July 30th, 2008
04:12 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama ready to duel McCain


Obama: 'I'm ready to duel' McCain over taxes.

SPRINGFIELD, Missouri (CNN) – In his first interaction with voters since returning from his overseas trip, Barack Obama is focusing on the economy on a bus tour in southwest Missouri Wednesday where the Illinois senator took his regular challenge to debate John McCain on taxes to a new level, invoking alleged local heritage.

WATCH Obama: 'I'm ready to duel'

“I was just reading that Wild Bill Hickock, he had the first duel in the town square here in Springfield,” said Obama. “The family legend is that Wild Bill Hickock, he's a distant cousin of mine. I'm serious. This is part of the family legend.”

“So we're going to research that ‘cause I'm ready to duel John McCain on taxes,” Obama added to laughter from supporters, “Right now, right here. I'm a quick draw.”

WATCH McCain: 'I will not raise your taxes'

A McCain spokesman shot back quickly with an e-mail to reporters asking, “If Barack Obama wants this so-called ‘duel’ than why did he and his entourage run for the hills when John McCain challenged him to ten town halls?”

The McCain camp has consistently argued that Obama will raise taxes, an accusation Obama tried to lay to rest Wednesday.

“You're going to start seeing ads. This is what happens every election season. They're going to say, ‘Aw, he's a tax and spend liberal Democrat. He wants to get into your pocket. He's going to spend it on all kinds of crazy pork barrel projects,’” mocked Obama. “They just replace the name each election cycle, but it's the same ad over and over again.”

“Let me be absolutely clear,” said Obama, “if you are a family making less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes go up. Not your capital gains tax, not your payroll tax, not your income tax. No taxes. Your taxes will not go up.”

With a new McCain ad out Wednesday calling Obama a celebrity and asking if he’s ready to lead, Obama shot back at the notion that he’s the risky candidate.

“Nobody thinks that Bush or McCain have a real answer for the challenges we face. So what they are going to try to do is make you scared of me,” he said, “[they’ll say] ‘he's not patriotic enough. He's got a funny name. You know, he doesn't look like all of those other presidents on the dollar bills.’”

“Seriously, that's basically the argument, Obama added. “It's like, ‘well we don't have very much to offer but he's risky.’”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Economy • John McCain
soundoff (220 Responses)
  1. Lesley

    Typical McCain rhetoric. The answer is because McCain's campaign manager is not running Obama's campaign. He will debate McCain when his team sees fit. He was hardly running for the hills, he was campaigning using his own strategy. Obama is leading and McCain is following, it's been that way since day one. And now that the challenge is given, why doesn't McCain just say bring it on!

    July 30, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  2. M.S. Indiana

    Oh yeah baby, we are ready for McCain, go give him hell Obama..
    he wont be man enough to stand up to his lies and garbage talk.
    And he will confuse himself with his flip flops..

    July 30, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  3. Elinn

    Mr. Obama, please proceed with caution to the duel.......... if there is anything we can do to help sir....... remember, there are 250.000.000 Americans standing behind you sir...

    July 30, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. Clinton/McCain

    There he goes adding race into politics. Enough with the race-baiting!

    July 30, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  5. EDW

    Obama didn't want the ten town hall meetings that were going to be full of Republican's. McCain had those town halls slanted in his favor. I hope you get McCain to debate late in the day, the old man is less lucid then. He flip flops best on taxes and Iraq during the later hours of the day.

    July 30, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  6. Willy

    BHO get away from your polished 30 minute speeches and tela prompters an then try to "answer" a question vice going off the path. The will see what you really don't know.

    July 30, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  7. MikeH

    Sounds to me like Kid Obama is calling out Ole' Shady McCain for some Colt 45 negotiating.

    July 30, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  8. Lance Haun

    Waiting for you to come and debate. Lots of talk and pomp but no action.

    July 30, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  9. Ms. White

    Obama is polishing his "sword" of change.
    Take this....Take That....

    July 30, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  10. Marie in California

    If Obama is willing to debate McCain, he must have figured out a way to bring an invisible teleprompter with him. Without that handy-dandy little device, he's been pretty much "speechless." Or maybe it's a tiny earpiece with someone feeding him answers......

    Heaven help us all if Obama becomes president!

    Was for Hillary, now for McCain!


