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. Really?

    Ken, you're being foolish, selfish, and childish. If you actually vote for McCain, or enhace his chances by writing in for Hilary or not voting, then you're either a Republican (which is fine; some of my friends are) or stupid.

    June 4, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. Darlene

    To me, Hillary is like WalMart............i won't give THEM my time or money either

    June 4, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  3. LuC

    Well... this is in reverse, my husband said if Obama names Hillary as the VP, he will either vote for McCain or just NOT vote!!

    June 4, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  4. Sick of Majority Women Whining

    Don't be stupid, Staunch Clinton Supporter! It's amazing how even with an ivy league education, most of you all still can't count and like to change how the primary system works when you're not winning as your entitlement system dictates. As a black woman, I am appalled at Hillary's speech last night and how she illustrated the very delusion that makes it hard for women to get into and succeed in politics now. I had great respect and admiration for her before, however, her selfishness is so disappointing! What you all should now focus on is uniting behind OUR party's nominee and not falling into the hole that John McCain has dug for the disgruntle Clintonites.

    June 4, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  5. Olivia

    Obama is strongly supported by Caroline Kennedy and she doesn't like Hillary. Hillary will not be offered the vp slot...and that's ok. She's too capable to be a shadow figure.

    Let Obama win his own supporters.....WE ARE HILLARY'S GIRLS!
    Let McCain treat us with respect and we may help him.
    We realize that all the nice things both Mccain and Obama said about Hillary on Tuesday night was just meant to coax her suppoerters over. Still treating us like fools.

    June 4, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  6. Ryan S. (Nova, Ohio)

    I cannot believe there are still "democrats" out there that can say that they will vote for John Mccain when the election comes around. Most likely these are H.C supporters who are first time voters and morons as well. Just because you have become emotionally attached to Hillary doesnt mean that Obama is the bad guy, he is just the better candidate and a much better solution for our decaying America. John Mccain will ruin this country... havent you seen what Bush has done? Or does that not matter?

    June 4, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  7. Pat

    Staunch Supporter
    You have to know that early primaries in FL and MI were for HIllary's benifit. She, being the household word, had a major advantage over all of the other candidates. Then when brought into question, she agreed with the others not to have those states' delegates count. Do you know why? She thought she had the nomination sewed up. But much to her surprise it was not a cake walk and she lost. Now she is crying foul and trying to claim those votes even in MI where Oboma was not on the ticket.

    June 4, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  8. larry

    LMAO...what makes a true Democrat...to vote for someone even though they haven't got brains enough to poor p out of a boot????

    That is called stupid...that is how GW got in office!!

    Down with Obama!!

    I am a Democrat and have voted that way my whole life...will not this time....Obama is a loser!!!

    June 4, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  9. Canadians for Obama (CFO)

    Gotta Love the Clinton supporter's math.

    Your a cheater. He didn't have his name on the Michigan ballot.

    The Clinton supporters are mostly bigots. If I were Obama I would ignore them.....he can win in November without them.

    June 4, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  10. Common Sense


    You can whine all you want to, be mad and have as much hate as you can muster up....WE THE PEOPLE DON'T CARE!

    You can threat that if Hillary is not on the ticket that you will vote for McCain (McSame)....well, guess what? WE STILL DON'T CARE! If you'd rather abandon all of what even Hillary stood for and be upset enough to vote for another republican in the white house, then great, that just shows how very ignorant you are and how much you don't care about the issues...just the person!

    As a matter of fact, please vote for McSame because he'll need all the help he can get!!!!!!!

    Crying like a baby and throwing a fit will get you anywhere, so KNOCK YOURSELF OUT PLEASE AND HURRY UP WITH IT!!!!

    Obama doesn't need you or Hillary backing him because it's that kind of attitude that we're trying to do away with! Same old Washington politics...We'll, WE'VE HAD ENOUGH!

    You don't have to keep saying what you'll do....just shut up and do it if you want to....THAT'S WHAT BEING AN AMERICAN IS ALL ABOUT...WE HAVE CHOICES....you've made yours, sobeit...!!!!

    OBAMA 08, 12!!!!!!!!!!! WE'LL DO IT WITHOUT YOU!

    ....and goodbye already!!!!!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  11. Henry

    The people he helped when steel plants were closed on the south side of chicago know him and the people he represented for 8years in the state senate. They are all Americans living in America. So, Mccain should give us a break. Obama has been on a nation seen for 3years now let alone john edwards and John Kerry when they first ran for Office.

    June 4, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  12. matt

    Hillary Clinton represents the exact same type of Washington politics as usual that Obama has been running against this entire time. She is one of the many idealists who got to Washington and forgot what her principles were. If Hillary Clinton would have been running 8 years ago, I would have voted for her. This isn't the case, she's just become a money grubbing senator like so many before her. Having her on the ticket will only hurt Barack Obama. We need to look forward and quit making threats to vote for John McCain.

