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. Ztormtra

    The Obama Dance.

    April 26, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  2. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    Oops – did not exclude non-nasty

    April 26, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  3. liar

    Taking Hits?

    The media keeps giving you free air time to spruce up your words every time you fall.

    The media has over praised you.

    The media has bashed your opponent for you.

    The debates all hit Hillary and spared you- until the ABC one leveled the playing field and you tanked.

    No... Hillary has taken ALL the hits in this primary... and the DNC has swiftboated her in an effort to boost you.

    April 26, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  4. Megan

    Good choice, that way you don't have to answer questions from anyone who isn't already a mindless follower of your campaign!

    April 26, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  5. Will

    Obama is such a chicken. He knows that he cannot debate with Clinton because she is a much better debater than him. Is he going to run from McCain too?

    April 26, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |

    To the people in Florida and Michigan: find out who blocked the revote efforts in your state and voice your disapproval In November in the general election...I have a feeling you will find his name on the ballot since the DNC has already made up their mind....they cannot win without you.

    April 26, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  7. Lin Lo

    He's absolutely right. I learned the same lesson, and taught both my boys that it indeed takes a bigger person to walk away from an unworthy fight. The tough talkers are the ones who really don't have much to say anyway.

    April 26, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  8. Derrick from Gary, IN

    Well,he has time to play some basketball, but he doesn't want to debate on the issues. Way to focus on what's important to millions of Americans, Obama. Do us all a favor and stay out of the kitchen and the schoolyard. The bullies get a lot bigger when you get to the White House.

    April 26, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  9. blind

    Once again... blind to his own advantages: Oprah, Democratic elite family support, DNC fixing the primary to favor him, one sided Hillary bashing debates, gushing media coverage turning his every word to gold.

    Never has a candidate gotten so far on so little merit and been given so many advantages.

    If the playing field were any more tilted in his favor, we would all slide right into his lap. As it is, we have to cling to the edges just to stay free and think freely and cling to our RIGHT to vote.

    April 26, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  10. Julie MN

    Kind of a odd question from a audience member.If their going to plant questions, I would have left this one out, It sounds like a planted question.

    April 26, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  11. Sarah Smith

    Obama should debate McCain

    NOT Hillary who is GRUBBING for FREE FREE FREE

    (NO COST FREE) debates to shoot her poisonous darts

    Hillary wants to ride on Obama's tail and bring him DOWN!

    Hillary is an ignoble LOSER! with a botox grin

    April 26, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  12. yen

    Obama, you are winning. Why shoud you debate with clinton. She has said it all and done it all.Just go around places and talk to people about what you can do as a president. And we have heard it all.
    They say older women are for hillary. I'am over sixty but can't stand the clintons any more.

    April 26, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  13. Jermaine

    "The President sets the tone", now that is what I expect from a Leader and that is what the American people and the world can expect from a Barack OBAMA Presidency!

    "Leaders Lead"! BARACK OBAMA- JIM WEBB FOR President and Vice

    April 26, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  14. say what?

    No... really, you haven't.

    Hillary has been taking all the hits.

    You just have done more crying and complaining about any honest question posed you.

    And you have cried out "racist" whenever someone said anything negative or challenged your words in any way.

    You, sir... have been treated like deity.

    April 26, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  15. truth

    Wow!!! What a strong voice for Americans!!!

    April 26, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  16. zac

    the silence from the main stream media after the rev. wright interview on pbs is deafening.

    April 26, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  17. Sara

    I am a 2nd grade teacher and this is exactly how we teach our students to react when they have confrontations, how to not be bullied. This is the kind of president I will be proud to teach my students about. Obama is leader we need in America.

    April 26, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  18. Nicole

    I agree 100%. I so tired of Clinton always showing how tough she is. He sounds very Presidential.

    OBAMA '08 & '12

    April 26, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  19. Venus

    That's our man! I just love how you give it back Obama!

    This is about election and not boxing or playing sports!

    Ha, ha, ha Hillary! Looking for a fight-- it's tough to fight by yourself!

    April 26, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  20. Democrat

    Here we go again, the resurrection of John Kerry. Please do all of us a favor and get out of this race if you are not willing to fight for it.

    April 26, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  21. spyturtle

    could it be that nobody wants to see another debate and nobody cares about the horrible propaganda put out on Rev Wright? the public is tired of the politics. Go Obama!

    April 26, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  22. united dems

    debat the issue's or are debat's now an issue?

    April 26, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  23. Mark M

    Is he for real? Are his followers for real?

    He acts like he has never criticized or attacked Clinton.

    Typical Politician. He lied. He is just a typical politician.

    April 26, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  24. Michigan for Obama

    He's truly a breath of fresh political air!

    I wish the Clinton supporters could see through Bill and Hillary's thirst for power at the expense of the American people...say or do anything at the expense of their opponent...four or eight years of another Clinton scandal riddled White House is scary.

    White 60 year old woman not for Hillary...and former Republican!

    April 26, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  25. Haneefah

    SENATOR OBAMA: We are not worried. You are the winner and the Best and most Honest candidate in this race. The hits will stop and you are strong, you can handle it. Hillary is a lier and a cheat. She says one thing and does and says another.


    April 26, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
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