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. roger

    he can't even fight a GIRL and he is going to save the country! he is a joke

    April 26, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  2. candi

    Good for you Obama, tell Hillary to go debate with herself.

    April 26, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  3. curtis in WI

    How dare he act Presidential???? What does he think he is doing? Trying to be President or something??

    also ..

    Clinton: Let's debate like Lincoln and Douglas!
    Obama: Okay. You be Douglas.

    April 26, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  4. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    Like Lincoln???? Come on Senator Clinton. Give this a rest! You don't care about our country, but you believe that you are entitled to this position. Give me a break!!!!!!!!

    April 26, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  5. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    If she didn't have Bill and all the favors owed him, she'd have been dust in February. Go Ahead (Clinton News Network – don't post this one either). Why are powerful people so afraid?

    April 26, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  6. Bayou Joe

    TheUSMC shirt does not go with this man. The right to wear it has to be earned. A pink code shirt is more appropriate for Obama. That is all from this Marine.

    April 26, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  7. red27

    What is more relevant to voter's interests? Debates or Solutions?

    April 26, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  8. Charles

    Obama, hit !!

    April 26, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  9. 2012

    Yeah, right. What I want to know is why he was wearing a USMC shirt on the basketball court. He didn't serve and he has no right. BO is a Marxist, a coward, and a fraud.

    Semper fi

    April 26, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  10. Goody - Oregon 4 Hillary

    Well, what is Obama going to do when he finds out that is how foreign leaders play the game? Grow up, get some more experience and come back when you can handle the big boys and girls.

    Hillary 08...yes she can!

    April 26, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  11. Andrew Gast

    There is no point in him debating. He's got this thing as long as he doesn't screw up.... debating only keeps alive that possibility.

    April 26, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  12. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    Oh – now my blogs are all in one place – Is Billiary "Big Brother" watching?

    April 26, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  13. Marc

    Very good. You don't need to be negative.

    April 26, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  14. Craig

    If you don't think he has anything substantive to say, laz, you must be actively trying to avoid hearing him speak. His speech on race, for example, is likely to go into the history books as one of the most important speeches of this generation.

    April 26, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  15. Olivier

    Well said.

    April 26, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  16. Spirit of America

    Afraid to debate but no fear in taking hits? What a fraud!
    This is supposed be change we can believe in? We, the People, do not believe in cowards or hypocrites.

    April 26, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  17. Trenton Sims, Los Angeles

    Thats right,,.Just Brush her off your shoulders.
    She is just an annoyance that is becoming more irrelevant by the hour.

    April 26, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  18. Rafe

    America is the world's only superpower. We didn't need to show our strength by invading iraq with no help.

    Hillary wants to nuke Iran and sucker punch and bully her opponents. Barack Obama would be a much stronger president.

    April 26, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  19. dora

    Can Hillary pls debate herself by herself on the stage since she has many sides to every story.Shameless liar.Schizophrenic as well.

    April 26, 2008 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  20. MC

    Way to go Obama! Hillary is a win-at-all-costs person. She clearly puts herself above the party and the American people. She claims that the American people needs a democrat as president to clean up the "mess made by republicans." Nonetheless, her actions seem to be invoking the opposite. If she can't win, she doesn't want anyone from the democratic party to win. I mean, she is clearly aware that, when looking at the numbers, the odds are against her as being the next democratic candidate. Even if she still wants to stay in the race and take a "fighting chance," while she does not have to uplift and praise Obama, she surely should not be ripping into him – or at least on anything but policy-based issues.

    Obama '08

    April 26, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  21. Alan Boyer

    Taking the high road is something that the Clintons didn't plan on Obama doing. Many white people goad black people to bring out the angry person inside. They've done it for 100 years. And the fact that it's a black man vs a white woman, Obama has to be very careful because there was a time when black men were lynched for just looking at a white woman. Obama is astute and realizes that he must be very careful about how he responds to Hillary so that voters don't view him through the lens of the Jim Crow south, protecting the white princess no matter what from the big black man.

    April 26, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  22. Typical White Person

    The only people who think that Obambi has risen above politics as usual are the ignorant fools who blindly follow him like he's the messiah. He's a sleazy politician, just like the rest of them... difference is, he's trying to convince you he's not, while playing the game just as viciously as the rest of them.

    I am a lifelong democrat, but if Obambi is what the Dems throw on the ticket this year, I'm voting McCain. I'd rather the wolf without the disguise than the wolf in sheep's clothing.

    April 26, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  23. Sharon from Houston, Texas

    I'm with you Craig! Obama's speech on race will go down in history. I guess Laz really was the one who did not have anything substantive to say.

    April 26, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  24. Miguel Gomez

    At every single stop he makes, he goes off like this "my opponent..." and he let go of a number of attacks against Sen. Clinton, but for some reason, the media never gets to focus on that. They didnt even mentioned the nasty attacks his campaign did in PA. They just wait for Sen. Clinton or her husband to sneeze of blink and they're immediately all over them calling them negatives of racist. Talk about fair and balance, I think by now, Fox news pales in comparison.

    April 26, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  25. Patriot

    It's demeaning to lower oneself and fight with a female who HAS NO DIGNITY LEFT to defend.
    Her husband has taken Hilary beyond shame barrier. lol
    They are now a bitter couple WITH NOTHING TO LOSE!

    No more debates and no more response.
    Meet Americans and run ads.


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