September 1st, 2008
07:10 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama defends natural disaster experience

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Anderson Cooper interviewed Barack Obama Monday."](CNN) - Barack Obama defended his experience in dealing with natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, and took a swipe at newly minted GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

In an interview on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 Monday night, Obama was asked about whether his experience in the U.S. Senate dealing with weather-related situations compares to Palin’s executive experience running the state of Alaska and as the small town mayor of Wasilla, Alaska.

“My understanding is that Gov. Palin’s town, Wassilla, has I think 50 employees. We've got 2500 in this campaign. I think their budget is maybe 12 million dollars a year – we have a budget of about three times that just for the month,” Obama responded.

Our ability to manage large systems and to execute I think has been made clear over the past couple of years and certainly in terms of the legislation I’ve passed in the past couple of years, post-Katrina.”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Gregg

    Obama thinks running a campaign is keen to overseeing a natural disaster as the leader of a town, city, state, or country? Like just about anything with Obama, her experience and his lack of experience has already been exposed. The more the democrats bring up her so called lack of experience, Obama's lack of experience in any true leadership role. Obama has a huge problem on his hands in order to win this election.

    September 1, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  2. SDunn

    Please tell me exactly what natural disaster has Palin had to deal with in Alaska???? Also what kind of executive experience does McCain have?

    September 1, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  3. G-money Big Dawg

    Wow...what a good man and the man that is perfect for this country and our next President. Obama is like a breath of fresh air and I'm a Republican. Thanks Mr. Obama...just what we needed.

    September 1, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  4. Puhlease

    Stop comparing Palin to Obama! Obama is a Presidential Nominee and well deserved. Someone tell me what kind of executive experience does McCain have???? HUH??? He's been in congress for 26 years and he's accomplished what exactly????

    September 1, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  5. RapidRay

    "Obama thinks running a campaign is keen to overseeing a natural disaster as the leader of a town, city, state, or country?"

    From what I've seen the last few days, Sarah Palin's experience is joining and strenghtening a natural disaster....John McCain's campaign.

    September 1, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  6. Jess, KY

    I like that Obama makes the comparison between running a campaign and running the country. It sounds outlandish, but it's true. Presidents may include in their administration those closest to them from the campaign. This is why Hillary Clinton's shaky campaign was dissected so thoroughly- either her "shaking it up" was a good thing and meant she could identify a problem and get rid of it, or it was evidence that she couldn't conduct a strong, all-together campaign. Because she's not the nominee, it's pretty obvious now that her campaign troubles translated into political failure.
    I'm excited for the interview. Obama's a smart guy.

    September 1, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  7. Ronald

    Uhm what natural disater relief has McCain, Palin or Biden overseen. This is silly Obama has earned his place through two years of campaigning and 18 million votes. He has been questioned and challenged on every possible issue. He has shown the ability to accpet and transcend these questions and challenges and convince a majority of Americans so far who are voting that he is qualified and is able to handle the job. McCain has made one decision and he chose to go against his own campaign pledge of "ready to lead" and pick someone he didn't even know. Possibly placing the lives of Americans in that persons hands. Over two years we been able to ask and have answered any unanswered questions on Obama. Now we just have questions on Palin and two months to find out.

    September 1, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  8. Independent

    In addition, Obama is actually doing things to help in this crisis in a genuine sense.
    From the NYT: "After Hurricane Katrina, Mr. Obama introduced legislation in the Senate requiring officials take specific steps to evacuate the elderly and the disadvantaged. In his call with Mr. Chertoff (secretary of Homeland Security) on Sunday, aides said, Mr. Obama asked if the new evacuation plan was being followed."
    "When Mr. Obama asked how he could help, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana told Mr. Obama that he could help amplify the message of the mandatory evacuation, particularly among the black residents of New Orleans. So on Sunday morning, Mr. Obama conducted telephone interviews with four New Orleans television stations and one radio station, lending his voice to those who were warning residents to heed the evacuation order."

    September 1, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  9. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Palin has shown no ability to be in control of her own personal affairs and I don't want her in control of my life.

    September 1, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  10. Texas woman for Obama/Biden

    Obama was very helping to the Gulf region after Katrina. He traveled with Bill Clinton repainting houses and the rebuliding.

    McCain voted NO on aid to Katrina and Rita victims.

    September 1, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  11. sebastien

    Obama has run the most successful and innovative campaign in history.

    Just imagine what he could do for America.

    September 1, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  12. RyanD.