    June 4, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  13. Ardnuas

    Obama has 21st century "THINKING" , McCain has 20th century "THINKING" , he is going to continue with George Bush plans because that's ALL he knows.
    Obama/Hagel ( I want Chuck Hagel to be VP)

    June 4, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  14. Dorfmann

    Just wondering why both should be on the ticket? Obama won, Clinton lost-–no brainer! Just wishing for HRC on the ticket is a scary enough prospect. Imagine 8 years of the VP undercutting a sitting President-no thanks. Pehaps Obama should look to John Edwards who might be able to let HRC on the ticket as VP in 2016.
    Obama/edwards '08 & '12

    June 4, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  15. Benito

    Too many haters on here from the HRC camp. I think the Pistons should show up tonight and take the ball from the Lakers//Celtics series and go home just like HRC and say they were robbed cuz they had more fans in Detroit than the Celts had in Boston.

    June 4, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  16. Derrick

    Being a 29 year old black male here in America. I am very deeply disturbed by the fact I have been a Democrate all of my life simply because my parents are one and most black people are. After watching how the party came together on saturday and just basically gave the nomination to Mr.Obama has made me rethink my decision of being a Democrate. Im not sayn this because im a Clinton fan but I cant get over the fact that the delegates looked over the voice of 18 million voters just so they can get on with the general election and just so someone can be in place to fight against McCain. How in the world can 3000 some odd delegates can speak for 37 million people. Change doesnt come from changing color of a president but change comes from experince and knowing what you are doing. I hope and pray that for the well being of America Senator Clinton dont drop out or give up the fight. We have to much at risk and to much to loose. We need to rethink the position of being President of the most powerful country in the world. Do we really want to put someone we really dont know anything about in it or do we want to put someone who knows what they are doing and haver the experince behind them to get the job done starting day one. I hope Senator Clinton branch off from the democrates and build the Independent party. No thats what i call change for America. Stay in the race Senator Clinton PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  17. Eric

    If you were a person that supported Hillary Clinton over the issues and truly cared about THIS country. Then there is no way that you can stay home or vote for McCain. Voting for McCain only means that the ISSUES was not the reason that you supported Clinton because Obama shares many of Clinton views on government & politics. To vote for McCain out of spite is selfish and small minded. Your threats and you ignorance will not grant you what you want. I hope that Barack leaves Clinton exactly where she is. I'm tired of these old spitefull politics.

    June 4, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  18. FL 4 Hil

    Superdelegates are not in any way democratic... why on earth should someone's vote count more?? Especially someone like Jimmy Carter?? Being a Hillary supporter, I am not sure whether I will vote for Obama or not, it will depend on who he puts as VP. Issues aside, choosing a candidate has just as much to do with their intellect, and the people they choose to surround themselves with. For example, George Bush has chosen some of the worst cabinet members and people to listen to ever. A good president has to have the ability to choose intelligent people to work with and listen to, and I don't think Barack Obama has the experience or judgement to do that efficiently by himself. I think Hillary does. And to everyone telling her that we rejected her, that is your own "fuzzy math" Even with numbers in every way in favor of Obama, more than 18million people voted for her, I would hardly call that rejection.

    June 4, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  19. catherine lao


    You are clueless about facts, go research the Peter Paul case, and give the rest of us a break!

    June 4, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  20. Andrew

    This is shameful. Our party has nominated the only candidate we could lose this election with.

    June 4, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  21. Ken

    Obama represents change, which is the need of the hour. Hillary Clinton seems to be upset about loosing the nomination race, refuses to concede and worst of all seems to be demanding the VP slot. I also do not think Obama needs to have her on the ticket to win. He looks all set by himself.

    June 4, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  22. Dickson Shreffler

    Everyone seems surprised...at the knuckle shake...that he is black and impressive...you must not know a 13 to 36 year old, who along time ago saw beyond race...it is now age that matters....Born to be Wild is finally here...Thank God I'm a 55 year old WHITE MALE and now proud to be an AMERICAN...not a liberal, not a religous zealot but an AMERICAN.... GOD BLESS AMERICA.....

    June 4, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |

    I fell in love with Jack Cafferty tonight. I loved his question on
    Obama, a black man to be President. And I loved the answers
    that people sent in. Great responses.!!! Great for Obama. Other
    countries are proud and excited too.

    Jcak was out of breath and Wolf read for him. Shows you guys
    are great, good spirited and human like the rest of us. Loved
    that moment!!!!!

    Obama's win has created some happy people out here!
    Was for Obama from Day 1.

    June 4, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  24. PS

    Senator Obama's "polite dig" belies his stance as a unifier, a new politician....

    What he needs to do is show us his experience – lay it out – show us why his experience will move the country forward.

    Most people don't know what a community organizer does – he needs to explain it.... He needs to showcase his legislative record...

    I don't want someone to tell me that they have experience, I want them to showcase the experience.

    June 4, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  25. Paul

    All you Obamatrons remind me of a pack of vitrolic pit bulls. You want everyone who is not for Obama to believe everything negative about every other candidate and yet you totally deny anything negative said about Saint Obama. Did IQs suddenly drop in the extreme left wing of the Democratic Party? Can't you lemmings see the cliff coming?

    June 4, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10