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. park more

    We will see how Obama will handle Irak War the first 3 months, if he is the president? I think that he will be under a huge pressure from millions of Americans that wil results to what Hillary words do not matter, but action......

    May 8, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  2. mitchell from arkansaw

    the super delegate lead by hillary is down to a difference of 8,now.good luck,president obama!america is with you all the way!

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

    I am astonished that a man who aspires to the presidency of the United States would take the view that it is more manageable for your opponent to hate you than to respect you. This is war-mongering at its worst and is a recipe for continuous conflict. Looking forward, does McCain also think that starting wars is good for votes?

    May 8, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. Mike

    Pat "A leader with "good judgement"? Since when publically calling your fellow American citizens "bitter" because they believe in God an example of "good judgement"?"

    First things first here, Obama was talking about that fact that when people get fed up or "bitter" with politics they "cling" or turn to issues like guns, or hot button religious issues. That was his point and if we could all sit down and be honest we would recognize that he is right.

    May 8, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. Old Democrat

    I wish someone would try to intelligently address the fiollowing issue. In this nation, where you could not get 90% of the nation to even agree the sun is going to rise tomorrow, how can Barack get 90% of the African-American vote. I simply cannot see any reason for this other than the black vote is going for Barack because of his race. This seems to be one of the delicate questions that we are not supposed to ask.....

    May 8, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  6. Sean

    To the Hillary supporters who say they'll vote for McCain if Obama's the nominee, forgive my saying so, but it would be extremely disappointing to think that you would rather commit our young soldiers to years more of war than vote for Obama. I'm not personally willing to sacrifice the lives of others to satisfy my personal frustrations.

    May 8, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  7. J.Onofre -CA

    Obama is going to win on issues alone.

    He doesn't need to engage in dirty politics. Obama will not hesitate to defend his stance in any regard. I can't wait for the debates.

    May 8, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  8. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    Well, people, here's the new reality.

    No matter who you support, whether it's Obama or McCain, there's a decent chance that the next president will be black. Imagine that: the most powerful man in the world.

    Most of us won't have a problem with that fact, even many of those who don't support him.

    But for the ones who DO have a problem with that: You could always move to Canada!

    May 8, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. TimeToUnite

    Mary have you been watching Fox? You cannot possibly believe that flim flam you just blogged. What on earth????? Or or you on Mars??? Again I ask, which race card? The BLACK one or the WHITE one, since he does have TWO!!!

    May 8, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. Justin

    hmm at least mccain is honest!!!Lets sling mud, see how far that gets us...

    May 8, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  11. Anonymous


    Please point out specifically where Obama himself called names or played the race card. Just one example, please. Thank you.

    May 8, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  12. George

    Barack represents an opportunity for us to regain our idealism and our hope. This will be the most important presidential election in decades. Obama for President!

    May 8, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  13. JB

    Well said OBAMA!!! OBAMA 08-12 YES WE SURE CAN AND WE WILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 8, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  14. Randy

    It sounds like Barack Obama is the one playing smear politics here. He has no reasonable argument to what Mccaine says so he attacks his mental stability. WOW

    May 8, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  15. brian

    um, it's true. hamas has said they would prefer obama to mccain. that's a fact not a smear. why be so defensive, obama?

    May 8, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  16. alex

    Grandpa McCain hasn't had his bearings since he left Vietnam in 1973. The man should just give it up

    May 8, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. Gary

    Once again, Mr. Obama has articulated his thoughts and taken the high road instead of leaping in the ditch and rolling in the mud like most policitians do. How refreshing to have a bright, articulate individual running for President. How great it will be to have the comfort of knowing that our President will be capable and thoughtful in his decisions. I feel more secure just thinking about it. I cannot wait for Bush to go – what a contrast.

    May 8, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  18. carrie

    I would take McCain over an inexperienced Obama any day (and I'm a life-long Democrat!

    May 8, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  19. paulie_nj

    Hillary is going to run as an Independant this year if she loses the Democratic nomination. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

    May 8, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  20. FL

    John Howard Obama: Trust me, we'll remember you said that. Keep talking...and welcome to the big kid's table.

    May 8, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  21. Educated Hillary supporter

    to anonymous–no, you are not the only one with an advanced degree supporting Hillary. there are many of us who are not boasting about it. We also appreciate the hard-working people who have not been so fortunate–lots of family members and friends. Hillary 2008

    May 8, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  22. Kel in Auburn, AL

    Sounds like the first proper candidate tv appearance since that horrible ABC debate. I'm glad they're finally letting Obama shine in his element. Give it to him, folks.. He's winning!

    May 8, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  23. California Girl

    Why is Obama crying about McCain's comments, Obama is cry baby about everything, cann't take any critical comments, can't take any negative stuff. AND YOU WANT HIM AS YOUR PRESIDENT, I SURE DON'T. Hillary is smart, tough, direct and straight shooter, that's what we need in our country!

    May 8, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  24. demwit

    But didn't Obama say just last week that he was the only candidate WILLING to sit down with Hamas because he believed that was the only way to reach real peace!!??

    May 8, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  25. Lou..Shiloh, IL

    Looking good Obama...Hope your not going to ease up on the primaries with Hillary...and I'm hoping your still fighting for as many votes as you can get come VA and KY??

    May 8, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
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