and what they need.”

Obama’s effort to explain his sometimes non-confrontational approach came on the same day that his rival Sen. Hillary Clinton proposed a Lincoln-Douglas style debate. Prior to Clinton’s challenge, Obama said in a television interview set to air Sunday that he would not agree to any more debates with Clinton before the May 6 primaries in North Carolina and Indiana. After learning of Clinton's proposal, the Obama campaign maintained that the Illinois senator would not participate in any more debates until after May 6.

Related: Clinton to Obama: Let's debate like Lincoln

soundoff (353 Responses)
  1. Angel dancing on the head of a pin

    You know that makes so much sense. Hillary is a big old bully and nobody like a bully. She's feeling her Cheerios because she won PA, which didn't do anything but prolong the enevitable, and made no difference in the delegate race. The only thing she came out of PA with was a -5 mil. debt. Opps we forget to include that in the number... Duh. Ever notice the Hillary supporters are just as polarizing as Madam Clinton. Always treating to vote for McCain. Geesh.

    April 26, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  2. Will

    I voted for Hill in my state's primary in early February, only because Edward's dropped out. If my state's primary were tomorrow I would vote for Obama. The other day HIll said she was proud to have the majority of votes casted in PA. She received a poultry 6 tenths of one percent lead. Even though it was a 10 point spread, is was no clear or decisive victory she is claiming.

    April 26, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  3. PCS / North Carolina

    Well said Obama. FOX NEWS proper gates racial hatred 24/7, and always demonizes the minority. What goes around will come around. While in a recession, we are figting among ourselfs.




    Nobody owns the white house, it has to be earned. Hillary supporters are so hateful and repulsive with their remarks, it is a shame that this great country has no tolerence for minority leadership.

    April 26, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  4. Anna, SW Missouri

    Kelley James, I am a house wife, please do not insult us by comparing us to Hillary.

    April 26, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  5. Don't be haters

    Clinton and her supporters complain more then anyone. It's the media, it's personal attacks, it's Obama supporters. Take your own advice if you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen. Don't complain, have your husband complain, your daughter complain, your campaign complain, your supporters complain and so on an so on.

    April 26, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  6. DJ, LA, CA

    Well said...Teddy Roosevelt couldn't have said it any better.

    April 26, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  7. Waltie in Ma.

    O'Bama is right. No more debates. There a waste of time now and nothing will be gained except for that c___ to get her ugly face on tv again.

    April 26, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  8. NC Voter

    Right on Lowry!!!

    Obama doesn't hit back. Yea, I guess you can look at thay way. Why should he when he's got his supporters and campaign staff doing the hitting for him.

    I've seen Obama debate, I've watched his speeches and I agree with Lowry, he can talk about the Clintons, McCain, and Bush, and it's okay. But let Hillary speak about Obama and it's the next headline story. Give me a break!!!

    April 26, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  9. Daniel chicago,il

    Craig, His "race" speech was prompted out of pressure. I don't think he said anything that Americans haven't heard before! I'm sorry, people want the next Martin Luther King or JFK, and he AINT IT! I think that he's an intelligent man, but people are too bamboozled by words!! Words mean NOTHING when they are not proceeded and followed by ACTION!!

    April 26, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  10. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    Oh come on Spirit – why are you wanting to contine the war-mongering of the last 8 years:? No sons? No balls to go over there yourself? Like BUSH

    April 26, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  11. Allen

    To all clinton supporters:

    You are not going to convince any true supporter of Senator Obama to vote for hillary, no matter what lie or ignorant arguement you make. You can say what ever you want but you may as well just learn to live with it: Senator Obama is going to be the next president of the US. You don't like that fact then leave our country and thake that lying piece of **** family with you.

    April 26, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  12. Sherry

    Wow! Enough said! Hang in there Obama! My respect and admiration for what you stand for grows daily. You will make "Our Country" proud again.

    Thank You!

    Obama '08

    April 26, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  13. Dr Charles

    Lowry Martin, II.
    Do you expect Obama to play a complete "BUDDHA" while she has been eating at him from day one. "Man of just words", "get real". He only claimed to not hit back EVERTIME. Please read the article.

