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. Paul, Miami florida

    Maybe Obama will start to talk specifics or maybe he can't. Its not over as of today no matter what the Obamites say and how many back stabbers do it to Hillary. If they force her out before its done, I'll vote MCCain out of spite and disdain for the Obamites. Yes, there is a lot of bad blood here.
    What she does dare is to HOPE and has the audacity to HOPE! Not just pretty words but the real thing.

    May 8, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  2. Mary

    Look, Obama hasn't been consistent about much of anything, except playing either the race card or the name-calling card whenever someone disagrees with him. Go back and look over what he has said on the issue about which he and McCain disagree. He is all over the place on this, and McCain has a right to point it out without being accused of unfair politics.

    To Obama, anything is unfair that calls attention to his wavering and waffling.

    May 8, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  3. Sven

    McCain lost his bearings a long time ago.

    May 8, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  4. Mike NYC

    So let me get this straight – according to Hillary we now should have just gone through the entire primary race allowing white people to vote. After all isnt that really who should matter in the end. Blacks are lesser beings and vote doesnt count? Wow we just erased 100 years of progress.

    So why did we waste the last 5 months in letting the people decide? We should have just had Hillary Clinton create all the rules and adjust them as we go along. I forgot that North Carolina that entire 200,000 + votes we all african americans.

    May 8, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  5. sanger, tx

    obamas weakness is atarting to show!!!!

    May 8, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  6. Martin Alexander

    A true disgrace to read such a divisive comment. Even Hillary made a divisive comment about race today.

    I made up my mind. There is no way I will vote for McCain. are a joke!

    Fairfax, Virginia

    May 8, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  7. carrie

    all you clinton supporters.
    didnt u see the expression on bill and chelsea's face when she made her losing speech?
    they know she has no chance to get the nomination
    they are worried about her mental health
    she is destroying the dnc,america and the world with her racist statements.
    in the good days of the presidency,bill cheated with a 21 year old kid because he couldnt stand her
    what would he do now?
    poor guy?
    hillary,go home
    no,not new york....i mean arkansas

    May 8, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  8. tanner, ca

    Obama COMPLETELY MISREPRESENTED McCain's comment. McCain NEVER said anything about Obama's policies towards the Middle East. What he DID SAY was that Hamas would prefer Obama (or any democrat as I see it) than the republican candidate become president.

    So tell me Mr. Obama, who's really being honest here?

    May 8, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. Steve

    MSNBC, other wise known as "Musslin State National Broadcastting Company" is trying to sway America's Elections for the radical left. I think there should be a floor fight in Denver in AUG. For The Soul of the DNC.

    May 8, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  10. Doug R.

    McCain is a liar and a fraud. He has a closet full af skeletons too.
    He has lots of answering and explaining to do to the American people. He was involved with the Keating Five, throws violent temper tantrums and uses obscenities, had extra maritial affairs, and denounced the United States, our government and administration during his period of captivity. He also needs to step up and explain how he intends to handle such issues as: the economy, the environment, education, veterans affairs, healthcare, the skyrocketing price of gasoline, foreign affairs,...the list goes on and on. What's most scary is when McCain said he hates certain ethnic groups and how he will bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. He is an unstable and frightening man.

    May 8, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  11. Illinois voter

    Obama is only winning because of the black vote.

    In Indiana and North Carolina, Obama won the black vote by about 90% to 10%, while Clinton won the white vote by about 60% to 40%.

    If Obama won the black vote by the same percentage that Clinton won the white vote, 60% to 40%, Obama would have lost North Carlina by about 6% and Indiana by about 10%.

    In fact, Obama would have lost both states if he had won the black vote by 65% to 35%, which would still be an impressive 30% spread. Because he currently enjoys an incredible 80% advantage upon blacks, his overall strength is misleading.

    Hillary or McCain '08

    May 8, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  12. Michael, CA

    Obama 2008!!!

    "Racism is for Clintons, not Americans!!"

    May 8, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  13. Todd

    "Why would anyone support this man?" -JC

    Because he's better than the alternatives? I think thats a pretty good reason. Do we want a chronic liar from a family with a well documented history of lying, cheating, and breaking the rules? Do we want a 3rd Bush term? Or do we want to believe in a well educated, well spoken, well dressed man who says to us, "You know, you can make a difference"?

