June 4th, 2008
03:30 PM ET
14 years ago

Blitzer: As the race comes into focus, the gloves come off

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/03/13/art.blitzer.jpg caption="CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer"]
NEW YORK (CNN) - One of the most memorable lines of Barack Obama’s speech Tuesday night in St. Paul involved his opponent in the general election: John McCain, a man “who has served this country heroically.” Obama then pointedly added: “I honor that service, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine.”

It was consistent with Obama’s oft-stated praise of McCain’s military service, who was a POW during the Vietnam War. But it also included a polite dig.

McCain, for his part, pointedly noted that “the American people didn’t get to know me yesterday, as they are just getting to know Senator Obama.” It was his way of suggesting that the presumptive Democratic nominee is still a blank slate for a lot of Americans.

Just watching and listening to their respective speeches highlights their many differences including their backgrounds and age. Obama is 46 and McCain is 71.

Obama and McCain have offered near-daily criticism of each other since it became clear both would be their parties’ respective nominees, though I suspect the worst attacks of the campaign season will come from surrogates who in contrast will take off the gloves and hammer away, on personal and policy differences alike. The biographies of the two men could not be more different. And there are major policy differences between them on a whole host of foreign and domestic policy. They strongly disagree on Iraq, taxes, health care and a lot more.

I suspect all of us are about to learn quite bit about those differences, and that is good.

soundoff (240 Responses)
  1. Fernandez

    I am still trying to find out what Obama has accomplished. These guys so far are not considering the fact that we may have a third candidate for President an Independent.

    June 4, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. vicky

    Watched McCain's speech today.That scary smile should scare anyone from voting for him.

    June 4, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. Ander

    Comments written in all caps should be deleted.

    June 4, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. Jackie

    I'm with you Staunch Clinton Supporter.

    June 4, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  5. Chi4Obama

    At this point,
    I would rather have Rev. Wright serve as Obama's VP. At least he is consistent in what he does and says.

    Hillary, is like a Bi-polar Monster . One minute she is praising Barack. Seconds later, she is stabbing him in the back.

    June 4, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  6. DNC


    June 4, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. Steve

    Hey, Clinton supporters, how about doing us all a favor. Keep the twisted-logic Hillary-math comments on the blogs that have to do with her. This blog is about Obama and McCain.

    Many of you have been threatening to vote for McCain if Obama won the nomination. Like it or not, he has won. Hillary math doesn't count here. Real numbers do. He's won. If you have been threatening to vote for McCain, I challenge you to register Republican, send at least 50 bucks to McCain's campaign (he certainly needs the money), and then vote for him. Put your money where your mouth is, or shut the hell up. We're tired of hearing your tantrums.

    June 4, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  8. Elisabeth

    Is the United States of America a democracy?

    Kind Regards
    "One of your European friends"

    June 4, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  9. Laura

    Either way, Clinton DID have AT LEAST as many PEOPLE vote for her as Obama And have no doubt, Obama will NOT win the GE. Just as GWB said one thing, but was truly a right winger, Obama has been saying one thing, but actions demonstrate him to be a true left winger. The vast majority of the American public are far more conservative, and that is not to be confused with the high jacking of conservatism by the right wing of the Republican party. Now maybe this is just too much for most to uderstand, but I'll be back to do the old "I told you so". By having superdelegates give the nomination to Obama, they successfully lost the GE. Didn't think they could do it given the times, but the dems are just not the party of the people any more than the GWB crowd is.
    And for those that believe McCain is Bush 3, that simply demonstrates how gullible you are...like saying it enough times makes it true...WMD, bedt you BELIEVED that too. More evidence that Obama is the same as GWB...so much for change.

    June 4, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  10. Yes McCain

    When McCain Stood beside GWB was not to acknowledge Bushs' failed policies ...........but out of respect...Which is more than Obama teated his Pastor Dednied the man of 20 year friendship??????????/

    June 4, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  11. Obama '08 '12

    As the race between Obama and McCain heats up, this will finally push Hillary Rodham Clinton off the stage. That is, IF you let this natural occurance happen, Media.

    And especially you, Wolf Blitzer. Can you let the "dream ticket" fantasy go? Can you stop beating the idea like a dying dog, holding Obama hostage with it, and let the REAL contest begin??