    July 30, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  11. Pat Riot

    Since when is being successful a vice? There are thousands of small businesses our there that have owners making over $250,000 a year. Should they honestly be taxed to pay for bloated social programs and more government bureaucracy? My state doesn't even have an income tax and we have a great infrastructure. The federal government has a mirade of ways to collect taxes but raising the income tax for a group of individuals is plain weong, especially in difficult economic times. You're preaching socialism again Obama.

    July 30, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  12. Billiam the Kid

    Lol....McCain is going to lose. Period...The problem is, is when I ask my older white friends about why they support McCain they say "Because I'm, not sure of Obama." Or, some misc anti Obama comment, none of them say because they have confidence in McCain, thats not good....

    July 30, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  13. Kelby from Houston, TX

    How could you NOT like senator Obama? Have you listened to him speak? Have you heard what he is proposing? How could there be any question in his ability to lead this country. HOW can you not have hope for the future after listening to him? How could you turn him down when he wants the best for America?
    With every move he makes;with everything he does, he makes PUMA and the Hillary people look bitter beaten and foolish. JOIN US WON'T YOU? ALL ARE WELCOME TO DREAM THAT IS AMERCA!


    July 30, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  14. Antonio in Los Angeles

    So glad he didn't fall for that 10 townhall debate trap; and avoided the "lets go to iraq together" stuff. He should handle McCain pretty well. I certainly don't expect McCain to lay down though. McCain has proven to do his best in debates. Obama has to keep those Bush policies on a holster – ready to fire out a moments notice. When necessary, go on a little attack with out going negative to show some fight. Finally, keep your message of change and hope clear. The world is watching.

    July 30, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  15. mk

    because nobody asks the hard questions at those meetings.
    We all know that. The McCain campaign needs to quite thinking we are all that stupid.

    July 30, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  16. Mary

    McCain please say it ain't so!!!

    FEAR & SMEAR 2004 GOP campaign playbook is being used AGAIN!!!

    July 30, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |

    McCain just wanted to use Obama's ability to draw a crowd to attempt to showcase himself and try to get some free publicity given his campaign's financial situation. Why would Obama do that??. Not to mention, most town halls would not hold all the people that would try to get in to see Obama.

    Anyway, McCain really needs time to practice getting his history, country and economic, among other facts, straight. The number of times he's gets his facts wrong will not fly while debating with Obama.

    OBAMA '08

    July 30, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  18. E B

    I thought this was supposed to be a clean campaign. They campared Obama to a socialite chick that hasn't worked a day in her life and a disney chick gone bad. Wow, that;s fightin; works

    July 30, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  19. Marcus B

    Obama has it exactly right! And he didn't run for the hills...he had a successful overseas trip to plan!

    OBAMA/SEBELIUS 2008-2012

    July 30, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  20. Independent

    John McCain just had a town hall meeting yesterday in NV and today in CO.

    It was absolutely pathetic. All this guy says is "my friends I know how to fix that" but then he gives not even the slightiest solutions to the problem he was asked about.

    Wake up America! Not again, not again!


    July 30, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  21. R.I.F.

    He's BAAACKKK!!!!! Those silly ads that McCain keeps putting out are actually making McCain look like an idiot. People want to hear about issues. Not who's like Britney and Paris. A 5th grader could do a better job at running McCain's campaign.

    July 30, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  22. America for the Truth


    July 30, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  23. Frankie

    It certainly changed my opinion of him. My father who claimed he would not vote for Obama, now views Obama as smarter and a better candidate than Mccain. But then again polls can be wrong.

    July 30, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  24. ProudToBeDemocrat

    Tell them obama, and don't worry after your presidency is over on 2016 you picture will be on the one hundred dollar bill. with a letter "Yes We can" on the bottom of it.

    July 30, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  25. California Gold

    McCain whined and complained about Obama's trip to the middle east. First it was he hadn't gone. Then it was that he went. Then it was that he returned after great success. McCain whines Obama won't debate. McCain now whines and complains when Obama agrees to go toe-to-toe with McCain. McCain's greatest problem is McCain. McCain has to scare us out of our wits to get our vote. Didn't work for Guiliani (911911-911-911 aren't you afraid? 911-911-911-vote for me Guiliani-911-911-911) and it won't work for McCain. McCain has nothing to offer. Can't even remember how the surge went. Lame.

    July 30, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
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