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. no

    No you haven't.

    You set yourself up as infallible... and would not accept any questions that you chose not to answer.

    You solved all disagreements with speeches that gave you the opportunity to tweek your responses.

    You benefitted from DNC rules that advantaged you, from the unfair caucus format that favored you, from favorable and misleading media coverage that presented you as the messiah and you were able to pull the race card when needed to give you an edge.

    Go away Obama.

    April 26, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  2. cvr924

    Hide all you want Obama, no moderaters thats right , bring it on, show us what you got and stop making excuses. you're too timid to lead and if you cant beat Hillary you will NEVER stand a chance against McCain.


    PS Please stop wearing that USMC shirt you don't have the guts to earn one.

    April 26, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  3. orlando

    What Obama says is different from what he does. He is a politician with a beautiful cover. In order to win, he can do anything. He lies all the time. But the fanny thing is that he does not know he is lying.

    Florida for Hillary.

    April 26, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  4. tone deaf

    The president sets the tone-

    We heard the mocking, jeering, cocky, boastful, dismissive and elitist tone you have set in your campaign.

    Did I mention hateful?

    April 26, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  5. united dems

    numb fingers: mispelled not mispoke
    debate the issue's or are debate's now an issue?

    April 26, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  6. Mike

    You walk away all right, walk away from the real issues!

    Go Hillary!!!!!!!!!

    April 26, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  7. dirty work

    Has he been in touch with his own supporters?

    Talk about talking tough- nasty, name-calling, insults and trash.

    Your supporters are the thugs threatening everyone who does not support you. They are the ones calling others ignorant, stupid, racist idiots.

    April 26, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  8. Julie MN

    If the president sets the tone , then we can all just be sneaky and give people the finger gesture, have our friends take our opponents into the back room, and say it was all taken out of context. I cant believe he has not been asked to step down from the u.s senate with the childish behavior he has shown. very sad.

    April 26, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  9. Way to go!

    What else does Hillary have to say.. out of all the debates we have not learned anything new but listening at Hillary lie over and over and over again.. it is really sad she does not conduct herself as a woman instead of a naive girl. Anyway, why debate.. this race been over.. this is just the cool down walk off.......... Shake her off Obama.....

    April 26, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  10. STEVEN S.

    I think its a good idea to not debate until after May 6th.

    Obama will serve himself and the voters better if he uses this next week and a half campaigning by talking to the folks of Indiana and North Carolina on the issues that effect them the most.

    April 26, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  11. Steve B, NewYork. NY

    A gentleman ... level-headed. And PRESIDENTIAL.

    The contrast to the undisciplined, unstable Hillary who wants to 'Obletarate Iran".
    You make your choice !

    April 26, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  12. Eva, VA

    I'm an Obama supporter, but applaud his decision not to debate Clinton. She would mop the floor with his stutters. Run Obama run for the finish line. Don't bite.

    Obama 08

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

    voters would like another debate- also Florida voters to be counted

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

    Go Obama


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

    Obama is a decent guy..Hillary is a witch...will she please go away

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


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

    Obama who is Hatem El-Hady? On Fox blogs they talk about him.

    April 26, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  18. Kerry Sisson

    Go home with Bill, Hillary. I've had more than enough of you!

    April 26, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  19. renea


    April 26, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  20. Mike

    The answer is clear.

    NObama=debate=loses debate=loses that states primary.

    NObams knows that he debated poorly prior to the Pennsylvania Primary.

    NObama does not want to make that mistake again.

    Go Hillary!!!

    Boo Hoo, he cries, the thinks the questions will be too difficult!

    April 26, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  21. Amy OFlaherty Reno, NV

    Hillary's a bully. Please make her go away. Indiana, it's up to you. If Barack wins your state, this can all be over.

    April 26, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  22. Maggie VT

    Everyone is sick of your debates, Hillary. You are out for blood and it doesn't look like the Obama campaign is buying it anymore.

    April 26, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  23. JD

    You have to be kidding me.

    I mean, I'm not even an Obama fan, and I think this is some pretty ridiculous reporting. I realize it's what he said, but that doesn't make it an appropriate headline if you're trying to be honest.

    I honestly can't believe they made this the headline.

    April 26, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  24. Robert

    Looks to me like you been throwing some hits. why wont you debate.What are you scared of.

    April 26, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  25. no way

    Taken some hits?

    No. You have been protected by the DNC, the party elites and the media.

    You threw plenty of hits and sent out your talking heads to really bash your opponent.

    But you got to coast and skate your way to a very slight lead.

    April 26, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
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