May 16th, 2008
03:55 PM ET
13 years ago

Blitzer: Obama's learned - 'attack right back'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Blitzer: Obama hit back a day after Bush's speech."] WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama came out swinging against both President Bush and John McCain. At issue: the allegation that those who are willing to sit down with terrorists are no different than those who sought to appease Adolph Hitler in the lead-up to World War II. A day after President Bush’s speech in Jerusalem, Obama gave a tough speech of his own defending his record and then followed up with a lengthy news conference.

Obama’s political strategy is clearly designed to prevent the accusation from gaining credibility. Republicans have successfully raised questions about Democrats national security credibility over the years. Obama and his supporters who fanned out across the television networks want to make sure that those charges don’t have time to resonate.

I remember covering the 1988 presidential race between then-Vice President George H.W. Bush and Mike Dukakis. The Democratic nominee was branded as weak on national security. He was ridiculed for wearing a helmet while on a tank. The picture clearly made him look silly. Even though he had emerged from the Democratic convention that summer way ahead of Bush in the national polls, he eventually lost the election in November.

Many Democrats learned an important lesson in the process. Once attacked, attack right back and don’t wait. Bill Clinton learned that lesson in 1992. It’s seems Obama has learned that lesson as well.

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (209 Responses)
  1. YOLA

    Oh Billy from FL – how naive of you! Of course he does – he has his movement behind him and we can fight and we can fight dirty too.

    So just sit back and watch a winner! Oh, sorry, you have been watching a winner – Mr. Obama!

    May 16, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |


    May 16, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  3. Tjaye

    Hmmm...looks like folks are going to see who is "tough" and who is just LOUD!

    Go Obama O-8!!!

    May 16, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  4. Mike - Texas

    Yes, he attached back, but it took his WRITERS 2 days to figure out how to respond.

    He couldn't do it on his own.

    What is he going to do in a crisis?? Wait 2 days befor he responds??

    May 16, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  5. Dominique

    Yes, Obama has learned – what SCUM "BushMcCain" really is!

    They would stoop at nothing to cheat Americans out of our future with their outrageous lies and inuendos!

    NOT THIS TIME. they will get their butts WHIPPED and whipped GOOD!

    May 16, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  6. Jeanne

    Attack right back and knock them out of the ball park, if you can.

    May 16, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  7. Angus McDugan

    Unfortunately he was attacking back at a comment directed to Jimmy Carter. Paranoid I guess.

    May 16, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  8. Chet, OR

    Yeah, Obama will attack back just as soon as his handlers tell him what to say and he practices it before standing behind a podium, reading his "attack" from a teleprompter. Oh, and don't forget the American flags behind him. Gotta do everything they can to dress up this empty suit and dupe us into believing he's presidential material.

    May 16, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. AAA

    wolf, shut up

    May 16, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. No Way

    I say about time. Stand up for yourself. Don't take so much time when it happens next. And it will.

    May 16, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    I honestly believe that Clinton is the only one who can win in November.; wake up people and try to put a smart. competent woman
    in charge-it is past time!

    May 16, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  12. La Raza.

    Rumble young man Rumble. You can see the fear in the Repubs. eyes.

    May 16, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  13. Jane

    Obama began the attacks from the beginning, Wolfe. Although the Obama-biased media would tell their viewers to think that he's a virtuous victim, it was in fact he who began by airing a negative, misleading attack on Sen. Clinton's superior health care plan. Remember? Thereafter, he attacked her in many of his speeches. Just because you've told us to see it the other way around, doesn't mean that we do. We do have minds, eyes and ears of our own, you know. In my opinion, Sen. Clinton has run a much more intelligent, strong and appropriate campaign.
    If we lose this window of opportunity to elect her in November, we will be losing a woman who would probably be the most capable president in our history. Furthermore, she's much more electable than he is.

    May 16, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. NickNas

    How simple are you Wolf?!

    Obama didn't LEARN this? He just would not be like Hillary and attack needlessly a member of his own team. Her attacks were beneath comment so he ignored her. The Gloves are off now and this man is going to suprise people.

    May 16, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  15. Clinton backer

    MT is exactly right – he can't just attack back, he has to have his speech writers write something up with some meat in it, and then inform the press that he's going to "fire back" so they splash his face all over the TV.