    # Sept. 2, 2005: Obama holds press conference urging Illinoisans to contribute to the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
    # Sept. 5, 2005: Obama goes to Houston to visit evacuees with Presidents Clinton and Bush.
    # Sept. 7, 2005: Obama introduces bill to create a national emergency family locator system
    # Sept. 8, 2005: Obama introduces bill to create a National Emergency Volunteers Corps.
    # Sept. 8, 2005: Obama co-sponsors the Katrina Emergency Relief Act of 2005 introduced by Senator Harry Reid
    # Sept. 8, 2005: Obama co-sponsors the Hurricane Katrina Bankruptcy Relief and Community Protection Act of 2005 introduced by Senator Russ Feingold
    # Sept. 12, 2005: Obama introduces legislation requiring states to create an emergency evacuation plan for society’s most vulnerable
    # Sept. 15, 2005: Obama issues public response to President Bush’s speech about Gulf Coast rebuilding.
    # Sept. 21, 2005: Obama co-sponsors bill to establish a Katrina commission to investigate response to the disaster introduced by Hillary Clinton

    This list is much much longer...Google it.

    September 1, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  13. tigerakabj

    Thank you Obama. It is clear by how you run your campaign will be how you would run the country. You have managed your resources in a frugal manner and out-organized any previous campaign in American history. Your ideas and direction have been brilliant and I look forward to your presidency with great enthusiasm.

    Obama/Biden 2008/2012.

    September 1, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  14. Bill

    McCain's executive experience comes from when he was a squadron commander for the US Navy. Regarding Palin, governors have tons more executive experience than senators. Governors Do, Senators Think they’re doing! Senators take time to research issues. Governors must make immediate decisions. Governors of a state have a similar experience as Presidents because the State Government is a microcosm of the Federal Government. Palin is going to feel right at home.

    September 2, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  15. Jeff White

    Regarding "Palin has shown no ability to be in control of her own personal affairs and I don’t want her in control of my life."

    Just because she did not choose the cowardly way out and abort her child does not mean she does not control her "own affairs". She is brave for choosing that route. And, her daughter, a 17 year old made her own decision to get pregnant. Again, the baby is staying. Controlling affairs does not mean aborting anytime a pregnancy is inconvenient. She is taking responsibility. And she does not have any brothers living in a hut on 1 or 2 dollars a month. Shows that Obama does not "control affairs". I would not let my flesh and blood live like that.

    September 2, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  16. tm

    So running a campaign gives him more experience that being a governor of a state with hundreds of thousands of people, has a 9 billion dollar budget, manages the country's 7th largest economy and runs a government that employs 25,000 people?

    September 2, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  17. What?

    What is everyone talking about, Obama does not have experience in a leadership role and he chose a VP Candidate that has been in the US Senate longer than McCain. It is true Obama has ran a very effective Campaign with Smoke and Mirrors – there is a lot of flash without any substance. His speech was full of empty promises with no solutions on how he would inact them. McCain is not the greatest presidential candidate that we have ever had but at this point anyone other than Obama is a clear choice for me and millions of others.

    September 2, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  18. Mike, Wilton, CT

    The comment made above, "Palin has shown no ability to be in control of her own personal affairs and I don’t want her in control of my life." shows just how far off the mark liberals are. Goverment is not in charge of your life. YOU are in charge of your life. If you are looking for goverment control, then you really should vote for Obama.

    September 2, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  19. Bill S in AZ

    Obama should not compare himself to any vice president potential, unless he really sees himself as the VP and Joe Biden as the president.
    Read "Obama Nation" by Jerome Corsi to find out what is on Obama's agenda.
    I don't need Obama or any president riding roughshot over my life, only liberals elect a government to take care of them, and that's not the American way. maybe that's what Obama learned from his family in Kenya, that a population needs a government to run their lives. Be careful liberals, you're going beyond a point with this candidate that we as a nation might nor beable to return from in a peaceful manner. Read the US Constitution and brush up on the Second Ammendment. We're gonna need it when you put Obama in charge of your life.

    September 2, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  20. randy

    Wonderful example of Obama's elitism. He is a second year, first term US Senator, but that's highier then a second year Governor? Will someone please wake Obama up and tell him the Presidency is the top executive official and he is never had such a post?

    September 2, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  21. Mike

    There are only 4 people on the planet with enough experience to be president, but they've already had the job. It comes next to judgement and wisdom, thats where Oba has shown time and time again...he's an idiot.

    September 2, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  22. Scott hill

    Obama is running for president. Palin is a VP candidate. Why is Obama even making the comparison.

    September 2, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  23. ron

    so running a campaign qualifies as experience for president? Heaven help us!
    notice how he avoided her serving as governed

    September 2, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  24. Scott

    Do you dolts actually believe that Barry is running his campaign??? He goes where he's told and gives another speech. He has ZERO experience that qualifies him to be president! Name 5 things that Barry has done that qualifies him...didnt think you could.

    September 2, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  25. Jerome

    Has anyone read Article II of the Constitution? Enough said about experience.

    The person(s) with the least experience are the blockheads who are running on empty. NIAA-no information at all to put up an effective argument.

    September 2, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
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