    How many times have you gone on and on and on about McCain's VP choice? Ask yourself that, and stop querying others on camera. Every. Half. Hour.

    June 4, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  12. Boston for OBAMA

    Note to STAUNCH CLINTON SUPPORTER................check the stats. Obama has the popular vote.

    June 4, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  13. kopl

    Great idea
    Obama should run with Clinton as v.p. and then after the elections and after the NY Governer will appoint a other senator he should just fire her as his vice president , so he should first get her supporters to vote for him and then get rid of her as soon as possible i think she would do so anyway

    June 4, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  14. Dave SC

    Wolf, I am tired of you. Go away.

    June 4, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  15. MK


    All you embittered Clintonites are pathetic! Enough with your day late dollar short threats already! Go on and vote for McCain I dare you! All this "he needs her more than she needs him" is such a joke. Is that so? Then why did your horse lose? Oh right that vast conspiracy? Only left wing this time?? Give me a break, Obama does not need her, please have fun throwing your vote away on McCain, and PRESIDENT OBAMA will see you in 2009 🙂


    June 4, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  16. An American

    Watching McCain's speech was so painful. I felt like I was watching a John Hughes comedy where some old guy was running for President and everyone is making fun of him, but he doesn't know it.

    Do we really need a President who older than Plutonium?

    June 4, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  17. Paula

    Dear Staunch Clinton Supporter,

    Or should I say

    Dear Sore Loser,

    How can you possibly support a McBush for President if you actually believed in anything that Hillary was saying???

    She lost – get over it.

    June 4, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  18. Joe Six in Mississippi

    When will Hillary get the message that Obama is the affirmative action candidate of the year, and with his nomination, affirmative action is gone in America. There is no need for another affirmative action candidate. After all, while Obama may be very smart, and clearly is very slick, we already elected a used car salesman in 1992 and 1996. We need someone who also has a little public policy experience himself, and someone who knows how to work with people in the other political party.

    June 4, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  19. Jose

    Obama-Webb! or Obama-Sebelius?

    June 4, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  20. Wil


    1.The nomination Metric is not POPULAR VOTE but Delegate Obama has more thus HE WON.

    June 4, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  21. Muzza

    To Staunch Hillary Supporter:

    I have no dog in this fight but your mathematics don't work. If you are choosing to exclude the Superdelgates from your calculation then the number needed is not 2118 (that number is the threshold needed to achive a majority of pledged AND superdelegates).

    Pledged delegates total 3,409. The 50% mark therefore would be 1704.5, i.e. 1705 needed for a majority. As you pointed out Obama has more that that....

    June 4, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |

    The American People didn't get to "know" McCain just yesterday.
    But many of us do know him and don't like him.

    Obama is a good man. Mr. McCain thinks "town hall meetings"
    will be "good for Obama" with Obama drawing crowds of 75,000
    people and the voters throwing money his way. And, McGimmick
    says, he wants town hall meetings with NO Gimmicks. Believe that
    one? McCain has NO MONEY and that is why he wants to control
    Obama with how HE wants the campaign to be. Obama put up
    with Hillary's "way" on debates. Enough is enough. I think Obama
    will draw 100,s of thousands of people! And he can have it his way.

    Just Protect the Good Man on the way to the White House!

    June 4, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  23. Patrick of Canton, Ohio

    Though I am currently supporting Obama, but am still open to pandering from mccain or obama until i read further into both, I have to admit, if you read McCain's speech transcript last night (http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/06/03/mccain.speech.transcript/index.html) he blasted obama pretty hard last night. I feel like this race is about to get even better (to watch)

    All hail the presidential election race, the greatest reality show of all time, with two people fighting to the lowest they can go and the media egging it all on.

    June 4, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  24. dave

    Wolf B. –
    WHY ARE YOU HIDING THE BREAKING NEWS THAT Obama's chief financial contributor has just been convicted in Chicago of at least 16 felonies and the jury is still reading the balance of verdicts on remaining charges.

    Just another example of how CNN covers for Democrats.

    June 4, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  25. randy

    Mcain becareful for what you wish for because you gonna get.

    June 4, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
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