    NObama NO WAY

    May 16, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. T.W.

    Hillary is still the stronger candidate. Super delagates and remaining voters take note.
    Seat Michigan and Florida. they voted

    May 16, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. compddd

    Hey Billy From Fla, news flash, Hillary lost the battle for the nomination. Stop posting dribble.

    May 16, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. Lynn, Missouri

    I think it's sad that it has to come down to this. Why can't they build up themselves instead of putting down their opponents. Unfortunately, uninformed citizens believe what they hear and vote accordingly, so I guess Barack will have to be on te defensive until Nov. instead of giving his platform to Americans. For some reason, I find that very sad. I guess I have too high expectations of my fellow Americans.

    May 16, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. Amy from Washington

    Obama will respond. He has learned that letting such lies fester only causes a stink later on. If Kerry had responded to the swift boating immediately, we would not have had a Bush second term.

    May 16, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  20. JN in NJ

    Uhm... McCain served with George Bush, he knows George Bush, maybe George Bush was a friend of him (sometimes – nothing to say of South Carolina 2000) However McCain is NO George Bush, whatever Obama says... Great he attacked, but, plese, take aim first!

    May 16, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. Truth

    Wow...wolf himself praizing Obama...!
    May be this Obama is really good candidate for president
    Fianlly, Wolf is becoming fair

    May 16, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  22. Pepou

    Bush and his acolytes are so worried and desperate that they will resort to anything. Intelligence and real strength are on Obama's side. Get used to it losers!

    May 16, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  23. Realistic

    It is unbelievable that we have yet another weak, oh so weak, candidate in Mr. Obama. The Democrats once again fail to get it right and we are looking at another 4 years of a Republican White House. Mr. Obama should never have been allowed to be a candidate. No experience says it all. This along with his horrific judgment and nasty ties to a racist, American hating church will ensure his demise in November.

    May 16, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  24. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Dialog with our enemies, you know we use to do that once upon a time in this country.
    When we competent leadership in the White House. Do you remember when?

    FDR talked to Russia – Murderess Dictator Stalin to defeat Hitler
    Kennedy talked to – Nikita S. Khrushchev removing missile bases from Cuba
    Nixon talked to China – Communist threat, to end the war in Vietnam
    Regan talked to the USSR – Evil Empire that wanted to bury our children.

    Diplomacy, diplomacy you see it is always cheaper to talk first before you bomb and lay waste to our enemies. Just think we may have been able to save over 4000 American lives in Iraq, and saved 12 billion a month if we kept talking.

    We can not force our ideology on other countries beliefs; it has been proven trough out history! If you want to use nukes or gasoline fire bombs and wipe out most of the population like we did in Germany and Japan it may have worked then, but now the rest of the world would think we are insane!

    The one thing about Saddam Hussein he took no S**T from any of these people that are controlling Iraq now! Yes he was a nasty dictator that used the chemical weapons that the US gave him back in the 80’s to kill Kurdish threats and Iranian Solders. You see Saddam Hussein seen these people as threats to has regime and government, he knew how to handle these people. Further, Iran was scared to death of him and did not dare to step foot Iraq. We could have used Saddam Hussein as a puppet if we were smart! We could have paid him to do our dirty work with Al Qaeda and Iran like we did in 80’s when Regan was president. Bush does not know how to think on that level he is to arrogant and stupid to know he had everything going for him after 9/11.

    You see by keeping Saddam Hussein in power until we got off of fossil fuels would have been the smart and prudent thing to do. We could have positioned ourselves to deal with him on another level at a different time. Bush just made the most bone-headed foreign policy mistake in our countries history hopefully the next president can get us out of this mess.

    Obama 08

    May 16, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  25. Joe - Wilmington, DE

    Unfortunately, every attack must be answered. Answered honestly and without vindictiveness. Obama is a gifted statesman and he will likely weather any attacks with grace and decency.

    Further, there may be lots of folks like me who are nauseated and repulsed by attackers who use half-truths or total falsehoods in an attempt to discredit an opponent.

    So take heed Republican party. You may be in for the same rude awakening as Hillary Clinton if you decide to go at Obama like a pit bull on raw meat.

    May 16, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
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