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. bigben

    obama beat mccain is debate? he was to scared to debate a woman?
    21 debates , he won none

    May 8, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. TRW

    Will Obama ever tell us what he is going to do other than just offer hope to the midnless?

    May 8, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. sp

    Ummmm......... Diddnt Hamas issue a press release or statement favorable of Obama? I would think McCain is just echoing that. He does need to avoid that kind of JV comment though, leave it to the armchair hacks 😉

    May 8, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  4. Roger

    Ah yes, here comes the name calling. Get used to it McCain supporters! This is the Obama "new politics" that the obama supporters have shown us Hillary supporters.

    I've got your back. I'll vote for McCain if Hillary isn't nominated.

    May 8, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  5. Relle Boston

    Stop deviding, Stop the nonsense do not devide the religions he will be for us all and take care of us all. Be positive and back the man. We will all be better people for this. Barack has yet to be a lier and I am affended by your sarcasm. I am a BLACK WOMAN and I am proud to be black and an AMERICAN. We are all americans and until we start living as such then we will get no where.

    May 8, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. Dale

    Steve your a jerk buddy!!! But dont be upset OUR new President OBAMA will still alllow you to live here among us !!!! OBAMA08!!!! Anyway John boy McCain is an old washed up REPUB...his memory is gone so he should be getting Social Security instead of trying to run for President....Man the REPUBS are really a sad bunch. RICH but SAD...

    May 8, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  7. D.Kimbro OHIO

    Great post Olivia, however check you facts. That lying Hillary represents all that is wrong with America. By the was we haven't missed your vote yet. We'll keep you posted..

    Obama 08 & 12

    May 8, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. Shane

    Hamas is not a terrorist organization. The U. S. and Israel labeled them a terrorist organizationt because they don't really want peace in the Middle East. Please listen to former President Carter and what he says about Hamas.

    May 8, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  9. NBC

    Mc Cain got 70% of the vote running against no one. How can a Democrat support that ship. I guess jumping from one sinking ship to another makes perfect since!

    May 8, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Doug R.:

    "and denounced the United States, our government and administration during his period of captivity."

    It's possible, just possible, he was forced to say those things.

    May 8, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. Virginia from NC

    I've decided not to vote for the president if Hilary some how cries, lies and trick her way into being the dem. candidate for president, so what would you do to get other people that plans to do the same thing to vote.

    May 8, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. john

    How does obama call this a smear? The leader of Hamas said he hoped Obama got elected. Its a fact not a smear.

    May 8, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. Samuel

    Vote Obama and he will be made president of the United States of America according to the constitution of the United States of America.

    He will serve you and your interests. He will be role model for all American Youth. He is just the man at the moment and no one takes it from him.

    There is a saying which goes like the following: if God says yes, then it is yes. Case close. Vote Obama and heal this nation and promise you will never regret.

    I rest my case.

    May 8, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. Rob

    Clintons time?!?!

    No one is entitled to crap. That was that mentality that got the current bush in the white house. That he is the son of a former president. Hes got to be good. This is not a monarchy. Any individual is allowed to run, no one in entitled to anything.

    Thats the problem with the Hillary Supporters, they have a sense of entitlement as thought this is due to them. Sorry, it isnt.

    May 8, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  15. asjkldflsakdj

    Berat (Pronounced buh-RAHT), Park Ridge, IL

    It shows how closely he is to his lunatic pastor who could say some stupid verses in arabic language.

    May 8, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  16. kristen in PA

    all of you people vowing to vote mccain if Senator Clinton does not get the nomination are VERY scary. We are in the midst of earth shattering deficits, bad trade deals (that senator clinton supported), a conservative leaning supreme court, stagnate wages, skyrocketing education and healthcare costs and we can not afford four more years of a Republican agenda.

    Come together regardless of whether it will be Senator Obama or Senator CLinton. We CAN NOT AFFORD JOHN MCCAIN!!!

    May 8, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. get real

    Obama will never be President. Americans will never vote for someone who has proven that he is not a true Patriot. Anyone with good judgement would have walked out of that church. It only took Oprah a couple of years to figure out Rev Wright.

    Hillary 08 or McCain if necessary

    May 8, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. Chuck

    Do the leaders of Iran and Syria count as terrorists or supporting terrorist ideas? Barrack, as president, sitting and chatting with these folks is NOT American policy nor would it benefit America. BHO is out of line when saying ANY of his policies are in line with McCain's. BHO must be remembering conversations with his other terrorist supporters.

    May 8, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  19. Tracy

    For those females who want to switch to Mccain, you are telling me you would rather give up your "Right to Choose" and watch your nieces, nephews, friends or relatives continue to fight a war for oil (as stated by Mccain). This means you are saying to all the democrats that you don't give a crap how many soldiers die, as long as Senator Obama is not the president. NOW THAT IS JUST SAD!!!

    May 8, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  20. Jonathan Grieder

    If Hillary is the Democrats strongest candidate why is she losing?

    May 8, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  21. proud army and navy mom

    good job, sen obama. mccain is senile and speaks out of both sides of his mouth. call him on it everytime.

    May 8, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  22. Mary

    Frustrated in PA – that is not what politics should be about. Its sad that that is what you think it is. Politics should be effecting positive change for the country. Where are you from, dude?

    May 8, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. Madrugada Jones

    Indeed. If McCain keeps messing up Sunnis and Shias and keeps getting rattled by innocent questions from voters, the cool-headed Obama will have a much easier road to the White House. Obama seems so much calmer as it is - I can't wait until they get to the debates and Obama looks so much calmer and more collected than the maverick.

    May 8, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    "Yes we can" is simply a campaign slogan. It's not used to "explain" Obama's position on healthcare, housing, taxes, defense. Talk about simple-minded.

    May 8, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  25. Joel

    Hillary is the only answer at this point for the Democratic party unfortunately people don't want to realize that Barack Obama...can only win RED STATES in a blue primary where there are a lot of African least Bill and Hillary Clinton in a general election would be capable of actually winning.....If I don't see Hillary emerge as the nominee...I'll be voting for John McCain at least he is patriotic and has given service to this country, Barack Obama has done nothing except cater to the black vote.

    May 8, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
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