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. Bobby

    60% of White people voting Hilary = RACISM
    90% of Black People voting Obama = IDEALISM

    YES WE CAN ...
    explain everything with ...
    SIMPLE MINDED cliches

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

    But Mr. Obama, your policy with regard to terror organizations IS very different than McCain's. McCain, for instance, is the only Presidential candidate prepared to go to war with Iran in order to oust Al-Qaeda from that country. Other politicians, like yourself, hesitate to do so for the simple reason that Al-Qaeda doesn't OPERATE in Iran.

    What McCain understands is that with Iraq, Al-Qaeda didn't operate there either until Bush had his way. So too will be the case with Iran.

    McCain may well endorse similar practices to oust Hamas from other non-English-speaking, non-White nations. These promises absolutely highlight key foreign policy and response-to-terror differences between the upcoming Presidential contenders.

    May 8, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. Berat (Pronounced buh-RAHT), Park Ridge, IL

    I'd also like to point out that it's pretty refreshing to hear how Sen. Obama pronounces countries' names correctly (for example, PAH-kee-stahn rather than PA-ki-stan). After eight years with a guy who can't even pronounce English words correctly (hello, nucular), this is a welcome change.

    May 8, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    Hail to the Chief!

    Obama '08

    May 8, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  5. mama4obama

    A man of true vision. You had me from hello!

    OBAMA 08

    May 8, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  6. Obama IS the Nominee

    Oregon dave,

    Hillary who?


    May 8, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. Its okay to be right

    McCain has been on easy street for a while. I can't wait to we get hold of him This guy has been on both sides of every policy. That doesn't make you a maverick, just confused!

    Obama 08

    May 8, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. Aces full of Kings

    We're done with you, Hillary. Your ship has sailed. Now we're taking on McCain. Bring it on! Obama '08

    May 8, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Big Rod

    Obama will negotiate with foreigners, but not with the DNC about Florida and Michigan. If you want to ran't... go on about 2 million disenfranchised voters in this country. Niether McCain or Obama speaks for me or to me.

    May 8, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  10. Heather

    Go, Obama! I can't wait to see him debate McCain. 😀

    May 8, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  11. Jan

    Since when did Obama take the "high ground" on anything? He has smeared both Hillary and McCain on numerous occasions–just more sneaky about it. He also puts down and smears white Americans which is worse than smearing another candidate. When you run for a powerfull position you can't expect not to have your skeletons appear–don't blame McCain-the terrorist leader is the one that made the statement!

    May 8, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. Democrat in Northwest

    Well Mr. Obama is not a strong candidate against John Mccain. So let's get our strongest candidate, Hillary for November election.

    May 8, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. What?

    I am just waiting for the moment in a debate this fall, where John McCain is offended by one of Obama's answer. The temper takes over and he turns into Senior Citizen Hulk. If McCain hit another candidate on live TV (as he has done to fellow senators) it would go down as the worst campaign move in history

    May 8, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  14. Bob

    McCain will always revert to smear politics – especially while he's telling everyone he won't. It seems to be a Republican thing and unfortunately it's a tactic that works for them. When, if ever, are these people who voted for Bush 2004, going to get some smarts. I'm sick of paying the price for their stupidity.

    May 8, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  15. Oliver

    Yes President Obama!

    Yes we can!

    May 8, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |

    people need to wake up if clinton is not in the white house we are
    ion for a long ercover

    May 8, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. yeller

    Focus on Hillary- she's about to whip you in Kentucky and West Virginia.

    Keep Democracy in America Alive? No Fascist Liberal Media! No Affirmative Action presidency!

    May 8, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. Anonymous


    you were o.k. until you said,

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

    I don't agree with your other points, but at least they are rational. Thank you for showing your true colors.

    May 8, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  19. Ivar

    Clinton is an evil person who is trying to divide this nation. By the way this is for all my hipanic friends sopecially in Florida...Clinton clearly used the fact that she prefers white voters over any one else. So you dont want to vote for her in any way.

    May 8, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  20. jc

    Donating money to the Clinton campaign is like putting money in a bucket with a hole in it. We need real change in Washington.

    Vote Obama!!!!

    May 8, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. Marc

    Obama is proving to be a true leader. Hillary doesn't stand a chance. Lets throw our support behind Obama. All democrats must stand behind Obama. I am a Republican, but I am voting for Obama!

    Obama 08!

    May 8, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  22. Obama v McCain

    ooh i cannot wait to see them debate.

    May 8, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  23. Nita

    Love it!!

    May 8, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  24. SaintObama

    Everybody else is racist and playing old Washington politics, only he is the greatest!

    May 8, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  25. Candace from Texas

    President Obama, that sounds so good......

    May 8, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
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