    But sure, if people want to go cry and act like a 6 year old and vote for McCain out of spite... well, it just goes to show that Americans are just as stupid and childish as the rest of the world thinks we are. I think Obama may be able to change their minds, even a little.

    May 8, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  14. Olivia

    You are not so clean yourself, obama.
    I have heard you make negative remarks about McCain and Clinton.
    You may act like a rock star today......but surely you must know how fickle politics and politicians can be. The networks are all over you today. They treat you differently than they do Clinton.
    I dislike your arrogance. I will not vote for you. My respect for Clinton is too high for me to even consider switching over to you.

    May 8, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  15. Shahin

    Mr. Obama, I think you have not yet realize that America will never be in your favor, you are very intelligence and intellectual but America is not ready for you. Americans like to see some liers to be thier leaders. you should make repentance and come back to Islam. Muslim need a leader like you. God will reward you in this world and hereafter. I love you sake of God disregard your color. We Muslim do not judge a person by color or origin. We like a person by his or her cherecter. So make the repentance and be our brother.

    May 8, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  16. Democrats Rule

    Wow – he just gets better and better and better. Everybody say it together now – PRESIDENT OBAMA!

    May 8, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  17. Asian American for Obama

    Look forward to watching Wolf Blitzer's interview with Obama about real issues & John McCain after all the recent drama with "race baiting" by Hillary & the Rev. Wright issue.

    Voters - please remember that the NON-WHITES in this country includes Latinos & Asians besides African-Americans/Blacks.

    Obama's campaign should use Hillary's "hard working white votes" remark to gain support for his campaign from the very hard working Latino /Hispanic & Asian voters.

    May 8, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  18. Just Thinking

    Could it be possible that Hamas would like Obama because he is NOT a republican and does not represent the deplorable policies of George Bush?

    Could it be possible that Hamas would like Obama because his campaign is based on unification and Hamas believes that perhaps Obama could help unify their region of the world as well? Whereas the prior President's position have been unconditionally Israel is right and everybody else is wrong? Does anyone think that Israel is just the poor innocent lamb and Hamas blood dripping wolf.

    There is always three sides to all stories. His (Israel), Hers (Hamas) and the Truth (Isra-mas). The third side is generally the most accurate.

    Just thinking....

    May 8, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  19. Kevin

    That's right, let's keep this fight clean ... *ding ding* round 1 has begun
    go Obama!

    May 8, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  20. silence do good

    "All democrats must stand behind Obama. "
    After all the hate and division that Obama and his followers have spread, you have a lot of nerve to give orders. You are responsible for driving a lot of Dems away from Obama.

    May 8, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  21. FedUpDem

    I absolutely love it....all this talk about hoiw different he is yet his policy is no different than McCains (from the horses mouth0 the same guy who said after the Iraq war had started that his position was about the same as Bushs...what a hypocrite....I think he's still telling the people of Illinois he is committed to finishing his first term in the senate and will not run for higher can so many people be taken in by this clown?

    NO arrogant condescending lying hypocrite racist will ever get my vote.


    May 8, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  22. Lyle

    It is interesting that Mr. Obama denounces Mr. McCain’s comments as “smear politics”. Hamas has publicly stated that it would prefer Mr. Obama to win the presidency, so where is the “smear”? Mr. McCain is speaking a truth.

    Sadly, for Mr. Obama, he considers any truth that he does not agree with, to be a smear. While, on the other hand, he feels free to distort and lie about Hillary Clinton’s record and platform in order to trick the electorate into voting for him. Mr. Obama is an absolute master of “smear politics”.

    Sorry, Mr. Obama, you can’t have it both ways.

    May 8, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |





    May 8, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  24. Adam

    Yes We Can??? Can what? What Can We Do? What have YOU done?

    You might have some people brain washed into thinking you CAN do anything. But not the ones you will need to win this come November!!!

    May 8, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  25. Andrew

    McCain is senile. McCain forgot that he was going to run a clean campaign.

    May 8, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
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