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. Deb

    I think Mr. Obama should take some time to read the posts from his supporters if he really wants to see dirty, disappointing politics.

    May 8, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. FloridaVoter

    What is offensive is that Obama has NO regard for the voters of Florida and Michigan. I've been a hardcore Democrat my entire life and you sir have lost my vote.


    Anybody but Obama in 08!
    Anybody but Obama in 08!
    Anybody but Obama in 08!

    May 8, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  3. White Male for Obama

    JC – better prepare to vote for McCain. Obama doesn't need votes from your type.

    May 8, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. tr

    you know what is so crazy, you are a harvard grad,most of the comments made today are from people who hate the fact that you are who you are,and they can not handle a well spoken man like yourself,it is like really stupid , and that person that will not vote for you ,they will in the end .you stand for the same thing hillary does . it is just time for a change all around the world,god is working it out for you as well as for the people.

    May 8, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  5. Sean

    If this stuff bugs him that much I don't think he could have handled all the stuff that happened during Bush's two term. You cannot tell terrorist and hurricanes to 'Stop bieng mean to me, don't attack me.' If he had anything to say on the issues and didn't just repeat his slogans over and over then Hillary and McCain could debate something real with him. How dare people want Obamas campaign to have any substance.

    May 8, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  6. P. Mosley

    Fact: Yes, Hillary Clinton won the Primary in Indiana on Tuesday.
    Question: Did she win the Primary based on democrat's votes.
    Answer: NO!!!!!

    Question: Why is McCain/ the Republicans so afraid of Obama that they feel a need to run interference in the Democratic Primary?
    Answer: I think it's called a "fear of losing."

    So "Tech Byte": Hillary Clinton won Indiana on Tuesday, but NOT REALLY.

    May 8, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  7. jim

    both mcshame and billary or billary mcshame never had the bearings in the first place, their minds are corrupted and broke down from all those years of being in dirty politics

    May 8, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. park more

    What Obama will do if his father' country is attacked by israel?

    May 8, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. Chris Cahill

    "name-calling"? What name did JM call BO?
    Whether one candidate's positions is more satisfactory to our enemies is fair game. Perhaps that candidate's policy is nevertheless correct. But the fact that Hamas prefers one a candidate is relvant to the strategic environment. Obama is hyperventilating here for political effect.

    May 8, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. Roger

    Have fun all of you McCain supporters. Get ready for race cards, and twisting everything that is said against McCain and the members of his campaign. Which is exactly why I will be voting for McCain if Hillary isn't nominated.

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

    McCain's 3 A.M. red phone moment:

    Mr. President, it's time to change your diapers.

    May 8, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. Panther

    Then ONLY person that can beat John McCain is Hillary Clinton.

    May 8, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. FEZ

    HIllary Supporters and Republicans unite to stop the cult of Obama...

    Yes we can!!!!!!

    May 8, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. ilma

    to Josh, and his comments:
    Let's keep the Bush policy and fight Al Qaeda "OVER THERE

    PLEASE educate and inform yourself, don't be like Bush!!!!!!!!
    Al Qaeda is in Pakistan at the moment, and there was NO Al Qaeda in Iraq before Bush went to Iraq, destroyed that country and created among the many, Al Qaeda too. My question to Americans is:
    Why did Bush forget about Al Qaeda HQ and went to Iraq at all????
    Don't you see OIL as the only reason, please open your minds people

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

    I think what McCain was pointing out is that HE is not going to get backed by any terrorist group because they KNOW he is not friendsly with him. He was simply pointing out that he is against terrorism and will not negotiate, where Obama has of course said he's against terroism but he would talk with some people in some cases. All McCain was doing was pointing out the differences by using the Hamas backing as an example. To say McCain is name calling is ridiculous.

    May 8, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  16. frustrated in PA

    John McCain has to keep his campaign clean because all the shrill Obama supporters will cry racism if he sneezes in Obama's direction. Fortunately, McCain has many surrogates to do his dirty work for him. Get a clue, it's called politics and there's nothing "clean" about it.

    May 8, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  17. mitchell from arkansaw

    so much for mccains 'integrity'.he's a fool if he thinks americans will support him enough for pres.another typical washington insider.

    May 8, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  18. Olga

    it is absolutely frightening to read some of the comments. No wonder Hillary speaks about her unwavering base of "uneducated voters". Yes, that is what she calls you. You will believe anything that you hear once, and she knows it. she just throws it out there for you. You do live up to the title by your comments.

    May 8, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  19. Greg, NY


    Obama never called anyone bitter for believing in god. He said people are bitter at their government for not doing anything for them and that they go to god to help them get through these rough times.

    Tell me that is not at true sentiment.

    May 8, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  20. Rick from NJ

    60 percent of white Ameica will not vote for Obama according to new polls.

    McCian will win this election.

    May 8, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  21. Moving On

    Why is my comment still awaiting moderation?
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Obama is the man!
    Thanks goodness you finally got BILLARY "Scarlet" Clinton off the main page of CNN Political Ticker with her "white American" comments.
    We all know that the south and the rest of the country has long since moved on with regard to this topic. It's been a long time since the U.S. Civil War.
    When we think about Hillary, we should take Rhett Butler's advice.

    May 8, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. Susie

    Absolutely, if anyone disagrees with Obama or questions his abilities or experience, they are using smear tactics.

    May 8, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. RJ


    Why, is she going to have Al Gore reinvent the internet again? How do her and Obama's economic policies differ?

    May 8, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  24. Phil from Boston, MA

    Honky White Guy:

    Yeah, because Obama an his Coalition (Hi, Mr. Dean! ) is really doing so much to have those votes heard. What with his tremendous surplus... (I wonder where THAT came from?)

    Anyway. I'm glad you are so far gone that you can't be objective.

    I actually saw Obama speak when Governor Patrick endorsed him. It was quite inspiring; but instead of just going with the crowd, I've tried to peel back the veneer – just like when everyone thought there were WMDs in Iraq. Well, I had to get slammed for stating the Truth then, and I'll get slammed for it now. (Oh yeah, I voted for Deval Patrick. It had nothing to do with the color of his skin, though. Guess that makes me a total racist.)

    If you actually believe in Change, if you actually believe in all of this Hope – then please, by all counts, prove me wrong. Give me some reasonable counter-arguments rather than bile that isn't grounded in any sense of fact, but in mere negativity and sensationalism.

    May 8, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  25. Michelle

    Wow these Clinton or McCain people have serious issues. That anyone takes them seriously is beyond belief.

    May 8, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
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