May 8th, 2008
04:35 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama: McCain is 'losing his bearings'


Watch portions of Obama's interview Thursday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Barack Obama chastised John McCain Thursday for engaging in “smear” politics, and defended himself from critics who question whether he is capable of being commander-in-chief, during a wide-ranging interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer - his first sit-down since the Indiana and North Carolina primaries.

“This is offensive, and I think it's disappointing,” Obama told Blitzer, when asked his thoughts about McCain’s comments that the terrorist organization Hamas wants Obama to be president. “Because John McCain always says ‘I am not going to run that kind of politics,’ and to engage in that kind of smear is unfortunate, particularly because my policy toward Hamas has been no different than his.

“I’ve said it’s a terrorist organization and we should not negotiate with them unless they recognize Israel, renounce violence, and unless they are willing to abide by previous accords between the Palestinians and the Israelis. So for him to toss out comments like that I think is an example of him losing his bearings as he pursues this nomination. We don’t need name calling in this debate.”

Blitzer’s interview with Obama can be seen in full at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET in The Situation Room. (Related: Obama: World wants to see U.S. lead)

On the topic of national security, Obama said that the American people are looking for a leader with “good judgment” - a trait the Democratic presidential hopeful said he possessed.

“Whether it’s my judgment on Iraq and recognizing that that was going to be a strategic blunder, to my insistence that we need to talk not just to countries we like, but countries we don’t, to my assessment in terms of how we had over-invested in the Musharraf government in Pakistan and that was going to be setting us up for failure later on,” Obama said. “I think I’ve consistently displayed the kind of judgment that the American people are looking for in the next president.”

Obama also talked in-depth about the Democratic nomination battle with Hillary Clinton, the Supreme Court, economic policy, and he spoke emotionally about his mother and wife.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (294 Responses)
  1. Darth Vadik, CA

    Thank you for pointing it out Barack, we've been screaming it for 3 months now.

    May 8, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. C from the D

    Did McCain ever have his bearings?

    May 8, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. Obama 08

    You tell 'em Obama. Take and keep the high ground!

    May 8, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  4. Angus McDugan

    Good tactic. Focus on McCain and do not even respond to Hillary. There is no way she will win, so stay out of the mud by ignoring her, which is what American should have done to the Clintons a long time ago.

    May 8, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  5. YesWeCan

    As this Great Country moves forward, may we truly unite, and leave partisanship behind us. Together, we can accomplish anything. The past is behind us. Never give in to corruption, and point it out when seen. They will try, hard as ever, and with large sums of money, to accomplish actions that only support their motives. Our future, and the future for generations to come, depend on our decisions today. We can not, and will not, tolerate the inability of two parties grandstanding, for personal gain.

    Vote for Barack Obama, a person for all people.

    God Bless You, and God Bless America !
    Independent for Obama

    May 8, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  6. Veterans For Obama

    Thank you for all that you have done for us....Congrats on the nomination, brother.

    May 8, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  7. sue

    PERFECTLY SAID by Obama.

    McCain is "supposed" to be a stand up guy, but it looks like hes turning into a typical Republican using childish smear tactics. How sad!

    May 8, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. Shawn

    I like McCain, but signs of him going senile are showing. Great response, Barack!

    I will definately be watching this interview.

    May 8, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. Kimberly in Texas

    It's so great to hear "real" issues discussed.
    Thank you!

    May 8, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. CW4Barak

    You go President Obama! Just know that they are going to be using the same dirty tactics that your fellow Democrat–Billary, used, and you mashed that down, so you will mash them down too!!

    Obama 08-12

    May 8, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. LAUREN

    Yes We Can!
    OBAMA '08 & '12!!!

    May 8, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. Former-Hillary supporter

    I cannot wait until Barack tears him apart during each and every debate!

    May 8, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  13. Oregon has Hope and wants change

    Well said Mr President Obama

    May 8, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  14. Vietnam Veterans Against McCain

    Please see our website to understand why John Mccain is no hero in our eyes and unfit to lead the country!

    May 8, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. Lilly

    Obama, the next President of the United States 🙂

    May 8, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. Phil from Boston, MA

    Good judgment that lands you million dollar houses when you're working pro-bono.

    Good judgment like abstaining from voting on issues that would be controversial, and require courage to stand up for – but could hurt your chances of becoming a presidential candidate.

    Good judgment like accepting money from oil company executives and it being okay because it's not an "official lobby."

    Good judgment like lying where you stand on universal healthcare and education.

    Good judgment like being voted in because of the color of your skin, and not because people are paying attention to the actual issues.

    Good judgment about whose votes should be heard, and whose votes shouldn't be, because they don't favor you.

    Yeah. Excellent judgment.

    May 8, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. AMG

    Obama there you go gain. Now accuse McCain of playing dirty just as you did to Hillary

    May 8, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  18. Adam

    oh shut up Obama..You will NEVER win!

    May 8, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. Stacy Clarks



    May 8, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. kb from iowa

    John Stewart pointed that out to McCain last night as well. He also asked him if he wanted to denounce his relationship with Bush since polls show Bush is worse for McCain than Wright is for Obama.

    May 8, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  21. Paris

    John McCain stated the facts.
    Hamas spokes person did say they like Obama, I like Obama
    To say why he thinks Hamas and Iran like him.
    This is a simple question that needs to be answered.
    He is bringing John McCain into this so he doesn’t answer it.
    Obama is the one playing politics.

    May 8, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  22. Oregon Dave

    Slate has Hillary at a 2.5% chance of securing the nomination. Time for her to quit.

    Hillary death watch is great fun.

    May 8, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  23. Its okay to be right

    I think Hillary and McCain should run together. They play the same stupid games.

    Barack Obama 08

    May 8, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  24. wolfsbane

    Barack has the judgement, but I wish he wouldn't characterize Iraq as a strategic blunder. It was more than that. It was immoral.

    May 8, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  25. Robert Mpls

    The debates will be SOOOO tasty.

    That doddering shell of a man doesn't have a chance.

    (McCain, I mean.)

    May 8, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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