    April 26, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  14. Michael

    Any American who truly believes that Mr. Obama stands a chance in a general election should seriously take a look at themselves.. Do you honestly think that his numbers will rise after Mrs. Clinton steps aside? How many Obama supporters would never vote for Clinton if she won? How many Clinton supporters would never vote for Obama if he won? Yet you people sit on these web sites and talk as if everything is peachy keen! Both of our lovely candidates have major issues going into a general election.. Clinton with her bosnia and with nafta, Obama with his pastor and lying about it. Clinton can not win with out the African American votes and Obama can not win with out rural american votes and yet you people sit here and fight on a web site!! How about everyone stops attacking each other and talks on ways to solve the major issue of a general election that is going to be very very hard for either democrat to win... That is the issue

    April 26, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  15. Mark K.

    Hillary's *STILL* whining about debates?!

    I mean, she's been doing that since February... and Obama gave her over twenty so far!

    In what way is this constant demand for free media not a form of begging, pleading, whining for yet another chance to make up for her inability to respectably fund her campaign?!

    Really, what *IS* her campaign all about other than Republican talking points interspersed with one demand after another that the rules be changed to benefit her?!

    You'd think we stole her country or something.

    She started with over a $100 million advantage and has been given more debates than any Democratic contest in the last 100 years.. so what basis does she have to demand special treatment?!

    April 26, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  16. RN in Colorado

    I respect Obama for not wanting to debate.
    However, I do have a suggestion if Clinton really must debate: How about having the different personas of Clinton debate each other? Oh, wait, that's what we've been watching all along.

    April 26, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  17. cecile Pham

    For those who support Hillary, do yourself a favor and read
    "the woman in charge" from Carl Bernstein (one of the men who dig up the Watergate for us) and let us know if you still support her.

    Good luck.

    April 26, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  18. April Garlow

    He's so strong and tough , he proved it by not standing up for his mother when Rev.Wright was insulting white people.He is so tough he didn't stand up for our country when Rev.Wright was making anti-American remarks. He may just be too tough to be president. I STILL PREFER SOMEONE WHO WILL STAND UP FOR THEMSELVES, AND OTHERS.Give me a president with guts, because this world demands action, not denial. His approach might work on the schoolyard, but it's time to be an adult.

    April 26, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  19. Michael In SC

    Makes you proud? You people are blinded by him playing on your hopes and fears. You can't deny it. Get real. He hits as hard and often as ANYONE else in this campaign. And he doesn't want to debate because everytime he does he DROPS in the polls! LOL! He's scared!

    April 26, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  20. Michael

    For those who said he was afraid to debate.. please tell me the last time there were 21 debates in the democratic primary.

    April 26, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |


    April 26, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  22. Zachary

    Typical White Person? God I hope your not a typical white person. You sound like a typical moron. What's wrong with trying to mend the democratic party like Obama's been trying to do? The two candidates agree on 95% of the issues but I do not want Hillary "Obliterate the Middle East" Clinton in the white house. Obama is calm and cool. That's the kind of president I want and not just America wants, but the world! We could become the moral center of the world once again with Obama. Isn't that a good thing?

    April 26, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  23. Evan

    @typical white person

    I don't think you're too typical, because voting McCain is probably the STUPIDEST thing you could do. You are going to disregard every single policy belief Hillary Clinton AND Barack Obama hold.

    Do YOU want to tell the parents/spouses/children of military officers in Iraq that you let their family members stay there?

    Do YOU want to tell the millions of people who had their homes foreclosed that you helped elected a guy who did NOTHING for them?

    Vote on policy, not for your pretty little reasons. You're a fool if you do that.

    April 26, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  24. marty from Indiana

    I am amazed by those people who say he has "no substance." If one will take the time and go to his website and read his position papers and his plan, one could never say he has "no substance." His positions and recommendations are spelled out in detail.

    April 26, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  25. Tn

    this worse women ALL JUST ABOUT MONEY to more screw US more sold out cheap to china just like they did

    April 26, 2008 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
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