August 2nd, 2008
03:30 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama: McCain camp cynical, not racist

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="Sen. Barack Obama speaks in Florida on Saturday."]
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama denied Saturday that he is playing the race card against Sen. John McCain following several speeches in Missouri last week in which he said McCain is portraying him as scary and risky because he doesn’t “look like all the presidents on the dollar bills.”

“In no way do I think that John McCain’s campaign was being racist, I think they’re cynical” Obama told CNN during a Saturday morning press conference. “I think they want to distract people from talking about the real issues.”

“Their team is good at creating distractions and engaging in negative attacks and planting doubts about people,” Obama said, noting McCain’s recent comparison of his celebrity to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and the repeated accusation that the Illinois senator skipped a visit with wounded troops because he couldn’t take the press.

Obama was asked how he could deny playing the race card when at a Jacksonville fundraiser in late June he told donors that during the campaign Republicans would say, “He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?"

“I don’t come out of Central Casting when it comes to presidential races,” Obama explained. “I’m young, I’m new to the national scene, my name is Barack Obama, I am African-American, I was born in Hawaii, I spent time in Indonesia. I do not have the typical biography of a presidential candidate.”

“What that means is that I’m sort of unfamiliar and people are still trying to get a fix on who I am,” Obama continued. “So what I think has been an approach [by] the McCain campaign is to say ‘he’s risky.’”

The McCain camp responded to Obama’s comments with an e-mail to reporters saying they’re moving on from the issue, adding, “The only ‘cynical’ candidate in this election is Barack Obama, who has opposed every element of John McCain’s comprehensive energy plan that includes additional oil drilling, affordable nuclear energy and gas tax relief for hardworking families.”

As for whether he thinks the McCain campaign’s attempts to label him as presumptuous or arrogant will stick, Obama rejected the idea that the perception exists, again accusing his opponents of feeding the storyline to the media.

"If I was presumptuous or taking this for granted, I wouldn't be working this hard this week. I'm beat," Obama laughed.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (229 Responses)
  1. humberto serrud

    i dont know why there is a politics of bad messages

    what it has to be done are the main issues of america
    and the world
    what do the candidates will do for the economy issue
    for the energy issue
    for the mexican border issue
    for latin america

    August 2, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  2. Voter

    I don't even care what McShame thinks anymore. He has taken this campaign to a low that I would never vote for.

    We need to make a statement, if you don't like Obama ok but SAY NO TO VOTING MCSHAME!


    August 2, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  3. The movement 08/12 Obama

    Its no wonder there are no comments Cnn prints leave a comment then if its about McLooser they REMOVE THEM just ANOTHER RE-BUTT -ICAN RUNN ING THE BLOG TODAY YOU CAN BET YOUR AR$
    on that .
    I never knew was on Fox but must be.

    August 2, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  4. DavidMua Nguyen

    Dear all Brother and sister.

    For President of US no matter young or older .. I am Asian
    never went college .. But I have Focus . Same Like Mr: Obama
    He have Focus He show public any public bring Issue I will keep In touch with Respect learn and respect other He use His Focus for Country He not use His Focus Again other ..
    The country Strong Business safety country Respect other
    He will Sect who have Focus bring Issue and knew that will happend
    recovery also he Focus make sure fed State Local keep In touch
    working for country not working for personal make credit then get Award . No He make sue working Team and share focus respect Public .and he respect any Dept Fed State and Local keep In touch
    Not even US also after He went Iraq and other He Focus quickly and respect He let Gov Iraq dealing with Commander US when pull our troop
    Also he will ask Gov Iraq help Local community come together
    share what we still not underrating yes. He make sure Gov Iraq give more Power Local and Community respect 100% every one Religion
    He make sure Military US volunteer help all Kids Local community .
    focus help all Kids go back school and share them Business Management and teach respect other do not bring other Religion
    That your own favor .
    Now you can think about that young or older .. 4 years or 5 years
    University If you dont have Focus that cant dealing handle Business

    August 2, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
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